Review: Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, by Judd Winick

Meet Hilo, D.J., and Gina! 

D.J. and Gina are TOTALLY ordinary kids. But Hilo…isn’t. 

Hilo doesn’t know where he came from, or what he’s doing on Earth. (Or why going to school in only your UNDERWEAR is a BAD idea.) But, UH-OH, what if Hilo wasn’t the ONLY thing that fell to our planet? 

Can the trio unlock the secrets of Hilo’s past? Can Hilo SURVIVE a day at school? Find out in HILO, a LAUGH-OUT-LOUD, EPIC story of FRIENDSHIP! ADVENTURE! (And the occasional mutant robot ant.) 

Hilo, by Judd Winick, is a graphic novel aimed at young readers, about seven to ten years old, and is perfect for fans of BoneBig Nate, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The story is cute. There’s not much substance, but it had good pacing and the characters were quite relatable. Gina and D.J., childhood friends, both have their own problems to deal with in their families when Hilo comes around and disrupts everything. At the start of the book, Gina moves back to town after being away for a few years, and the book does a good job of portraying the awkwardness of trying to get to know someone again after years spent apart. I really felt for Gina and D.J. as they discovered how different they had become since they last knew each other and I admit to liking how they got to know each other again while following Hilo around on his wacky adventures. The struggles they were going through are, sadly, a bit cliché and overdone, but considering the book is for such a young audience, it’s understandable; the problems Gina and D.J. face are typical for kids, and would help a young reader relate to the characters.

The art is expressive and fits the tone of the book nicely. There are a couple running gags that get run into the ground, and only work about half the time; the rest of the time they’re either strained or fall flat. Some of the humour works, some doesn’t; the scene where Hilo goes to D.J.’s house for dinner was funny, but almost none of the burp jokes did (though I have no doubt a young boy would laugh at them). The story has a nice amount of action, though the first chapter could have gone better; it consists of not one line of dialogue and is only about two children running and screaming, which didn’t really pull me in much – I really just skimmed that chapter (luckily it was short).

I would certainly recommend Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth to any young boy or girl who likes a bit of sci-fi and a bit of humour. They’ll certainly like it.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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