Monday, April 25, 2011

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Earthling Hero

Earthling Hero

It's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday again, and I'm proud to be part of this great tradition started by Shannon Whitney Messenger promoting middle grade books. This week, I am pleased to share a book that is unusual in two ways. First, Earthling Hero is self-published, and second, it is in eBook form only. The self-publishing didn't worry me, as I have read some great self-published books, but a middle grade book only available in electronic form?

Fortunately, I gave the book a chance. It didn't hurt that it is available on both Amazon and Smashwords, so if you have a Kindle as I do, you can buy it that way, but if you don't, Smashwords has it in various formats, so that you can easily read it on-line or on another eReader. It also didn't hurt that the book is 99 cents!

In Earthling Hero, Mikey is 11 and a bit of a loner. He hikes in the mountains where his scientist parents live, and generally keeps to himself. All this changes when he wakes up one morning to find a boy in his room who looks just like him. Soon, he is embroiled in foiling a plot that threatens the planet. Oh yes, and he makes a couple friends as well.

This book is a mix of action and science fiction, villains and heroes. It is campy and sublimely, blissfully unconcerned about rigorous scientific explanations. It reminds me of some of the great stories from my youth, ranging from The Enormous Egg to the Tom Swift books (link is an ebook of the full 28 Tom Swift novels for $1.99 - well worth buying as well). On top of it all, Anita Laydon Miller captures the voice of the middle grade characters beautifully.

In short, I highly recommend Earthling Hero for middle graders, boys and girls alike. Funny, exciting and accessible to readers of different levels, the only way this book might be more appealing to middle graders is if it were a graphic novel. Not aiming to be a classic, it nails its place as great, easy entertainment.

Five Stars!

Three easy ways to buy for 99 cents...
Find this on for Kindle
Find this on Barnes & for Nook
Find this on Smashwords in lots of formats, including for on-line reading

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday was started by Shannon Whitney Messenger. She, and others frequent MMGM posters are:

Shannon Whitney Messenger at Ramblings of a Wannabe Scribe
Joanne Fritz at My Brain on Books
Shannon O'Donnell at Book Dreaming
Brooke Favero at somewhere in the middle
Myrna Foster at Night Writer
Sherrie Petersen at Write About Now
Kimberley Griffiths Little at Kimberley’s Wanderings
Barbara Watson at Novel and Nouveau

If you watch those blogs today, as well as Shannon's blog, you are likely to find other great middle grade book recommendations.


  1. Sounds perfect for my son. I like to have something for him to read on my Kindle because you never know when you'll have a moment to read away from home. Thanks!


  2. It would be a great read aloud book as well. The author captures Mikey's voice beautifully.

  3. I bought this one last week and am looking forward to reading it. Great review, Ben. :-)

  4. Hi Ben, Anita is a great friend of mine. Thanks for the great review and support! And I love the word campy.

  5. I bought this too but haven't read it yet. I think I'll do it as a read aloud with my kids. I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  6. BEN: I am so thrilled you bought my book and read it...that you enjoyed is a huge bonus! :) Thanks for the review.

    VBTREMPER: If your son reads EARTHLING HERO, I'd love to hear his thoughts!

    SHANNON: I've been enjoying peeking in on your blog!

    JONATHON: I like "campy," too...may sprinkle it in today's conversations.

    SHERRIE: It's exciting to picture your family reading EARTHLING HERO together...if you do, and your kids have questions for me, please email me.

  7. This is on my to read list, hearing such good things about it!

  8. Excellent review. I agree, Anita captured the middle grade voice wonderfully! Also lots of action that will appeal to boys as well as girls.

  9. Thanks for the review! It sounds great, but I don't have an e-reader.

  10. Myrna, To be honest, you don't need an eReader. You can buy the from Smashwords and download as a PDF file or read it on-line directly from that page. You can also buy it from Amazon, download a Kindle app for your PC and read Kindle books on your PC, or on any smart phone (which I don't have, but some do).

    In my opinion, the easiest is to buy from Smashwords because you can then choose different ways to read it. You can try reading it on-line, and if that is a nuisance, download the PDF later. It would require reading on your PC, but you are doing that right now.

  11. I finished this book earlier this week - your review is spot on! I had not noticed about the scientific explanations but now that I think of it I like that too! Thanks for articulating the whole thing so well.