Earth Girlby Janet Edwards
A sensational YA science fiction debut from an exciting new British author!
Just because she's confined to the planet, doesn't mean she can't reach for the stars.
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth/b>… See more details below
A sensational YA science fiction debut from an exciting new British author!
Just because she's confined to the planet, doesn't mean she can't reach for the stars.
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can't travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She's an "ape," a "throwback," but this is one ape girl who won't give in.
Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they've been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn't expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love.
From the Hardcover edition.
"Tired of bitter, angst-ridden heroines and their associated dark dystopias? Look no further than Edwards’ refreshing debut. . . ."
- Booklist starred review
“Action, rich archaeological detail and respectfully levelheaded disability portrayal, refreshingly free from symbolism and magical cures, make this stand out.”
- Kirkus starred review
"Everything you could possibly want to grab a teenage reader and keep them utterly enthralled."
- Starburst Magazine
"Earth Girl delivers a shiny future you'll actually want to live inperhaps the first true utopian YA. Refreshingly original with big ideas and even bigger surprises, this thrilling space opera is firmly grounded in complex and compelling characters. Edwards deftly guides us through a universe rich with history and inventive technology, while always reminding us to respect the past, other cultures, and most of all, ourselves."
- E. C. Myers, Author of Fair Coin and Quantum Coin
"This is such a beautifully rich and deeply gripping science fiction novel, and I absolutely urge you to try ityou won't be disappointed!"
- Pen to Paper, 5 stars
- Prometheus Books
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Read an Excerpt
By Janet Edwards
Prometheus BooksCopyright © 2013 Janet Edwards
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIt was on Wallam–Crane day that I finally decided what I was going to do for my degree course Foundation year. I'd had a mail about it from Issette that morning. It showed her jumping up and down on her bed in her sleep suit, waving a pillow, and singing: "Make your mind up, Jarra! Do it! Do it! Make up, make up, make up your mind girl!" She was singing it to the tune of the new song by Zen Arrath. Issette is totally powered on him, but I don't think much of his legs.
Issette is my best friend. We're both 17 and we'd been in Nursery together, and had neighbouring rooms all through Home and Next Step. She'd put in her application for the Medical Foundation course months ago. Issette is organized and reliable. I'm not. Most of my other friends had made their decisions too, except for Keon who was planning to do absolutely nothing. He'd been doing that all through school and I had to admit he was good at it.
I didn't fancy being another Keon, so I had to decide what to do, and I had to do it fast. The deadline for applying for courses was the day after the holiday.
Wallam&ndsh;Crane day is a holiday on Earth, just like on all the other worlds, but in the circumstances we don't have celebration parties the way they do. Thaddeus Wallam–Crane invented the portal and gave humanity the stars, but we on Earth are the one in a thousand who missed out when he created the ticket to the universe.
One of my private fantasies is inventing a time machine and travelling back in time nearly six hundred and fifty years to 15 November 2142. I would then strangle Wallam–Crane at birth. If it wasn't for him, I'd be normal instead of labelled a nean, a throwback. Yes, I'm one of them. The polite people would call me Handicapped, but you can call me ape girl if you like. The name doesn't change anything. My immune system can't survive anywhere other than Earth. I'm in prison, and it's a life sentence.
If you're still scanning this, I expect it's just out of shock that an ape girl can write. "Amaz! Totally zan!" you will cry to your friends in disbelief, but you know that I'm just the same as you really. It could have been you here on Earth, and me travelling between worlds, if only the dice had fallen differently. When you have a baby, it could turn out like I did, and have to be portalled to Earth in minutes or it dies.
My psychologist says you people are scared of us. He says that's why you call us names and have your little superstitions. We see it all on the vids. Portalling between worlds late in pregnancy turns the baby into a nean. Don't eat Karanth jelly when you're pregnant or the baby will be an ape. The latest scare is plastered all over the newzies, and everyone throws out their Karanth jelly, and it makes no difference at all.
It's all rubbish. The best scientists have been researching this for hundreds of years and they still don't have a clue. Every other handicap can be screened out or fixed, but not this one. Whether you eat Karanth jelly or not, it can get your baby just the same way it got me. Maybe they'll find a cure one day, but with my luck I bet I'm dead by then. I expect I'll die the day beforehand, so fate can enjoy a last big laugh at my expense.
My psychologist also says I still have a lot of unresolved bitterness and anger. He's right. You've probably already noticed it. I was feeling especially bitter on 15 November 2788. I was due to meet Candace in half an hour and tell her my decision on my course, my career, my whole future life. I still hadn't made up my mind, and really needed to do some hard thinking. Naturally, I was avoiding doing that by watching the vid.
The vid info channels were all packed with special anniversary programmes. Half of them were showing that old footage of the first experiment that everyone has seen a thousand times. Wallam–Crane smirks at the camera and says: "One small step for a man, one giant leap for humanity." Do you know he stole that line from the first moon landing? Do you even know that they went to the moon by rocket long before they portalled there? Probably not. Well, that's a fascinating bit of pre-history for you, totally free of education tax.
The rest of the info channels were either showing bits about the first interstellar portals, or the Exodus century that emptied Earth. I switched to the vid ent channels, but they were all showing vid stars getting drunk or powered at huge parties. I spotted the male lead out of that new vid series Defenders. Arrack San Domex. Now there's a man with good legs. I'm a big fan of those scenes where he's looking sexy and heroic in his tight–fitting Military uniform, saving humanity from the mythical menacing aliens that we still haven't discovered. I stopped a moment to listen.
"... great tragedy that genius Thaddeus Wallam–Crane died so young, before he could even portal to another planet himse ..."
I turned off the vid before Arrack could demonstrate his stupidity any further. Nice legs, not much on the brain cells. I shouted my frustration at the blank screen. "Don't you know that the genius was already 64 when he got that first portal working? He didn't die young; he lived to celebrate his hundredth! It took them another hundred years before anyone portalled to another habitable planet. Work out how old he would have needed to be to go there, nardle brain!"
It annoys me so much when people don't know their history. I have a passion for facts and ...
Yes, I admit it. I'd known what course I'd take all along. You've probably already seen I'm a natural historian. I was just rebelling against it because being a historian is like giving in to what fate has done to me. Everyone knows Earth is for the triple H: Hospital. History. Handicapped. There are other careers you can follow on Earth—we need the entire infrastructure any world has—but our two big speciality areas are medicine and history.
So it boiled down to this. I could be a dutiful stereotype Handicapped and become a historian, or I could rebel by not studying something I loved. Great choice. Then I thought of a third possibility. I could do it if I was crazy enough or angry enough. I was grinning like a maniac as I went out of my room and headed down to the portal in the entrance hall.
I met Candace in the huge tropical bird dome of Zoo Europe. They have an even bigger one in Zoo Africa of course, but cross continent portalling is more expensive than local and you hit time zone problems. You probably didn't know that, since Earth is the only world with more than one inhabited continent. Another tax-free fact for you.
Candace was sitting on the bench by the guppy pool. I sat next to her, and for a moment we just watched the tiny shimmering crimson, electric blue, and emerald tails of the male guppies as they showed off to the drab females. Overhead, there were flashes of iridescent feathers from birds in flight. I loved this place, with its rampaging plants, humid jungle smells, and the constant bird song. Candace and I had been meeting here for years and I still never tired of it.
"So, I suppose you're still thinking things over," Candace said. "I hate to nag, but we have to get your application in by tomorrow."
"You can nag," I said. "You're my ProMum. It's your job."
I bet you've never heard of a ProMum. ProParents are what you get if your real parents don't want to know about a Handicapped baby. In 92 per cent of cases, it takes parents less than a day to register consent to make their embarrassing throwback a ward of Hospital Earth, give notice to dissolve their marriage or other relationship, and head in opposite directions while each screaming the throwback genes belonged to the other party.
My parents were in the 92 per cent. I'd had the right to attempt contact with them when I was 14, but I hadn't bothered. The exos threw me away, and I sure as chaos wasn't chasing after them and begging!
I used the exo word there. Us apes call people like you "norms" when we're being polite, and "exos" when we're not. I don't feel I have to be polite about parents who dumped me.
I mentioned that my psychologist thinks I still have a lot of unresolved bitterness and anger, didn't I?
Instead of parents, I have Candace for two hours a week. She is ProMum to ten of us. I don't know who the others are and I don't want to. I also don't want to know about her own kids. She must have experienced at least one serious relationship, and have at least one child of her own, because it's a prerequisite for being a ProParent.
So, I know about all the kids who are my competition, but I prefer to ignore them and think of Candace as being mine and mine alone. She may only be mine for two hours a week, but unlike all the other adults that come and go in my life, Candace is two hours a week for ever. ProParents are for life. She'll be there to advise me when I get into a relationship, or have kids of my own, or strangle Wallam–Crane at birth. I have a ProDad too, and he was great until I got to be about 11. Since then we haven't got on so well.
I've run into a couple of the kids with real parents who moved to Earth to take care of them. I think I prefer ProParents really. They only bother to make you do something if it's really important, and if you're in trouble they're like superheroes. I mean, seriously, they have huge powers. If they suspect one of their kids is being badly treated, ProParents can wade in, claim advocate authority, and get Homes inspected, closed, anything they want. They can walk right into the board meeting of Hospital Earth if they feel it's necessary. Now that really is totally zan!
It's always been nice to know Candace had that sort of power and was on my side. I'd never needed her to use her authority before, but given what I was planning I might need it now.
It was time to break the news to her. I took it by gentle stages. "I want to go history, so I need to start with Pre-history Foundation Year."
"Well done," said Candace. "You've been working towards it for years, and it's obviously right for you, but the way you've been delaying the decision had me worried. I was afraid you'd have one of your moods and bite off your own nose by choosing something else. I've got your application ready; we just need to submit it."
"It could be a bit more complicated than that," I said. "I want to apply to an off–world university."
Candace closed her eyes for a few seconds. I swear she even stopped breathing. Finally she opened her eyes again. "We aren't going back to the denial phase are we? You went through the whole thing about how they must have made a mistake in your case, just like all the kids do. You elected to take up your option to portal off world on your fourteenth birthday. You went into anaphylactic shock, the medical team shipped you back, and you took a week to recover. Surely you remember that."
"Yes," I said. I'd been dying. I'd been terrified. It wasn't something I'd ever forget.
"Then you know it's not a mistake. If you go off world, you'll die. You can't go to an off-world university!"
"But I don't have to go off world." I grinned crazily. "All Pre-history Foundation Year courses are held on Earth. I can transfer back to University Earth after that for the main degree."
She tried all the sensible arguments. "University Earth does exactly the same Foundation course. They use the same facilities, the same dig sites, and the teaching is as good or better."
I kept grinning. "I want a course run by an off-world university."
"You're guaranteed to get a place on a University Earth course. You need the right grades to get on an off-world course."
"I have great grades, you know that."
"What about cost? Any education you want is free here but ..."
Yes, I get educated free. Are you jealous? Being an ape has certain advantages. We get guaranteed places to study anything we want, and we never have to pay education tax at the end of it. We get a guaranteed job in whatever field we like. If we don't want to work we have a guaranteed basic income. That's how my friend Keon was planning to live—by lazing around for the rest of his life. Every inhabited world contributes generously to care for the rejects of humanity. It's guilt money to ease their consciences. You lot pay up, so you can dump your reject babies on Earth and then forget about them.
"Does it actually say anywhere that my free education is limited to University Earth and not any other university?" I asked.
"I'll have to check. No one has ever thought it relevant so ..." Candace was clearly cracking in the face of my determination. "You do realize that the other students will be ... difficult. They may not like you being on their course. Is that the idea? You want to vent your anger?"
"That's not the idea. Not to start with anyway. I don't want them to know what I am. I want them to think I'm one of them. Normal."
"You are normal, Jarra. If you'd been born before the invention of the portal, no one would ever have known there was a problem with your immune system."
This fact was recited to me regularly. I was normal. I wasn't to think of myself as a reject. I was to value myself. All the irritating repetition achieved was to make me briefly try fantasizing about being born six hundred years ago. Then I remembered all the wars and famines in pre-history, decided I preferred modern civilisation, and went back to fantasizing about strangling Wallam–Crane.
I shook my head at Candace. "People keep saying that to me. My psychologist says it, you say it, but you're Handicapped too so it doesn't help. I need the normal people to say it. I want to go on this course and have the real people think I'm one of them. It doesn't matter if I don't manage it for a whole year, even a few days would work. That would really mean I'm worth something."
There was more to it than that. At the end, when I'd fooled them all into thinking I was a real person like them, then I was planning to tell them what I was. One of the neans, one of the people whose existence they ignored, had forced herself into their cosy little lives. I could watch the shock and embarrassment in their eyes, when they realized they'd been fooled into thinking a throwback was one of them. I could yell at them, let out all the anger and resentment, and walk away laughing. It didn't seem a bright idea to tell Candace about that bit of my plan though.
"If this would help you value yourself at last ..." Candace sat there thinking this through. "It would be hard to fool the other students, Jarra, but you won't even get the chance to try. Your application will come from an Earth school, and they'll know what that means. Children born here without the condition commute to off-world schools, and their applications come from those."
Yes, I know you're staggering at the thought of the expense of portalling between worlds every day just to go to school. It's true though. Even if both parents are Handicapped, nine out of ten of their kids will be able to portal off world. The guilt money of humanity pays for them to portal to normal schools to aid their assimilation into "real society."
Did you know, at one time they tried swapping babies? They took away the normal baby of Handicapped parents and gave them a Handicapped baby from off-world instead. They did it by force. I bet they never taught you that in your off-world school. My psychologist says I should forget about it because it generates hostility, but you shouldn't forget history; you should learn from it.
"The staff may know," I said, "but that's my personal data!"
"You're right!" Candace was in ProMum mode now, fighting for her kid's rights. "Staff can only access personal data for professional purposes. Your school's planet of origin implies your handicap; therefore it has the same protection status as medical data. We can make that clear on your application. The staff may know, but it's professional misconduct if they tell the students. What university do we go for?"
"Errr ... Asgard." I picked it at random because it was the home planet of that nardle-brained vid star I had a crush on. Arrack San Domex. The one with the legs.
"Asgard ..." Candace took her lookup from her pocket and typed a question. Data flooded the screen and she nodded. "That's a high-rated history department. Good choice."
It was, was it? "Are my grades good enough? Will I get in? Should I pick somewhere easier?"
"You have great grades, Jarra, and your relevant experience section can't be beaten. You've visited more history sites in a year than their other applicants will have visited in their life time. I'd bet most of them have never even set foot on Earth. If they turn you down, they had better be able to prove every student on that course has better grades or I'll file a legal challenge from Hospital Earth on behalf of their ward."
"Yay!" I just love having a ProMum with super powers on my side.
"As for the cost ... It won't be more than if you go to University Earth. If anyone argues, then I'll take it as high as necessary to get it authorized."
Excerpted from EARTH GIRL by Janet Edwards Copyright © 2013 by Janet Edwards. Excerpted by permission of Prometheus Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Earth Girl had so much promise. Not only was the synopsis and the cover appealing, but the first 50 pages of the novel had me so excited to dig deeper into the story. Unfortunately, as soon as Jarra made it to the Norm school, it felt like the author hit the break on the book and we got stuck in horrible rush hour traffic, moving inch by inch, meaning barely getting any development in the plot whatsoever. I am really sad to say this but Earth Girl is officially my biggest disappointment of 2013. I have read many good reviews of it and I was expecting to really like it. However I did not enjoy the writing style with the weird terminologies such as Snaz! and Nuke!, I did not enjoy how most of the novel was spent following Jarra at school doing the same thing every single day, going to dig sites, showing off how smart she is, then going to bed. The plot stayed like that for more than 100 pages.. I kept on wondering if we were EVER going to get any development because I honestly don't see the point in continuing to read it. THEN, Jarra finally reconnects with her parents and I sit up straighter and wait for some character and plot development. Something big happens a little while after that but you know how Jarra takes it? in one tiny paragraph we read how pissed and heartbroken she is.. then the next chapter? it is like nothing happened. She is back to being her happy go lucky self to the point that she forgot who she is. Jarra is an handicapped, an ape, meaning someone who can't travel to different worlds like the Norms. Of course no one at her norm school knows about this. One day after the big event she disregarded, the school has to evacuate from earth to go to another planet, do you know what Jarra did? she went to PACK and get READY to go. I was like "umm, aren't you a handicapped? won't you go into anaphylactic shock as soon as you portal? WHERE IS YOUR MIND WOMAN?!" I felt that the author threw us out of Jarra's mind as soon as the big event happened. I couldn't understand what was going on and was so confused throughout the rest of the novel. I expected there to be action, to be some thrilling plot and great characters. I expected to be at least not let down by the romance but I was wrong. The love interest? I knew nothing about other than his sudden desire to marry Jarra and his fetish of being thrown over the shoulder by Jarra... please tell me it is as weird as I thought? the romance fell flat; one second Jarra didn't even care about the guy but the next second she is in love with him. I got so frustrated with this novel, I wanted to drop it many times but stuck around with it.I honestly wouldn't recommend it to anyone but again, I know people who have read it and loved it, I seem to be in the minority with my rating but that's my final verdict after reading Earth Girl.
“They were magicians,” I said. “Think of the glorious cities they built. New York, New Tokyo, London, Moscow, Paris Coeur, Berlin, Eden…Now it’s all in ruins, and we’re scavenging for scraps of their knowledge.” -Janet Edwards, Earth Girl Imagine a world where you would be considered a “Handicapped” person because of your immune system. Jarra is one of the thousands of people in a post-apocalyptic world that is confined to Earth. Jarra dreams of going off world, but she has been told all of her life that she could not survive on another planet. Her parents abandoned her to live alone on Earth while they continued to live off world with all the other “Normals.” Jarra has had enough. She does not believe she should be classified as “Handicapped”, she can do everything that a “Normal” can do. Jarra hatches a plan…she makes a fake military background for herself and joins a group of “Normals” excavating the ruins of old cities. She wants to prove to them that she is just like them. Earth Girl is a true “portal” science fiction story that weaves a story about the world hundreds of years from now. Janet Edwards creates a realistic world that will give you goosebumps about what our future holds. Through detailed descriptions and character development, the reader can really related to the hardships and emotional roller coaster that the characters face. Earth Girl will have you laughing, crying, and rooting for Jarra on her quest for equality. Janet Edwards well thought out plot is masterful, imaginative, and consuming. Jarra is an inspirational heroine who is strong of heart, and of mind. You will not want to put this book down until you turn that last page!
The description for Earth Girl just SOUNDS so cool and science fiction-y. I love cool sci fi and I had heard a little buzz for this one so I was excited and decided to give it a try. When I finally did pick it up, I was curious enough and in the perfect mood for a good futuristic read but I wasn’t really sure what to expect either. It sounds a bit odd, right? I found the idea of the futuristic “handicapped” living on Earth to be interesting, but unfamiliar. So I was completely surprised when I was reading Earth Girl. Earth Girls is noteworthy for its unique and moving storyline, a well-developed world full of its own history and culture that stands out, and a character so different from any others I’ve read before. Reasons to Read: 1. Jarra is this daring, geeky sort of girl: And because of that she’s totally relatable. She dares to try and move past her biological and societal limits – she challenges them and isn’t afraid too afraid to fail that it holds her back. She’s bitter at first, but understandably so. And that is a huge part of her transformation throughout the book. And I loved how geeky she was when it came to history! I feel the same way and have my own little geeky quirks when it comes to interests I am PASSIONATE about! (Like books! And politics! And the law! And history!) 2. Suspenseful moments that’ll have your heart pounding: These aren’t your typical sort of suspenseful moments with the good characters running from the bad guys. It’s done in the semi-mundane practice of research and archeology. And that made it better in a sense, because it made you aware of just how brave and passionate you have to be to do the type of work Jarra hopes to do as a historian. There’s nothing boring about this – it feels very real and exciting. And there is some crazy weather going on, which is scary but exciting in the way some of our real weather can be. And people die in familiar ways too. So for a world set so far in the distant future (hundreds of years past beyond us) it feels remarkably familiar. 3. A real sense and thoughtful consideration of the importance of treating others well: The very idea that only those “handicapped” live on Earth sounds weird. It’s a special immune system that means Jarra and her friends will literally die on any other planet – and this is in a world where that’s what everyone else is able to do. You get a very thoughtful insider’s perspective of what it means to be different from the norm, and treated inferior in many instances. I’ve never had any kind of a disability that held me back in any way, but I know what it feels like to stand out from the crowd and be unique. It isn’t always easy, and the way people act towards you can be extremely painful. And Earth Girl totally made me rethink how I perceive disabilities or unique traits (in a good way). I had to seriously reconsider whether that is such a bad thing, or whether it’s just different from me. 4. A heartbreaking, moving tale: I was rooting so hard for Jarra, and I desperately wanted the situation to be different. There are some incredible, life-changing discoveries made during the story and some of it works out well and some of it just falls apart. That pain Jarra felt was described so well that it was raw and truly resonated with me as a reader. I was in awe of how touching Jarra’s story was, and for this reason alone I’d recommend it to many, many readers. Jarra’s development is remarkable, but at one point it struck me as very odd. I don’t want to spoil anything but I’ll just say that it was the one part of the book that didn’t work for me because of how it was presented. It felt a little too out of left field and bizarre, not that she would act in such a way, but the way it was written and included in the story failed to persuade me and suspend my disbelief. I love reading imaginary, creative stories but the authors needs to be able to convince me that they’re real within the book. Jarra’s actions towards the latter half of the novel stood out to me from the rest of it because it didn't mesh as well with her character or the plot as everything else did. And it was such a pivotal moment that I can’t brush it off or ignore it. But in light of the book as a whole, it is fairly minor and didn’t overly detract from my experience reading it. Earth Girl is still one of the most remarkable YA books I’ve read, and I thought it was very well done. ARC received from HarperCollins Canada for review; no other compensation was received.
Creative YA sci fi with good world building. Would read a sequel.
Earth Girl is the first book in the Earth Girl trilogy by Janet Edwards. I liked this book so much, the concept sounded so appealing being set in the future, add in the intriguing characters and great dialogue and you end up with this fabulous story. It's 2788 and Earth is a planet only inhabited by the handicapped (or apes as civilians from other planets refer to them as), people who as babies who can't with their immune system tolerate the atmosphere anywhere but Earth and can't portal to other worlds, and so most are abandoned by their families with the belief system that it's an embarrassment to have a child with this problem. Jarra is one of these kids, angry and bitter at the way she and all handicapped are treated she enrols herself at a school for the norms who will be spending the next year on Earth at a dig site to find artifacts and lost pieces of history that were abandoned in the haste to leave Earth. Creating a new background for herself as the daughter of military parents, Jarra ends up being the smartest and most knowledgable student in her class, much to the amazement and chagrin of her teacher who is the only person that's knows of who she really is. Soon Jarra starts believing her own lies and gets swept up in a romance with Fian a boy in her class - a norm from another planet. But when a severe solar storm strikes where Jarra is staying she and her fellow students will be helping to save the lives of some of the military, who have crash-landed on Earth and have only hours to live buried under the rubble of a collapsed building. Join Jarra as she falls in love, discovers the norms aren't as bad as she'd convinced herself they are and helps to save a whole lot of people proving that the handicapped can do just as much as and are as normal as the well - the norms. I highly recommend this book and I look forward to the next book 'Earth Star'.
An enjoyable story, it had me staying up late reading it. But it does have its problems, including pacing and glossed over, unresolved, or unexplained issues. Pros: a unique, fascinating, and rich background. The book has a culture and history of its own, and these details are not only woven into the story but play a key role in it. In addition, the technology in this book is cool, and really lends to the futuristic feel that is so central to the story. Most importantly, there is character development, which is central to a dramatic plot such as this one. Cons: in the beginning the pacing was perfectly fine, and then midway through it slows painfully to a crawl, which lasts almost until the end, where the story then dashes madly to the finish in an ending more fitting for a race than a book. It was as though the editor read the first half of the book, thought it was fine, and assumed the last half would be just as good; so, of course, the pacing immediately went amok. It also seemed as though the author was pressed for time and had to quickly finish the book. In addition, the science part of science-fiction was painfully lacking: left unexplained and ultimately unbelievable. The greatest failings happen in the latter part of the book: most of the supporting cast is suddenly, inexplicably side-lined only to be replaced by new characters whom we’ve never met before, the story takes a romantic turn, and the main character loses her mind (in an understanding but confusing way). But perhaps the greatest fault is in what should have been the climax, both emotionally and plot-wise. The story built to one specific point, with the two main themes of the story until then being acceptance and deceit, but instead the plot took a left turn and the climax was replaced by a hurried rescue scene that was more fitting for the falling action than what should have been the peak of the story. In fact, the emotional plot of the story was never fully resolved, and the should-have-been climax becomes a footnote readers never even see, but have to hear about second hand. While from my review the cons may look as though they outweigh the pros, the story was actually a very good one. It was a thought provoking tale of disability, lies, and ultimate acceptance, and it introduced a setting the likes of which I have never seen in any book. I just wish more thought had gone into the latter part of the book- it would have benefitted from some polishing up.
Earth Girl is a bold and unique novel that is easy to get powered on. From its remarkable cover, touching and thought-provoking, to it's flavorful cast of characters I have no doubt that Janet Edwards will catch a wide variety of readers. Jarra is a heroine with such a passionate voice, one that makes me sit up and pay attention, especially since she speaks directly to us, the audience. Reading her words as though they were written just for me made me shake my head in amusement, pocket a tissue for tears and focus intently on her hopes and hardships. In short, I've never felt so bonded to a character that I felt every bit of sympathy imaginable for her. It literally took me days to stop talking, or even thinking, about Jarra's story. Under the layer of science-fiction and this highly advanced futuristic society, there's something very realistic about Earth Girl. Jarra has to deal with her being Handicapped and not knowing who her birth parents are. She struggles with making the decision to reach out for the parents who sent her to Earth, a place she's bound to because of her immune system that does not allow her to portal to other worlds. It's this aspect of the story that made Jarra become more than just a fictitious character. Edwards is a totally zan author who not only goes above and beyond expectations for an entertaining sci-fi novel, but she sets a whole new set of standards. She captures it all: romance, adventure, and intricate subplots that aid in creating a world unlike any I've read before. Even the characters' colloquial speech is lavished with a distinctive style. Earth Girl is a prime example of my gratefulness for the literary convention of a series; Edwards will sure as chaos continue to dazzle and delight with one of the most outstanding heroines of YA literature! *ARC provided via publisher in exchange for an honest review*