Book Review: The Spaceship Next Door by Gene Doucette


Title: The Spaceship Next Door

Author: Gene Doucette

Published Date: December 22nd 2015

Audience: Young Adult

Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery

Blurb from Good Reads:

The world changed on a Tuesday.
When a spaceship landed in an open field in the quiet mill town of Sorrow Falls, Massachusetts, everyone realized humankind was not alone in the universe. With that realization, everyone freaked out for a little while.
Or, almost everyone. The residents of Sorrow Falls took the news pretty well. This could have been due to a certain local quality of unflappability, or it could have been that in three years, the ship did exactly nothing other than sit quietly in that field, and nobody understood the full extent of this nothing the ship was doing better than the people who lived right next door.
Sixteen-year old Annie Collins is one of the ship’s closest neighbors. Once upon a time she took every last theory about the ship seriously, whether it was advanced by an adult, or by a peer. Surely one of the theories would be proven true eventually—if not several of them—the very minute the ship decided to do something. Annie is starting to think this will never happen.
One late August morning, a little over three years since the ship landed, Edgar Somerville arrived in town. Ed’s a government operative posing as a journalist, which is obvious to Annie—and pretty much everyone else he meets—almost immediately. He has a lot of questions that need answers, because he thinks everyone is wrong: the ship is doing something, and he needs Annie’s help to figure out what that is.
Annie is a good choice for tour guide. She already knows everyone in town and when Ed’s theory is proven correct—something is apocalyptically wrong in Sorrow Falls—she’s a pretty good person to have around.
As a matter of fact, Annie Collins might be the most important person on the planet. She just doesn’t know it.


My Review

This book a mixture of everything I love to read.

Aliens. Teenagers. Conspiracies. Mind-screwing craziness. Plus, a rather surprising twist I wasn’t expecting, but I love, love, loved it. The only thing not in the book was a romantic plot (I love me some romance), but this story really didn’t need it.

The Spaceship Next Door is a science fiction novel about a spaceship landing in a small US town. That’s it. It just lands. No communications. No death by laser ray guns. No big alien invasion. It sits in the middle of a field and does nothing…. Or does it?

The story centers on Annie, a sixteen-year-old girl who is by far one of my favorite fiction characters. Not only does she actually act like a sixteen-year-old, she is completely unlike most Young Adult heroines. She doesn’t have boys chasing her, she isn’t awkward, or full of angst. She is intelligent, feisty, strong-willed, with a humor that really showcases her wit and maturity.

“They called it anti-rape class because that was what it was. Annoyingly, while the girls were in that course, nobody was teaching the boys’ course called don’t be a rapist.” - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

Annie is who I wanted to be when I was a sixteen-year-old. I reiterate - I LOVE HER! However, she wasn’t the only well-developed character. There were so many - from the solider Sam to her employer/ government agent Ed to her socially awkward best friend Violet. Every character gets a chance to have a bit of their story woven throughout the plot. For example:

“Rick was the first local kid roughly Annie’s age that had a self-evident drinking problem. It didn’t seem possible for someone so young to exhibit alcoholic tendencies, but by most accounts, Rick had his first beer when he was twelve and hadn’t stopped drinking since.”  - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

By the time the action picked up (which began around the 23% mark, but really didn’t pick up till after 50%), I felt connected to each character. For me, I can forgive most anything in a book if the characters are amazing.

This is where I’m going to start with the one thing I just didn’t like: the authors writing style and language. It was awkward to me at times and very wordy to where I began to wonder what I was reading and felt my eyes glaze over. Mind you, this was before the aforementioned 50% mark. Everything after was well-paced and solid. Mr. Doucette is a wordsmith and it was that which charmed me with beautiful descriptions and a sly humor that kept me chuckling.

“The plaza was kind of typical for the region, which was to say it was a pavement-heavy consumer oasis that made everyone a little sad about capitalism”  - The Spaceship Next Door, Gene Doucette

I have mixed feelings about the ending. A part of me felt like it was too fast and a little anti-climactic with all the CRAZY happening, but I also feel very satisfied by how everything turned out. Especially since he tied up almost every loose end. Almost, I mean there were ALIENS on Earth. There should have been a little more excitement.

Over all, The Spaceship Next Door is a fun read. If you like witty, well developed characters with a solid plot filled with sarcasm and stunning depictions of scenery and history – then this is the story for you.

A solid 4 spaceships. *wink* See what I did there? 

Net Galley provided a copy of The Spaceship Next Door in exchange for an honest review.