Every family has issues. Most can’t blame them on extraterrestrials.
Evie Shao and her sister, Kass, aren’t on speaking terms. Fifteen years ago on a family camping trip, their father and brother vanished. Their dad turned up days later, dehydrated and confused—and convinced he’d been abducted by aliens. Their brother, Jakob, remained missing. The women dealt with it very differently. Kass, suspecting her college-dropout twin simply ran off, became the rock of the family. Evie traded academics to pursue alien conspiracy theories, always looking for Jakob.
When Evie’s UFO network uncovers a new event, she goes to investigate. And discovers Jakob is back. He’s different—older, stranger, and talking of an intergalactic war—but the tensions between the siblings haven’t changed at all. If the family is going to come together to help Jakob, then Kass and Evie are going to have to fix their issues, and fast. Because the FBI is after Jakob, and if their brother is telling the truth, possibly an entire space armada, too.
The perfect combination of action, imagination and heart, Light Years From Home is a touching drama about a challenge as difficult as saving the galaxy: making peace with your family…and yourself.
I’ve read a couple other books by this author, and he’s never disappointed. When I was offered a chance to participate in the blog tour for his new release, I jumped at the opportunity.
What a hook this book has. If I only read the first two sentences in the description, I’d snatch it up. As a sci-fi fan, I was all in with the extraterrestial angle, but if you’re looking for hoards of aliens, spaceships, and intergalactic war, that’s not what this story is about. Yes, it’s in the background, but this is a book about a family dealing with loss, grief, guilt, and understanding. After Jakob disappears – presumably abducted by aliens – each family member deals with his absence in different ways. Fifteen years later his sisters, Evie and Kass, live on opposite sides of the country and are barely on speaking terms. Kass shoulders heavy family responsibilities, and Evie has dropped out of school to pursue alien conspiracy theories.
Chen has an amazing talent for creating characters that leap off the page. With three POVs (Kass, Evie, and Jakob), each has a distinct voice. Once this broken family is reunited, their interactions are painful, loud, maddening, humorous, and entirely realistic. Sure, they still love each other, but they can also barely stand to be in the same room. Evie believes everything about Jakob’s story of space wars and where he’s been for the past fifteen years, but Kass rationalizes it to the point that Evie begins to doubt him. Is he telling the truth? Is he delusional? With a party boy reputation in his teen years, Jakob believes he’s finally found where he belongs and can make a difference.
With themes of forgiveness, finding your place, love, and acceptance, I read this book in a day. Beautifully written and full of heart, it’s one I’d highly recommend.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Chen is the author of the award-nominated Here And Now And Then and featured in Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View—The Empire Strikes Back. He has covered geek culture for sites such as Tor.com, The Mary Sue, and StarTrek.com and used to cover the NHL for Fox Sport and other outlets. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals.
Author website: https://www.mikechenbooks.com/