I think the cover had the female protagonist, standing, facing towards the front, maybe slightly turned as if to look back.

All I really remember is that she makes friends with one of the aliens because she lives or lands on their planet, and I don't remember any significant plot points. I think that she is lonely, or the alien is lonely, and that's why they become friends, like it's sort of her becoming comfortable with her new life? I truly cannot remember if there was any evil alien conflict. I think the aliens were either color changing, telepathic/empathic, or had something funky going on with their eyes. I can't remember if the alien was sexless or male, but it was definitely not female. The book was also old at the time I read it (around 2010-2013), so the artwork might give some clues to its age.

The cover artwork could've been anywhere from the '70s to the late '90s, and was in color. It was a chapter book, but not very long (less than or equal to 200 pages).

  • Hi, welcome to the site. When did you read this? And when you say the cover artwork could've been anywhere from the '70s to the late '90s, do you mean that's when you think the book was published? Also, was the alien male, female, or neither? Aug 14, 2021 at 7:30
  • 1
    Hi, I read this back around 2010 to 2013, and the book was already showing signs of old age (yellowed pages, crumbling spine). I didn't want to say for sure, because I don't really know, but the artwork makes me think there's a good chance that it was published in that time frame. Also I don't think the alien really had a sex, but if it did it was likely male. I'll add some of these details to the post.
    – user144172
    Aug 14, 2021 at 7:36
  • Would the book happen to be "The Color of Distance" or its sequel by Amy Thomson, by any chance? According to Wikipedia, it features a woman who got unintentionally stranded on an alien planet by her comrades and aliens who communicate by changing the color of their skins. One of the aliens helps her survive on the world.
    – user73910
    Aug 14, 2021 at 7:41
  • Unfortunately I don't think so, since I'm fairly certain the heroine was younger than 18. Also this was a middle school library book, so written for that sort of audience. Otherwise that sounds close!
    – user144172
    Aug 14, 2021 at 7:51
  • Then perhaps it could be "The True Meaning of Smekday" by Adam Rex? It's the book that inspired the 2015 movie "Home" and was written for children. In it, the aliens invade and occupy Earth and relocate humans elsewhere. The girl is 12 years old and is alone because she went off to search for her mother, and befriends another alien who is a pariah among his species because he gave away Earth's location to a hostile race. The cover art shows the girl looking away from the sun. In the movie, the aliens' skin changes color based on what emotions they are feeling.
    – user73910
    Aug 14, 2021 at 8:17

2 Answers 2


This fits a book I read in the late '90s or early aughts called Alien Secrets by Annette Curtis Klause.

It's about a young girl who is traveling to an alien planet and befriends one of the aliens on her journey. I think they bonded over how they both felt like they were not living up to their families' expectations of them. There's more plot involving ghosts and racial tension (among the aliens), but I don't remember the specifics. I think the aliens were somehow color-changing, but I haven't been able to verify that yet.

You don't mention where you're from, but I got a copy of this book at some kind of school event (maybe a book fair?) in the US around 2000.

Two examples of cover art:

Cover of "Alien Secrets" by Annette Curtis Klause. The cover shows a light-haired girl in a blue skinsuit, crouching next to a calico cat on the inside of a spaceship. A starry background is visible through the windows of the spaceship.

Cover of "Alien Secrets" by Annette Curtis Klause. The cover shows a red-and-purple-haired girl, with a cat next to her. Wisps of energy surround her, and a starry background is visible outside of a spaceship window.

  • OH MY GOD THAT'S IT!!! I didn't think I'd ever find out what it was! I'm from Texas, and the scholastic book fair came to my school district often, maybe that was it? It was just a library book at the time though. Thank you!
    – user144172
    Aug 23, 2021 at 22:43

It's a long shot, but maybe The Lost Star by H. M. Hoover. Lian Webster - who is roughly 15 - crashes her air car on a planet and is found by some local animals, the Lumpies, one of whom heals her by touch. The book is about her discovering the secret of the Lumpies.

The Lost Star

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