One thing trending at Bookmans Grant is young adult novels… and girl power and Adam Rex and anything apocalyptic. Okay, more than one thing is hot and happening these days. One book that combines all the other things is The True Meaning of Smekday by a favorite local author, Adam Rex. Rex is scheduled to be at this year’s Festival of Books. Catch him at one of his FOUR sessions. You definitely won’t want to miss seeing him. You also definitely don’t want to miss out on Rex’s first novel and what The New York Times calls, “so original, so absorbing and so laugh-out-loud funny.”

Bookmans Recommends: The True Meaning of Smekday

What makes The True Meaning of Smekday so special is the radical, self-empowered main character, Gratuity, otherwise known as Tip. What little we read about Tip and her mother’s relationship leads us to believe that young Tip is the more mature of the two. (What kid doesn’t think she is more on top of things than her parents?) When her mother is captured and the planet is overrun by aliens called the Boov, Tip embarks on a quest to rescue her mother and save the world. With her trusty feline, Pig, by her side, Tip uses her “go get ’em” attitude to leave the safety of her home to drive the family car to Florida (and later Arizona), where the rest of humanity has been sent to live. Tip befriends an estranged Boov named J.Lo along the way and together they face down two species of space aliens. All along, Tip remains as real as an 11-year-old can get. We adore this kick ass chick who sets the pace for independent young ladies.

If you’re drawn to young adult fiction, you are likely aware of the We Need Diverse Books campaign that centers on bringing awareness to the lack of multicultural characters in children’s literature. As only 10% of children’s stories contain characters of diverse backgrounds, book lovers are actively calling for more diverse and cultured texts for our youth. Rex’s treatment of Tip’s mixed-race heritage is subtle, but there’s no denying her African American background. Additionally, on a thematic scale The True Meaning of Smekday tackles colonialism. (For a more in-depth discussion, we like this post from Lady Geek Girl.) Big props to Rex for writing for the cause!

There’s a slew of post-apocalyptic fiction for adults. We also see the trend in young adult fiction. By now titles like The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner are well known along with their movie counterparts. Although The True Meaning of Smekday has its own movie tie-in (Home), the buzz for this book isn’t as strong. Maybe this is because The True Meaning of Smekday is written for a younger audience or because it’s comedic, though we think those traits make it more worth the read. Alien invasions, jimmy-rigged hover cars and scrounging through abandoned buildings for supplies told through the wry humor of a young character of color make this the perfect apocalyptic YA title.

Bookmans is your store to explore and with a staff of individuals as unique as the items on our shelves you’ll never be bored. We encourage you to not only pick up The True Meaning of Smekday for all the reasons we outlined, but check out the movie Home and give the book sequel Smek for President a try. Revel with us in our favorite female character of the moment, Tip.

We also encourage you to check out the other awesome and silly books by Rex including his collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Chu’s Day, and feel proud of yet another local who made it to the top. Give us a call and we’ll check our orange shelves for any Adam Rex or other titles for you.

Remember to say hello to Rex at TFOB. We also invite you to Booth 477 if you want to chat about all things Rex with us or to share your TFOB Book Nerd Problems.