By: Pamela F. Service
Illustrator: Mike Gorman
Publisher: Carolrhoda Books
Publication Date: March 2010
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 2010
Zackary Gaither had big summer plans and they didn't include working as a "planted agent" for Galactic Union headquarters. It was bad enough that he'd learned he was of alien origin, but pleeeeaaaase, he just wanted to head to Camp Trailblazer for a summer of horseback riding 'n fun in the sun. He knew something was up when his mom informed him that he was heading to Camp Takhamasak instead and, of all things, would be in the Nature Nuts group. Of course his parents thought they adopted a regular kid and everyone else thought so too, but the signs sure were pointing toward the fact that this summer Zack Gaither, "interplanetary ambassador," was going to be on a mission, but just what kind was the question? It wouldn't be long before he'd find out.
Zack was really in a funk over the change of plans, but his parents were going to take him to the county fair and that would surely cheer him up. He was in pretty good spirits when they arrived until he ran into that snotty Melanie Steeples, who was sure to razz him for standing in the line waiting to board the ferris wheel. Sure thing, he was her target. It really proved to be a bad hair day when Agent Sorn, his "aunt" swooped in to sit beside him. Round and round they went as she filled him in on his mission. The Gnairt had smuggled in a load of Duthwi eggs "across this sector when a Galactic Patrol ship gave chase ...." He quickly learned that if they hatched it could create an environmental disaster. So much for summer vacation. How was a Nature Nut going to find ninety-three eggs without raising suspicion? His alien go between, whom he had yet to meet, was a "velociraptor look-alike." Waaaaaaah!
This fun, slightly zany alien adventure thriller will keep young readers on the edge of their seats. Mind you, this story with a real live kid, who is really an alien is disguise, sounds a bit quirky, but the tale kept me reading right along hoping Zack and friends would find those Duthiwi eggs before our environment was destroyed. It's like a modern day Hardy Boy's adventure that will be sure to have more than a few kids claiming they're not interested in dinner when you call them. I liked the character development of Zack, who claimed "Basically I was human---with just a few additions." He was not only a believable alien youngster, but a fun one. This is the second in the "Alien Agent" series you may wish to add to your list to keep your intergalactic ambassador busy this summer!
Quill says: A fun, wild, crazy alien adventure for kids.