Blurb from Goodreads
Imagine being forced to move to a new planet where YOU are the alien!
The first time I heard about Planet Choom, we’d been on Mars for almost a year. But life on the Mars station was grim, and since Earth was no longer an option (we may have blown it up), it was time to find a new home.
That’s how we ended up on Choom with the Zhuri. They’re very smart. They also look like giant mosquitos. But that’s not why it’s so hard to live here. There’s a lot that the Zhuri don’t like: singing (just ask my sister, Ila), comedy (one joke got me sent to the principal’s office), or any kind of emotion. The biggest problem, though? The Zhuri don’t like us. And if humankind is going to survive, it’s up to my family to change their minds. No pressure.
Lan and his family live on a Martian space station. The earth is no longer hospitable and the space station is running out of food and oxygen. So what’s left of the human race reaches out to the planet Choom that is run by the Zhuri species. After diplomatic efforts it is agreed that humans are welcome to join the Zhuri on the planet Choom… But to get there they need to be placed in stasis as the journey takes twenty years…
Flash forward twenty years later and a new conservative government is in charge of Choom and they have rescinded the invitation to the humans and tell them to turn back. It is agreed that one family unit can come down to the planet to have further *discussions* and Lan’s family are chosen as the last hope of humanity to price to the Zhuri and the other species that live on Choom that humans would be a worthwhile addition to their society.
This was a wickedly smart kid’s book. It took the idea of immigration and all the fear and hostility that can come along with it and twisted it right on its head and made us humans the alien species seeking to share a new planet with a species that mistrusted us.
It smartly showed how truths could be twisted to lies and how fake news can be created. It showed how when you don’t understand the cultures of one species that anything unknown can be seen as aggressive and negative. And it showed when your default position is fear and shutting down borders that you can truly miss out on how much more life is enriched by diversity and inclusivity.
The thought process behind this book is simply genius.
But what’s even better is that the book is filled with great characters and an exciting plot. Lan is a hugely relatable character who could be any kid really and this makes for a very interesting main character. And the imagination given to creating the various alien species really helps to create a unique and memorable read. But most importantly this book is fun!!! It’s funny, filled with great jokes and smart dialogue which makes this book highly entertaining while also imparting a great moral message about acceptance of others.