Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick – Review by Paul Orsino

hilo book 1Sometimes we can’t help judging books by their covers. We all do it, so admit it! What do you see when you look at the cover of Judd Winick’s HiLo? Do you see amazed and wonderstruck faces? Do you see a diverse cast of characters? Do you see the boy with LASERS SHOOTING FROM HIS HANDS? How COOL is that?! This cover hooked me immediately and the excitement continues to build throughout the pages of the book.


DJ Lim is unlike most of his family members. He isn’t a chemist, athlete, performance artist or scholar. However, DJ is a really great friend, just ask his longtime friend Gina. Is there any greater talent than that? I think not. When a fiery, unidentified object falls from the sky, DJ, overcome with curiosity, scrambles to see what’s going on. When he reaches a massive crater he finds a boy at the bottom. After witnessing something like this, most would call the cops, the National Guard, maybe even The Avengers, but that’s not what good friends do. Good friends offer their help….which is exactly what DJ does for HiLo.


DJ & Gina join forces with HiLo, and quickly realize he’s not the only thing that has been jettisoned from space. As this trio fights off robot insects and world-destroying machines, they learn more about each other, themselves, and what it really means to be a loyal friend.


DJ, HiLo, and Gina have set off on one OUTSTANDING adventure and we are all along for the ride. Judd Winick has created fantastic and fresh story with laugh-out-loud recurring jokes, action-packed escapades, and a heart of gold.


HiLo has quickly turned into one of my favorite storybook characters ever. His enthusiasm for the ordinary is both hysterical and contagious. Once you start this book you won’t be able to put it down until you’ve finished it…twice! I would recommend HiLo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth to all students who enjoy graphic novels, the sci-fi & fantasy genres, or any reader who wants to know what it’s like to have a stellar space invader as a best friend.


Thankfully, we don’t have to wait too long for the second installment in this series. Judd Winick’s HiLo 2: Saving the Whole Wide World (Random House Books for Young Readers) is out May 17th, 2016.


Paul Orsino is a 4th grade English Language Arts and Social Studies teacher in Stamford, Connecticut. He is passionate about children’s literature and creating exciting reading experiences for all students. He is active on Twitter (@mrorsinosclass) and loves to connect with other educators and readers. Check out his reading blog at http://www.bookbuddyblog.com