Ruby Finley vs. the Interstellar Invasion is a backyard adventure-mystery by debut children's author K. Tempest Bradford, perfect for fans of Clean Getaway, The Last Last Day of Summer, and Sideways School.
Eleven-year-old Ruby is a Black girl who loves studying insects and would do just about anything to be an entomologist, much to the grossed-out dismay of her Gramma. Ruby knows everything there is to know about insects so when she finds the weirdest bug she's ever seen in her front yard, she makes sure no one is looking and captures it for further study. But then Ruby realizes that the creature isn't just a regular bug. And it has promptly burned a hole through her window and disappeared. Soon, random things around the neighborhood go missing, and no one's heard from the old lady down the street for a week. Ruby and her friends will have to recover the strange bug before the feds do. Ruby is the science hero we've all been waiting for!
Gr 3-5--Ruby loves bugs, so much so that she plans to be an entomologist one day. The Black tween's science project revolves around training bees to recognize and respond to certain smells, if she can convince her science teacher to support her. Her discovery of an unusual red bug changes everything. Not only is the bug unidentifiable but it also escapes by eating through the jar! Even stranger, her social media post brings government agents to the neighborhood to track it down. But when Ruby spots the bug again while spying on a neighbor who hasn't been seen recently, Ruby realizes it has grown bigger and seems to be eating metal. When the playground at an abandoned school disappears, Ruby recruits her friends to help her gather evidence to prove to the adults that the bug exists and is a hazard. The children's incursion into the empty school proves to be more adventure than any of them could have foreseen. In addition to the adventures related to the strange bug, Ruby and her friends must face rumors, conspiracy theories, and community concerns. Bradford's entertaining and informative tale highlights the value of scientific and critical thinking as well as the importance of friendship and community. VERDICT A good choice for middle grade collections, especially where there's a need for science fiction with BIPOC main characters.--Heidi GrangeCopyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Junior Library Guild Selection"I inhaled this book in half a day and LOVED every moment! Amazing scientist heroine, alien bug, adventures—this book has it all." —Yoon Ha Lee, award-winning author of Dragon Pearl "An action-packed, hilarious, heart-rending story. It is perfect in every way: from Ruby's dedication to science to her incredible friend group. I am personally ready for Ruby Finley to take over the world." —Mark Oshiro, award-winning author of The Insiders and You Only Live Once, David Bravo