Interest LevelReading LevelReading A-ZATOSWord Count
Grades 4 - 8Grade 6n/a5.464551
“I haven't read anything that has moved me this much since Wonder.” —Jennifer Niven, author of All the Bright Places

A space-obsessed boy and his dog, Carl Sagan, take a journey toward family, love, hope, and awe in this funny and moving novel for fans of Counting by 7s, Walk Two Moons, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.


11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan—named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he’ll uncover—from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

Jack Cheng’s debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.

"Stellar."Entertainment Weekly

“Life-embracing.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Irresistible.” The Chicago Tribune
“The best I've read in a long, long time.” —Holly Goldberg Sloan, author of Counting by 7s
“Riveting, inspiring, and sometimes hilarious.” —Kirkus, starred review
“A propulsive stream-of-conscious dive.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A gift—a miracle.” —Paul Griffin, author When Friendship Followed Me Home
“Exuberant.” —Booklist
"Full of the real kind of magic." —Ally Condie, author of Matched
“Incredible.” —BookRiot
"Full of innocence and unwavering optimism." —SLC
"Inspiring." —Time for Kids
“Powerfully affirms our human capacity for grace and love and understanding.” —Gary D. Schmidt, author of Okay for Now

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published on February 28, 2017 by Dial Books
ISBN-10: 0399186379
ISBN-13: 9780399186370
37 Book Reviews
  • wolfy_blue
    wolfy_blue11 months
    Seems interesting.
    • Tedover 1 year
      i think this is the prefect book for me!
      • howls
        howlsover 1 year55 stars
        A story that changes the way you see the world but a little sad
        • loketoke
          loketokeabout 2 years
          I just finished reading this book, and it’s great! All eleven year-old Alex Petroski wants to do is to launch his golden IPod into space. He goes to SHARF, to try to launch his rocket, but fails. Then he goes to find his ‘maybe’ dad. He makes loads of friends along the way, including his half-sister Terra, Zed, and Steve, and Nathan, and all the other people at SHARF. I would highly recommend this book to kids 9+. Thanks for reading my book review!
          • space123
            space123about 2 years55 stars
            This book is awesome! It is full of suspense (in my opinion) and it is highly, highly recommended. Anyone who reads this will probably see the world differently, at least that is what happen to m before I even finished the book.
            • I Like Dogsalmost 3 years
              This book moves you in a way that you can relate to. Alex and his pup, Carl Sagan, embark on a journey that changes his whole life. To the story, and to the characters, you can love each one and enjoy. The author was amazing and totally made this book special to me and others.
              • perry4ever
                perry4everabout 3 years55 stars
                SO GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                • bookqueen1o13
                  bookqueen1o13over 4 years
                  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i was supossed to get ths book but hey gave me a diffrent book instead i want to read it soooo badly!!!!!!
                  • obsidianmirror5
                    obsidianmirror5almost 5 years55 stars
                    Alex and his pet dog Carl Sagan embark on a journey to SHARF where they're going to launch their rocket. Soon, overwhelmed by the result of the launch, Alex makes some friends who lead him to make some decisions. Alex is intrigued to discover a family member in LA and immediately starts talking. He also talks about his brother but after a while when his friends start fighting, and it gets bloody, Alex cries and runs away with his sister. Away from home and his friends, Alex listens to his sister who cheers him up and they head home. But they're surprised to find his mom having a disease. His mom doesn't even recognize him but poor Alex doesn't know that. When he begs to meet his mom, his brother takes him after a few days, and lo and behold..... Find out what happens in this thrilling, happy-sad, bitter-sweet book.
                    • foxy3
                      foxy3almost 5 yearsFeatured
                      11 year old Alex Petroski is just a normal boy until he goes to SHARF(South-West High Altitude Rocket Festival ) he meets Steve and Zed that helps him find out if that notifaction from Ansetry.com is true or not but what he finds out is amazing! Fortunely you get to experience the things that Alex goes through with the audio recordings. Alex has an amazing voice his exciting voice always makes me feel awesome. Alex has three main questions Where did I come from, Who’s out there and most important one of all How can I be brave. But with a troubled Mum, Mostly not around brother and a long past Dad Alex struggles to find the answers but with Zed and Steve (later in the story) he gets the simplest idea “you already have it” Lots of things happen to Alex during the story like going to Vegas and L.A. also thinking about going to California, lots of family issues and hurting himself very badly but with hurting himself very badly he brought the family together. Author Jack Cheng Rating 5/5 star rating This book is a book that is rated (in my opinion!) 10+ because of the hints and themes in this book may be disturbing for younger readers.