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12-year-old Adam is a middle child and lives in the shadow of his more confident brothers and sisters. When his closest friend goes to live in South Africa, Adam is overwhelmed by loneliness, until he finds the strange ET-like, humanoid alien on a beach near his home: 'It looked nothing like any of the creatures in Star Wars. There were no tentacles, at least none that he could see. There were no extra limbs, no special breathing organs, none of the extraordinary features he would have expected to find on a life-form that had evolved in a radically different atmosphere.' From here the plot is reminiscent of Spielberg's ET which serves as a counterpoint to Willis' story. Adam undertakes to look after the creature and starts to build a space rocket to help it return home before it is discovered by the authorities. When the 'alien' disappears, Adam believes that his mission has been accomplished. As we can expect from Willis, the story is told with cutting wit - but there is an underlying poignancy and the final revelation of the 'alien's' identity and fate is deeply moving. The child's eye view of reality that Willis presents is utterly convincing and prompts the reader to reflect on the adult construction of 'reality' and on what it means to be human.