UK Publication Date: March 3, 2016
UK Publisher: Faber & Faber
US Publication Date: September 13, 2016
US Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books
Reading Level: Middle Grade
Pages: 233 (Paperback)
Source: From UK Publisher For Review
Perijee and Me is a hilarious and touching story about an unusual friendship, a heart-stopping adventure, and the power of kindness when you’re faced with an alien invasion. If E.T. the Extra Terrestrial is still “right here” in your heart, then you’re sure to fall hard for the misunderstood Perijee and the one girl who’s desperate to save him.
Caitlin is the only young person living on Middle Island. On the first day of vacation, she finds a tiny alien on the beach. Caitlin becomes close to her secret friend, whom she names Perijee, teaching him everything about her world and treating him like a brother.
There’s only one problem: Perijee won’t stop growing. And growing . . . Caitlin will have to convince the adults around her—and Perijee himself—that the creature they see as a terrifying monster is anything but.
I've been in the UK for six and a half weeks and I have not read a single book while here. I've been touristing so hard I have literally exhausted myself, but after attending Faber's exclusive blogger meeting to discuss their most anticipated titles this past weekend, I knew I couldn't ignore this gem when I was sent home with it in my goodie bag. It's pretty much a middle grade written version of something that would come out of a Studio Ghibli movie and it is oh so delightful.
US readers please take note, this book is going to be awesome when it comes out in the Fall. It tells the story of Caitlin, an eccentric and easy to love ten year old girl with dyslexia (though she doesn't quite know this yet), who is so lonely that when she finds an alien washed up on her beach she immediately adopts him as her brother and names him Perijee. Things are a bit difficult though when her new best friend eats everything in sight, and, you know, goes a bit crazy and may or may not start attempting to destroy the world. An awkward situation for a ten year old, right?
This is one of those stories where you suspend belief to get through it, but the second you do you immediately fall in love. On its surface it is an entertaining tale with lots of hilarious moments thrown in by Ross Montgomery that'll leave readers smiling, but at its heart this is a story about friendship, family, and the concept of home. It has some serious undertones that younger kids can learn about in regards to family, it shows the true power of an amazing friendship and how true friends will literally and figuratively go to the ends of the earth for each other, and it begins to explore the crazily convoluted concept of home that I even struggle with as a 21 year old today. Montgomery manages to keep us laughing throughout a story that also manages to teach readers a lot about life, and I think there is nothing more you can ask for from a middle grade.
Hilarious, heart-warming, and kooky in the best possible way, I'd recommend this to Studio Ghibli fans and fantasy nuts looking for a cute, quick read that'll leave them satisfied with a warm feeling in their stomach. This is a book that will be easily enjoyed by budding readers and seasoned readers alike.
Now that this review is done, just take a moment to admire that cover and fall in love with it. There's no way you can avoid this book now, huh?
Parental warning for parents considering sharing this with young readers: there is talk of death, doom, and destruction because the world may be ending, a building or two is blown up off page, divorce is talked about, light brushing upon concepts of cults and sacrifice though it's only something obvious to elder readers like myself.