Smek for President by Adam Rex

Published: 2015

Genre: middle grade science fiction

Length: 272 pages

Setting: mostly New Boovworld (one of Saturn’s renamed moons), soon after the events of The True Meaning of Smekday.

Interest: It’s the second book in the series. We loved the first one so much, we had to start listening to the second one as soon as we finished the first.

Summary: JLo’s not having the greatest luck fitting quietly into life on Earth. After another round of complaining neighbors, JLo decides to go visit New Boovworld. Tip decides she’s going as well, even though her mother said “no” to the trip. On New Boovworld, JLo has to hide his face since he’s known as The Squealer, and considered public enemy #1. JLo wants to clear his name so he meets Smek, the High Boov, to tell waht really happened when the Gorg were alerted to the Boov’s presence on Earth (see the events of The True Meaning of Smekday). Smek happens to be in the first-ever Boov political race to be re-elected High Boov. Smek decides it betters his chances to punish JLo. Jlo and Tip escape, although JLo is ultimately caught and sent to jail. Tip has to find JLo and rescue him, which she does with the help of Fun Size, a Boov who works in the garbage department. Dan Landry decides to run for President and JLo decides the best way to clear his name was to create a time machine and prevent the message to the Gorg in the first place.

Final thoughts: Not quite as good as The True Meaning of Smekday. We didn’t spend as much time with JLo (Tip was on her own while JLo was in jail) so the amusing turns of phrases weren’t as common. It wasn’t a bad story – just not as laugh-out-loud funny. The time machine activation scene was probably the funniest as multiple JLos showed up above the transmission station and tried to decipher who’s machine would cancel the most machines from the other JLos. I also loved the introductions politicians gave to a crowd. You can’t just say “Ladies and Gentlemen” because there are seven Boov genders (boy, girl, boygirl, girlboy, boyboy, boyboygirl, and boyboyboyboy). So, you get different combinations of ladies and gentlemen – gentleladies, mentlemen, and (my favorite) gentlemenmenmen.

We do focus a bit more on JLo and his guilty feelings for creating the Gorg problem. He really wants to clear his name, and when Smek won’t listen, the only thing he can think to do is build a time machine to stop himself. Of course, Tip realizes that the Gorg coming was actually beneficial to humanity (the Boov did leave Earth because of it), so she doesn’t want the past to change. So, we see a fight and reconciliation between friends. The book also sparked some good discussion s about being a teenager based on the end of the book. Tip’s mom talks about the difficulties of being a teen. Hopefully, we avoid most of the really hard stuff, but there’s no way to know ahead of time.

Title comes from: Instead of just remaining High Boov for life, Smek had to run for office. When Dan Landry got involved, he started calling the office President.

Reading challenges fulfilled: #65 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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