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First Day on Earth Hardcover – November 1, 2011

4.2 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Realistic fiction for tweens
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for First Day on Earth:

"Castellucci crafts a gloomy and quirky metaphorical piece about being a misfit... [First Day on Earth] is touching and, most importantly, believable within the universe of these characters." —Quill & Quire

"A simple, tender work that speaks to the alien in all of us." —Kirkus

"The prose is spare but dense, lyrical and strongly emotive, and younger teens will find the story accessible and affecting even as older readers can revel in its emotional complexity and thematic sophistication...Ultimately, it hardly matters whether the aliens are real or metaphorical; it is Mal's earthly journey that will grab readers' hearts." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

About the Author

Cecil Castellucci grew up in New York City and is the author of the young adult novels Rose Sees Red, Boy Proof, The Queen of Cool, and Beige, as well as the comic books The Plain Janes and Janes in Love. Currently, Cecil Castellucci lives in Los Angeles. You can learn more about her at www.misscecil.com and via her blog, castellucci.livejournal.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 540L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545060826
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545060820
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,150,618 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
To be honest I loved this book so much that it has taken me months to write my review. I wanted to let the book settle and give it a second reading before writing this review. I was concerned that my enthusiasm was so great I would not be objective in my review or just blather on about how great the novel is. I also read it almost 6 months before it came out. I have now waited, gone back and read it again, and still love it. I love everything that Cecil Castelluci has published but there is something more, something deeper in this book.

Cecil Castellucci does an amazing job of capturing a male voice. Our narrator is Mal, a guy in high school who went missing for three days when he was younger. He discovers an alien abductees' support group and starts to put pieces of his life together. Mal is an amazing character. I was surprised by his struggles and seeking for self-understanding, while on the journey to understand the world around him. The story captures much of what it means to be on the fringe in high school or life, to be different, to be other and in such a way that that is not a bad thing, if you are being true to yourself.

This book was written by an author I discovered only last year. I have since read all her novels. With each book of hers that I read or reread, I am challenged into looking at who I am and who I want to be. This book did that to an even greater extent. This is an amazing read as a story, and if you let it challenge you, it can also be a tool for so much more. Well done yet again Miss Cecil!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoy Cecil Castellucci's work. This was the second book of hers I've read, and I found it to be thought-provoking and insightful. I love the sci-fi twist of the story––it didn't feel too "out there" for me not to relate to any of the characters. On the contrary, I felt that all of her characters are relatable and interesting. Her writing style is easy and interesting. I would have given the book five stars except that the book was a little too simple for my taste (somewhat predictable). It goes with the genre of the book, though, so if you are interested in more of a YA book, this one is certainly one I'd recommend.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes I wonder if I read the book description wrong, because I start reading a book and my jaw just drops because my prediction for the book was totally, completely off.
Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from First Day on Earth. Part of that was because of its (short) length and the cover totally doesn't do this book justice. Not at all.

Reasons to Read:

1.Self-discovery:
To me, this really sums up what First Day on Earth is TRULY about; because it isn't about aliens so much as it is about one incredibly hurting teenage boy who just doesn't feel like he fits in. There are some awful experiences which are slowly uncovered, which provide us with a better idea of where Mal is coming from and why he feels the way he does. And ultimately, why he makes the big decision he makes in the end. See his transformation and his bravery to make that decision is what ultimately made such an impact.

2.Well-developed characters:
I wasn't expecting this to be the case in such a short book, but Cecil nails this. For such a quick read, I was impressed with how realistic and complex Mal, Posey, and Darwyn were. None of them were who I was expecting as a reader, or even who they were expecting as friends. And I have to say that they are admirable for the way they portray the teenage transitions and problems.

3.Real issues:
Considering this is book that is presented as being about aliens and abduction, I have to say that there is a lot more to it. Yes, it is about aliens to an extent. But I really appreciated the way that Cecil brought up these issues and emotional turmoil and dealt with them. Because they are things that everyone goes through at one point, and I think this makes it a book very easy to relate to.
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Format: Hardcover
I'd been expecting this novel to board line YA and middle grade and what I found inside was very different than what I thought. Mal's voice knocked me off of my feet with how fully realized it was and how so very not-young he seemed. First Day on Earth reminded me a lot of Lisa McMann's Dream Catchers series with the main character's life and circumstances. It's definitely an interesting debut that is uniquely it's own.

Mal's life mirrored Janie's life (from Dream Catchers) so much closer than I was expecting. Even the lyrical, short writing style that McMann does so well was effortlessly and effectively utilized. It's hard for me not to make this entire review a big comparsion to that series because of all the parallels. But rather than the similarities being a bad thing, they were done so well that it just served to remind me of all the good parts of McMann's series and apply them to this story.

I liked that Mal was that kid everyone knew and thought was a badass but really he was just a bleeding heart. He often comments on the way people act because he is so removed from his classmates. Yet, he is still trying to reach out in his own way, even if he doesn't understand how or who to trust. His soft hard was explained by his alcoholic mother and being left by his father. As he slowly started to open up the festering wounds, it became clear where his problems came from and how he was using aliens and out space to fill their void.

Do I understand what exactly happened in the novel from beginning to end? Not exactly. It's one of those stories that tells you things and you, as a reader, have to decide whether you want to believe them or not. As for me, I want to believe what Mal believes because I think he needs them. It makes the ending all the more sweeter.
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