Saturday, July 28, 2018

Aliens in Disguise

Aliens in Disguise
by Clete Barrett Smith
Recommended Ages: 10+

In this third installment in the series that began with Aliens on Vacation, young David and Amy, the girl he would like to kiss, get the opportunity to prove that they are ready to run the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast without adult supervision. It happens when David's grandma (who runs the hostel for alien tourists) wins an award and gets swept off on an all-expenses-paid trip to a pleasure planet in another galaxy, and Amy's dad (the b&b's security chief) runs off to protect her and gets trapped on a all-species-welcome singles cruise. The kids would have everything under control, if it weren't for a class full of misbehaving alien brats, a group of artists who can't keep their rainbows contained, and a couple of earthlings who are determined to crack the secrets of the b&b.

Fans of the series will probably best remember this book as the one in which the kids and their extraterrestrial guests mount a daring rescue of one of their own by parading through town, pretending to be science-fiction fans disguised as aliens. But the disguise theme cuts the other way, as a loopy couple of UFO hunters tries to pass as Mr. and Mrs. E.T. and later, many of the characters attempt another costume act that you have to read to believe. The weirdness is funny and the humor is weird, and a bit of youthful romance makes a nice garnish to a very light but charming adventure in the often overlooked hospitality side of science fiction.

Besides this trilogy, which also includes Alien on the Rampage, Clete Barrett Smith is also the author of Magic Delivery (about a load of magical Halloween costumes that turn the wearers into whatever they are pretending to be) and Mr. 60% (about a high school drug dealer with a heart of gold). I'm reading the former right now. But I wouldn't mind seeing more books in this series, populated with goofy aliens, goofier humans and two very resourceful kids.

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