The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith @ronsmithbooks @HMHKids #bookreview #middlegrade #horror #scifi

Title: The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away

Author: Ronald L. Smith

Publisher: Clarion Books

Publication Date: February 19, 2019

Page Count: 224

My rating: 4 stars

About the book:

In this delightfully creepy novel from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award winner Ronald L. Smith, twelve-year-old Simon thinks he was abducted by aliens. But is it real, or just his over-active imagination? Perfect for fans of Mary Downing Hahn and Louis Sachar.

Twelve-year-old Simon is obsessed with aliens. The ones who take people and do experiments. When he’s too worried about them to sleep, he listens to the owls hoot outside. Owls that have the same eyes as aliens—dark and foreboding.

Then something strange happens on a camping trip, and Simon begins to suspect he’s been abducted. But is it real, or just the overactive imagination of a kid who loves fantasy and role-playing games and is the target of bullies and his father’s scorn?

Even readers who don’t believe in UFOs will relate to the universal kid feeling of not being taken seriously by adults that deepens this deliciously scary tale.


The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away by Ronald L. Smith is a middle grade scifi/horror story featuring alien abductions. The main character Simon has a fear about aliens after picking up his parents books with the subject.

Simon’s father is in the Air Force and his whole life he is used to being on military bases instead of out with the rest of the world. This however doesn’t stop Simon from having an active imagination as he writes stories hoping to become a young author.

When out camping with his parents Simon heads off into the woods by himself to gather firewood when he sees strange lights through the trees. The next thing Simon knows his parents find him passed out and he is sure he’s been abducted but is it real or just his overactive imagination?

Reading The Owls Have Come to Take Us Away I could tell that the author has done a lot of research into the area of alien sightings and abductions since I’ve read a lot of the same subject matter in the past. It was fun to see how this young boy took it all so seriously and had studied up on the subject giving it all just the right combination of chills and thrills. There was one scene I questioned might be a little too much for the age range and the end seemed a bit rushed but overall I thought it was well done.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author

Award-winning writer Ronald L. Smith’s most recent book for young readers is Black Panther: The Young Prince, published by Marvel/Disney.

He is also the author of The Mesmerist, a supernatural Victorian fantasy.

His first novel, Hoodoo, was the recipient of the 2016 Coretta Scott King/ John Steptoe New Talent Author Award and also received the 2016 ILA Award for Intermediate Fiction from The International Literacy Association.:

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