In this particular case, I watched the movie well before I had ever even heard of the book. This could be because: I never paid attention to the credits or because the book is not under the name Home. It is titled The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex.
Having discovered the book, I jumped at the chance to read it and write this review. The concept of alien/human friendship has always been fascinating to me. Let me tell you, it is definitely worth the read. Having watched the movie before reading the book, I went in expecting a heartwarming tale: I got that but in a unexpected way.
Spoilers ahead for the book and movie
The plot of the story is still the same in both. Alien’s come, move the humans to another region, take over the world, and Tip has to take a trip with one of the aliens to find her mom. But by simply explaining this before “move in day,” it changes a majority of the story. Sort of like remixing or twisting a fairy tale.
The character names in the book change a bit as well. Tip still has the same name with more explanation. Our main Boov’s name, the Boov are the aliens, is completely different though. It went from Oh to J.Lo. (He will be referred to as Our Boov to cut down on confusion) Our Boov calls it their “earth name” as their real name is unpronounceable by humans.
One of the biggest differences is the time frame. The movie shows that the Boov arrive on earth, move in, and relocate the humans all in one day. In the book, the Boov arrive six months before they even reveal themselves and their trip takes another couple months. The entire book’s story lasts a little longer than a year. In the movie, Tip’s trip is about three days.
Another big difference is the perspective you get. In the movie we are really seeing it through the eyes of the Boov. The book is from Tip’s perspective. This wildly changes the plot. Through Tip’s eyes we see a more typical alien invasion story. This includes alien abduction, doom’s day looting, and the ”fight” against the Boov.
The villain has changed as well. The Gorg are only one in the movie and they appear towards the end with the intent of catching the Boov and, after that fails, destroying the earth. In the book they are one but have cloned themselves over and over so now there are many of the one. The Gorg also negotiate in the book, instead of immediately destroying the planet which, good on them.
Book Tip’s mom gets a makeover and a bit more of a part to play. In the book her mom is portrayed as a less than stellar parent, where Tip is mostly the adult. In the movie, Tip is more of the kid. Within the year that the book takes place, Tip’s mom changes drastically, much to Tips surprise.
Some minor things that changed between the two:
• The scene where our Boov jumps into water. The book has our Boov jump in to rescue Pig (the cat) as well as the camera Tip has been using to document the trip. Movie Boov jumps in to get away from his body’s reaction to music/dancing.
• In the movie we have a brief scene where our Boov reacts to Pig (the cat). Movie Boov doesn’t know what a cat is, book Boov knows what a cat is and cats adore him because he smells like a fish.
• The book and movie end about the same with the Gorg not destroying the earth and the Boov leaving as well. The book had more cats involved than you would expect though.
All in all, after reading the book, I actually liked it better than the movie. The movie is funny and lighthearted while still having those heart clenching moments. The book, on the other hand, has a lot more emotion throughout. I do feel like its hard to compare the two as they almost seem to be completely different stories with the same baseline.
Either way I encourage you to read the book and watch the movie.