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First Day on Earth Booktalk

  • Grades: 6–8

Mal has a secret. Four years ago, Mal was abducted by aliens. He disappeared for three days and returned in the middle of the desert. Everybody is convinced that he suffered from a hallucination or a psychotic break, and nobody would blame him if he had. His father left the family years ago and his mother has turned into a terrible alcoholic.

But Mal knows he didn't imagine the abduction. He remembers it every day of his life. He goes to a support group and listens to others tell their stories of their abductions. But he remains quiet. When sharing their stories, most people talk about how traumatic it was. But not Mal. Mal wants to return to space. He knows that he will be free when the aliens come back for him. Free from the stupidity of high school, free from his classmates who taunt him and think he's weird and, most of all, free from this awful, lonely life.

When a new member joins the support group, Mal is instantly intrigued by him. Hopper is unlike any other person he has met. He has long, thin hands, teeth that are too small for his face and has learned Spanish overnight. It's as if Hopper appeared out of thin air to help Mal when he needs it most.

Has Hopper come to rescue Mal and take him to a world where he knows he will be comfortable and loved? Or does Hopper's arrival serve a different purpose? First Day on Earth by Cecil Castellucci will make you question everything you've thought about life, friendship and our connection to the universe.

  • Subjects:
    Adolescent Issues, Divorce
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