Disclaimer: This review is solely my opinion. I was provided a copy of this book from @KidLitExchange #partner in exchange for my honest review. Thanks again to @KidLitExchange #partner for access to review a free copy of this book! The comments in this review do not reflect the views of the author or KidLitExchange. The copy used in this review is an uncorrected copy from Bloomsburg Publishing.
Ten-year-old Hap’s grandmother has experimented on his family and confined them to the basement of a mansion paid for by his father’s inventions, but his plan to sell her to aliens goes awry.
Rear Cover Synopsis:
Happy Conklin Jr. is the only 10-year-old who has to shave three times a day. Hap’s dad is a brilliant inventor of screwball products, and being a Conklin kid means sometimes being experimented on. So Hap has his beard, and his five sisters each have their own unique–and often problematic–qualities too. And although Hap’s dad has made a fortune with his wacky inventions sold via nonstop TV infomercials, all of that money has gone to Hap’s tyrannical Grandma. While she lives in an enormous mansion, the rest of the family lives in two rooms in the basement.
All Hap has ever wanted is to have a normal life, so when he sees a chance to get rid of Grandma, he takes it! He only means to swap out Grandma, but when he–oops!–sells his whole family to the aliens, he wants nothing more than to get them back. He just has to figure out . . . how?
“Before you assume I’m a bad person, you should know that I had originally only planned on selling Grandma to the aliens.”
This is the opening line of the book. The first line really grabbed my attention. I enjoyed reading further on in the story to understand why Hap wanted to sell his family to aliens.
First off, I want to say that I laughed a lot throughout this entire novel. I thought it started off a bit slow for me, but it picked up fast. The author did a fantastic job capturing my attention throughout this book, and the small illustrations provided an excellent basis for the description of the characters. The author offered detailed backstory on each character in this novel except for Chip, the grandmothers assistant, the wrestler, the zookeeper, and the detective. These supporting characters did not need a backstory or explanation in the novel, so it worked well for the author to leave that extra information out. Hap Senior is a business partner for Conklin Business which sells products to “enhance” the lives of people in the area. Hap Senior is the star of many of the businesses commercials.
I enjoyed the hint of diversity in this story in Hap Junior’s family. Hap’s mom is from Romania, and all the kids are bilingual. Hap spends the entire book trying to both get rid of his family and protect them at the same time. He has to figure out who he needs to protect them from, his grandmother, the FBI, or the potential alien threat. The book focuses on the importance of family and accepting each other’s differences. Hap is a member of a unique family, and he must learn the importance of family while his siblings learn to accept themselves for who they are. Each young member of the Conklin family has undergone many experiments to “enhance” their lives, but these tests have consequences. Will Hap sell his family to the aliens? Is that actually what he wants to do? He will have to create a plan, which has three parts, and one outcome.
I am going to recommend this book added to my library collection. I thought the author did a great job highlighting the importance of family. Also no matter how annoying your family is, they are your family. I was excited to receive a copy of this book to review and enjoyed reviewing it. I recommend this book to anyone in late elementary and early middle school. It is an easy-to-read and is very captivating. If you are looking for a story that will make you laugh and think of your family, then this is the book for you!
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