The Boy From the UFO Returns

by Margaret Goff Clark
Series: Boy From the UFO 2
Reviewed date: 2019 Apr 22
155 pages
Original title: Barney in Space
cover art

The sequel to The Boy From the UFO is a decent adventure story but lacks the charm of the first book. This story is a straightforward adventure: a renegade Gark named Rokell is afraid of humans finding out about the Garks, so he erases the memories of everyone who saw Tibbo's UFO. Everyone except for Barney, that is. Barney's memories are too deep to erase, so Rokell determines to kidnap Barney and take him away to Ornam. Tibbo has gotten wind of Rokell's plan, but he's too far away to help. Barney must avoid being kidnapped by Rokell until Tibbo can arrive to give aid.

It's a close-run thing. Rokell wants to kidnap Barney when no one is looking--a kid being snatched up into the sky would draw attention that Rokell doesn't want. So Barney is safe when he's with other people, but as soon as he's unobserved, he's vulnerable. Barney nearly gets snatched when he's walking through the snow, and later when he's out skiing. Eventually Rokell tires of trying to safely snatch Barney and just tries to straight-up kill him: Barney is ice skating with his friend Dick, Dick turns his back for a moment and Rokell melts a hole in the ice and tries to force Barney into it. Another time, Rokell triggers an avalanche that nearly kills both Barney and his friend Kara.

Barney realizes that he's endangering his friends, so he willingly gives himself up to Rokell. Unfortunately his friend Dick doesn't realize what's going on, and he gets caught as well. But surprise! It's not Rokell who has them--it's Tibbo's friend Naf, who's here to rescue them. Barney and Dick take a spaceship to the moon where they get caught up in a battle against Rokell, which they win.

What this story lacks is the emotional impact the first book had. I remembered The Boy From the UFO for years because of the scene where Barney overhears Mr. and Mrs. Crandall's conversation and mistakenly thinks they do not wish to adopt him. His overwhelming feeling of rejection, and the emotional impact of that, is what makes the book so special. The sequel has very little of that: there is the moment where Barney realizes his presence is endangering his friends and he decides to sacrifice himself to ensure their safety. But that's one small part; mainly it's just an adventure story.

It was well liked by my son, though. It's a fine story for kids.

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