The Boy From the UFO
Series: Boy From the UFO 1
Reviewed date: 2018 Nov 28
Original title: Barney and the UFO
Barney and his four-year-old brother Scott are orphans. They've been placed with the Crandall family, and Barney is determined to let nothing get in the way of finalizing the adoption. He knows how hard it is to find people who will take in two brothers. He figures this is their last and only chance for a family.
So when he sees a UFO and meets a real live alien boy, Barney doesn't tell anyone. He's afraid that if the Crandalls think he's nuts, they might decide not to go through with the adoption. Then Barney overhears a snippet of conversation between Mr. and Mrs. Crandall: "And I say it's time to get rid of him." His worst fears confirmed. The Crandalls don't want him. Later that evening the alien boy, Tibbo, offers Barney the chance to come with him when their spaceship leaves Earth in a few days. Feeling angry and abandoned, Barney accepts.
Things snowball from there. Barney confides in a friend, a boy named Dick. Barney thinks the trip will be just a few weeks, maybe a month, but Dick knows a bit about the vastness of space. Even at the speed of light, the trip will be years at the least. Barney confronts Tibbo, and Tibbo admits: it will be one hundred years round trip. The Garks (that's Tibbo's race) will extend his life, but by the time Barney returns, everyone he knows will be dead.
Barney doesn't want to go anymore, particularly after he realizes he misunderstood the Crandalls' conversation. The "him" they were talking about was Mrs. Crandall's old car, not Barney. Mr. and Mrs. Crandall love Barney and Scott and will never give them up.
Tibbo tries to take Barney by force, but Scott and the Crandalls pull him back. Tibbo relents, acknowledging that Barney has a real family on Earth, and that's something Tibbo won't take from him.
I loved this book when I read it as a kid, around second grade. I still enjoyed it now.