BRANKO:I am here.
Books for the Teen Age 2001 (NYPL), 2001 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers (ALA), and 2001 Best Books for Young Adults (ALA)
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Mary Logue is an acclaimed poet and mystery writer. She spends half of the year living in Arizona and the other half in Wisconsin. All year, she lives with her two dogs and writer Pete Hautman, who is not an alien, as far as she knows. Dancing With an Alien is her first book for HarperCollins.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
I am here.
On this very green Earth. The sun shines for fourteen hours and thirty-three minutes today. The sky is blue like they said it would be.
I am here on a mission.
The atmosphere is rich with smells, thick with water in my nose and chest, and from time to time, small, whining bugs that fly and bite. Martha, my hostess, told me they are called mosquitoes.
Martha and Fred, my host family, seem very nice but strange. Maybe all humans will be strange to me, but they flutter about me like birds. I know about birds. They were in the movies I saw. Martha is always asking me things. It tires me to talk so much. I feel exhausted from moving my mouth the way I have to in order to form these Earth words.
Martha told me that I looked like a regular teenager. Tall, skinny body, unruly hair. I have a mirror above my dresser in my new room and I stand up and look into it. My skin is possibly smoother than it should be. We worked hard on that, but it is still not quite the right surface. The only solution we came up with for my frizzy hair was to keep it cut fairly short. It's dyed the color brown.
I asked her if I was handsome. She looked me up and down. "Rugged, I'd say. And tall."
I thought mountains were rugged. But that's why I was sent–because I'm rugged. And because I'm short for my people. Not tall as Martha thinks. I am only six feet four inches tall.
Martha said she'd show me around town tomorrow. The small town of North St. Paul. We picked it because it's right on the edge of two cities–Minneapolis and St. Paul–and because the people here must be tough. They manage to live through temperatures that range from forty degrees below zero to over a hundred degrees above zero. It was near ninety degrees today, very comfortable.
Fred asked me if I wanted to go fishing.
"There's a lake a couple blocks away," he told me when I didn't say anything.
"I don't believe in fishing," I said.
"Oh." His mouth stayed in a round O shape for a while.
"We don't kill anything. Life is too precious."
"Yes, I see."
"I'd like to walk to the lake."
"Let's go now, before supper."
"I'd like that."
"Do you mind if I fish?" he asked.
"I'm not here to interfere."
They are trying hard, but they are a little afraid of me.
When we walked to the lake, I couldn't believe my eyes. The largest body of water I had ever seen. Nowhere is water allowed to pool on the surface like this back home. Fred dropped his hook into the water and I sat at the edge of the dock and stared.
The water was so beautiful. All different colors. Blue from the sky, gray from the stones, even flecks of green danced across it. Light edged its waves. The wind ruffled its surface. Ever-changing. Our life source. I gently dipped my hand into the cool liquid. What a luxury. Then I saw people were submerging their bodies in it. And no one was stopping them. They were running and thrashing around in the lake, hitting it with their arms and legs. I remembered it was called swimming.
I asked Fred if I could go in the water. He said sure.
I walked off the dock and stood at the edge of the lake. I had never had water all over my body before. When we are dirty, we use a special instrument to vacuum our bodies. Water is too precious to waste on washing. So, with great hesitation, I took my first step into the lake. It was cool and moist against my ankles. I kept walking, slow, easy steps. It was difficult to move through it. It grabbed my body, made my clothes heavy. I walked until only my head was above water. It was delicious. My body had never felt so light and cool.
My head was near the dock where Fred was fishing. He stared down at me. "Maybe you should have taken your clothes off," he said.
"All of them?" I asked.
"No, just your shoes and shirt. Do you know how to swim?"
"No, but I have read about it."
"You need to learn to swim."
I opened my mouth and took a big drink of water. Fred watched me and shook his head.
When we got home, Martha made me take off my wet clothes even though I told her they felt good.
We ate supper. I told them I did not want to eat the meat of the cow. But I liked the potatoes. They remind me of a tuber we also grow. I drank a glass of milk and ate a peanut butter cookie. The food has many flavors. Some I like and some taste like chemicals. But I will try anything except flesh.
Now the sky has turned dark and the stars are blinking in it. It looks like the same sky I have seen all my life, except the stars are moved around. Martha and Fred are sleeping. I looked into their room and they are in the same bed. I have never seen two people sleeping together. Their breathing is slow and heavy. I have heard that humans sleep up to ten hours a night. I need only four hours of resting.
In bed my body feels overloaded with the moisture in the air. I miss my home. I'm afraid of what I must try to do. Maybe they sent me here because they knew I would fail. But others have succeeded. I rub my face with my hands to calm myself.
I will take a few days to acclimatize. Then I need to begin my search. I have only a short time to do what I was sent here to do.
I am here to find a female.
"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.
Book Description HarperTeen, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 1st. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0060283181
Book Description HarperTeen, 2000. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060283181
Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800602831861.0