One thousand refugees from Earth, likely the only survivors, are in a spaceship orbiting a populated planet, hoping for permission to land. If they can’t live on Choom, they’ll perish –their food and fuel are nearly gone. They came because they were invited twenty years ago when they set out from Mars, asleep on autopilot. But now they are NOT welcome.

Humans have to prove to the locals that humans are in fact not berserkers ready to blow the place up. Lan, Lan’s sister Ila, and their parents find themselves sent to the surface to make humanity’s case.  

Most of the locals come from a race called the Zhuri who look amazingly like giant mosquitoes. And behave like them, too. Lan and Ila, sent to middle school, are doing their best to fit in. (Of course, they are the aliens here.) But the government is broadcasting videos of what they are doing that make it look like they are attacking others, provoking plenty of attacks on them. Things are looking very dire at various points in this book, until Lan comes up with a plan.

I found this book to be very funny, and also good food for thought. It’s got all the right ingredients: unique and believable characters, a main character with a clear voice, strong plot, high stakes and lots of slapstick to lighten things up.

I should note that this is the first book I have ever read that leaves the gender of the protagonist unclear.

We’re Not From Here by Geoff Rodkey, middle grade sci fi published 2019

I’ll give it five stars. * * * * *

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