posted at Sunday, March 3rd, 2013 at 5:00 PM | Sadie Hawkins, Young Adult
Series: Earth Girl #1
Published by Pyr on March 5, 2013
Genres: Adventure, Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Space Opera
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.
Recommended by: Kayla Beck of Bibliophilia, Please
First Sentence: “It was on Wallam-Crane day that I finally decided what I was going to do for my degree course Foundation year..”
Honestly, I’d sort of dismissed this book, because I saw the pretty cover and then never heard another thing about it. Only when my friend Kayla tweeted me about how good this book was and how much she thought I would like it did I look into it again. That was when I realized why I’d heard so little buzz about it: the cover I was familiar with was for the UK edition, and it’s only just now publishing in the US. So, basically, Kayla knows me well and this book is stellar (see what I did there?); pay attention to Earth Girl.
The world building in Earth Girl is astounding. Seriously, there’s so much going on in here, and with so much of it well-explained. Though the Earth and surrounding solar system are nothing like they are now, I always felt completely grounded in Edwards’ world. At no point did I feel like there was clunky infodumping or that I was at a loss, confused about why something was happening. There are some infodumps, but they’re done in the guise of a classroom lesson, so they work perfectly. I’m not going to try to explain all of it to you, because there’s too much and I would make it really complicated; if you’re curious, trust in Janet Edwards.
The biggest theme tackled in Earth Girl is that of racial tensions. Well, I’m not sure if racial is precisely the right world, but the strain between people from different planets and cultures. Although all originally from Earth, the humans who still live there are seen as neans (a shortening of neanderthals) or apes. No one would live on Earth at all anymore, since other planets have been located with far better conditions, but some people are unable to survive anywhere else because of a rare condition. Even among those not dwelling on Earth, there are stereotypes pertaining to every planet, like the idea that all Betans are promiscuous.
Jarra is one of my new favorite heroines. She does not let people mess with her one bit, sarcastic and no-nonsense. Who doesn’t love a heroine who throws a guy who tries to get fresh across the room? Well, probably lots of people, but I, for one, think that’s awesome. Handicapped, the term used to describe those unable to survive off of Earth, Jarra resents the way her kind are viewed, and decides to do something drastic to prove a point. She enrolls in a history degree for a college on another planet, since the first year is taught on Earth. If no one notices that she’s an “ape,” then obviously the stereotypes are wrong. At the end, she plans to revenge herself on these narrow-minded exos (a slur for those who don’t live on Earth) by revealing the truth. Over time, though, it becomes clear that there is more to every person than stereotypes, a lesson that’s always important to remember.
Though it’s not the main focus of the story, Earth Girl does have one heck of an adorable romance. Jarra, in spite of herself, is highly attracted to Fian, a guy who just happens to rather resemble her favorite vid star. They develop a really natural bond by working to gether and playing together. I really love the way they swap episodes of their favorite shows, secretly pointing out their crushes on one another. These two have some great banter and I am a big fan.
Though Earth Girl is nigh perfect for me, I do think it might be tricky for those with a bit less patience for science fiction. There are a lot of pages of description about the methods by which historians research pre-historic Earth (in this case, New York City). These might bore some readers, though I found them incredibly exciting. The closest comparison I can make would be to the various lessons in Ender’s Game, as they play the battle simulation game. There were also a couple of spots that lagged a bit, but far more that made me laugh out loud or want to fistbump Jarra for being so damn cool.
Science fiction fans, you’re going to want to get yourself a copy of Earth Girl ASAP. I’m pretty sure I’m going to need to order the UK version of book two, just so I can have a shorter wait.
“‘Delta sector is heavily into science, like Beta sector is heavily into sex, but I can’t see the appeal of it.’
‘I meant I can’t see the appeal of science, not sex. Sex is . . .’ Fian shoook his head. ‘I’m digging myself in deeper here, aren’t I?'”
The next Sadie Hawkins Sunday book will be The Lost Girlby Sangu Mandanna. This suggestion comes from Lilian of A Novel Toybox! I already have a copy of this one I’ve been meaning to read, so this is perfect.
Want to tell me what to read? For more details, check this post.