From School Library Journal
Gr 5-9-On a mission to evaluate Earth and determine whether or not its dominate species (Homo sapiens) will be allowed to continue or will be exterminated (quickly and painlessly, of course) so a more deserving race can have the planet, Ketchvar III, a snail-like superintelligent being inhabits the body of a 14-year-old boy so he can experience human existence up close and personal. Horrified by his host's dysfunctional family, incarceration in a mind-numbing environment (high school), and the bullying of other students, Ketchvar has nearly written off humans for good when he meets the girl next door. Humorous misunderstandings and poignant moments with his host's alcoholic father and bitter mother save this from being just another "people have ruined the planet; let's get rid of them and start over" book. Ketchvar's social gaffs and misconceptions provide some laugh-out-loud moments as do his internal dialogues with his reluctant host. Though no new ground is broken, Stuck on Earth will resonate with kids who feel like aliens in their own homes.-Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Before being vaporized by a Gagnerian Death Ray, humans (aka “the laughingstock of the universe”) get a last chance to prove their worth when superintelligent alien Ketchvar III arrives for an evaluation. The size of a snail, Ketchvar crawls into the nose and inhabits the brain of 14-year-old Tom, a bullied nerd living in suburban New Jersey. In theory, this gives Ketchvar the opportunity to operate covertly, though his stiff new speech patterns have everyone thinking Tom’s acting even weirder than normal (“Let us live in harmony, like the moss and the lichen,” he implores his bratty sister). Between the shocking violence of the “voluntary daily incarceration” known as school and examinations into the “empty constructs” of war and love, Ketchvar reports to his mothership via e-mails with subject headings like “Old Hip-Hop Songs That Sucked.” Klass even manages to work in an effective environmental message. There are no major surprises—the sweet “earth girl next door” wins Earth another chance—but that doesn’t hamper this fast-moving and irascible comedy. Grades 6-9. --Daniel Kraus