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Beach reads for tweens

These popular, engaging titles will keep older kids' interest all summer long.

By Danielle Marshall

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The True Meaning of Smekday

The True Meaning of Smekday, by Adam Rex
Hyperion (2007), $6.99
Amazon / IndieBound / Powell's

When 12-year-old Gratuity ("Tip") Tucci is asked by her teachers to write about the "true meaning of Smekday," she's not sure where to begin. How about when her mom started telling everyone about the messages aliens were sending through a mole on the back of her neck? Or maybe Christmas Eve, when spaceships descended on Earth and aliens abducted her mother? Or what about the time those aliens declared Earth a colony, renaming it "Smekland" and forcing all Americans to relocate to Florida?

Adam Rex has written a hilarious satire on modern society, and there are more laugh-out-loud (or LOL) moments than any adult novel I have read in quite a while. An outrageous plan to save Earth from another alien invasion emerges in this apocalyptic comedy, and we're along for the ride. Full of Rex's "photos," drawings, and newspaper clippings, this is a side-splitting and very sharp novel that may be the hit of your child's summer reading list. 432 pages.

Danielle Marshall is a former longtime bookseller, most notably for Powell's Books in Portland, Ore. She continues her love of all things book related by working as the marketing manager for Beyond Words Publishing, best known as the publisher of The Secret.

Comments from readers

"Another good tween book: Laughing with the Moon by Shana Burg Likely another award winner from this author "