Lightning Bugs And Aliens: A Small Town Coming-Of-Age Story

We rated this book:


It’s a chaotic time for the US in 1960. Ben and four of his buddies are just 13 years old and are not old enough to participate in adult conversations. However, Russian missiles appear to be a threat, and nuclear war drills are the “ingenious” defensive precaution provided for schoolchildren in Twinsburg, Ohio. Possible extraterrestrial encounters soon become another cause for concern in the small town. As the daring teenagers investigate the possibilities of alien sightings, they seek solutions to a variety of topics about race, war, and the chaotic state of the world. Daniel Babka’s Lightning Bugs And Aliens is a fast-paced, thought-provoking narrative about five mature teens whose curiosity and adventurous spirits lead them to a life-changing, extraterrestrial journey in a world on the verge of war.

There are no dull moments in the book since I was continuously seeing something new and thought-provoking, as well as learning more about the interesting array of characters. I appreciated how the characters stood out and were quite likable. Chip, one of Ben’s friends, comes out as driven and strong-willed.

“The morning started off as strange as a three-legged cat.” Daniel’s imaginative, lyrical language had me anticipating each new simile and amusing comment. Even the intelligent, insightful remarks about the characters and the country’s racial past are enough to keep you mentally engaged. I loved reading about heroes like John Brown, who revolted against slave owners.

The book is an excellent depiction of what it is like to be a young teenager. I recall that, like its heroes, the grownups around me were cautious about the information they revealed to me. Furthermore, their free-spirited pastimes, such as racing and cycling, are smoothly integrated with their mature perspectives on the situation of the world.

One of the book’s few drawbacks is that for such a short book (a little more than a hundred pages), it seems to contain too much information about history and the town’s living conditions. Furthermore, the inclusion of many characters does not allow for a deep connection with the individual characters. Aside from the five major protagonists, the reader is introduced to their families, their acquaintances, and significant historical personalities.

Regardless, Lightning Bugs And Aliens had me deeply engaged because I couldn’t wait to find out if the protagonists saw aliens and what they were like. I loved the powerful discussions about our influence on the planet and the environment our future generations will meet. The book’s clever blend of interesting sci-fi elements, rich historical stories, suspenseful parts, and artistic prose delivers a mind-blowing, exhilarating experience.

Reviewed By:

Author Daniel Babka
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 135 pages
Publisher Blue Squirrel Press
Publish Date 13-Oct-2023
ISBN 9780991060153 Buy this Book
Issue October 2023
Category Historical Fiction