Alex Petroski is on a mission. He and his best friend, Carl Sagan (his dog, not the actual astronomer) are headed to the biggest science and rocket festival around.
The problem is, Alex is only 11 and he's headed out on his own. His mom, according to Alex, is having one of her "quiet days" and didn't seem to mind that he left the house. Alex's older brother Ronnie lives in L.A. because he's a talent agent so he can't help either.
So, armed with a train ticket, Alex decides to head to New Mexico on his own. He's taking with him his prized possession, his Golden iPod because he's going to launch said iPod into space with the rocket that he built.
For ages he's been recording his voice into the iPod, explaining what Earth life is like so that when his iPod is picked up by aliens, they'll have a ton of information about Earth before they visit.
Along the way Alex meets a cast of characters that will eventually take him to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and back to Colorado. Alex's innocence is undercut but his inquisitiveness and general toughness as he learns things about life that no 11 year old should have to cope with.
Written primarily from Alex's perspective, we as the reader slowly become aware of Alex's situation. Although he's clever and tough, Alex can't quite come to terms with his home life.
Sweet and hard-hitting at the same time, I know fans of My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and We Are All Made of Molecules will really sink their teeth into this story!