‘The Truth About Martians’ book review: Melissa Savage's thrilling sci-fi adventure about a what-if scenario of the 1947 Roswell UFO incident

An entertaining alien cover-up story drawing from real-life events

John Millen |

Latest Articles

Hong Kong teens create app to help SEN students cope during the Covid-19 pandemic

The Truth About Martians
By Melissa Savage
Published by Chicken House
ISBN 9 781911 490821

In mid-1947, a mysterious flying object crashed onto a ranch near Corona, a small desert town north of Roswell in New Mexico. United States military personnel were quick to report that the “flying disc” was, in fact, an alien spacecraft, and people were ordered to stay away from the crash site.

But soon after that amazing initial announcement, the US government changed their story and explained that the material recovered from the ranch was just part of a military weather balloon. The spaceship story had been a mistake.

But was this the truth? Melissa Savage has taken this question and runs with it in her latest YA novel, The Truth About Martians.

Eleven-year-old Mylo Affinito lives with his mum and dad on a small ranch on the outskirts of Roswell in the New Mexican desert. A year ago, Obie, Mylo’s older brother died, and Mylo still misses his sibling deeply.

The eccentric and entertaining Dibs is a good friend, and has stuck by Mylo during the last twelve months, and the two boys enjoy a close friendship. But Obie is no longer part of their gang of three. The year is 1947, and the town of Roswell is about to hit the headlines.

One hot July night, something lights up the sky above the Affinito ranch, and then vanishes. The next morning, news reaches the ranch that a mysterious flying object has crash-landed nearby, and that the US military has taken over the site.

Government officials claim the crash was a part of a military weather balloon, but Dibs suspects this isn’t the truth. Mylo’s best friend is certain that Martians have landed, and the two friends decide to investigate for themselves.

The Truth About Martians is a fun and very entertaining adventure that perfectly balances an intriguing story with the struggles a young boy who is facing grief and coming to terms with the loss of his brother.

Neither of the book’s two main themes takes away from the other, and the result is an enjoyable, different, and thrilling read for teens.

Mylo and Dibs make a fun pair of central protagonists with the comic timing of classic comedic duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Their dynamic is touching and funny, and Savage provides them with dialogue that TV comedy shows scriptwriters would be proud of writing.

And what about the Martians that might or might not have landed near Mylo’s home? Science fiction fans brought to the book by its title, might feel a bit let down that The Truth About Martians isn’t really a sci-fi yarn, but lovers of adventure stories paced with humour, mystery, and secrets will race through Savage’s clever mash-up with great pleasure.

We might not actually have discovered the truth about Martians when we get to the end of the book, but we have been highly entertained meeting Mylo and Dibs and sharing in their adventure.

You might also like:

Captain Rosalie book review: French YA author Timothee de Fombelle turns a simple task into a secret mission in touching novella about a daughter’s love