Earth Girl - Janet Edwards
A sensational YA science fiction debut from an exciting new British author. Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-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 invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.
A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.
This was such an interesting read. Earth Girl is a book that has been sat on my shelf for quite some time now and I'm glad that I finally picked it up. It's a light, fun and humorous read with believable characters and brilliant world building, I really cannot wait to sink my teeth into Earth Star later! (Thanks HC!). Earth Girl is set in 2788, years in the future in which they have discovered new planets and Earth is now portrayed as the 'reject' planet. Only the Handicapped children are kept on Earth, children that cannot survive on the other planets. It is with this in mind that we meet Jarra, a Handicap, who is determined to attend an 'Exo' University with those from other planets despite the prejudices.
I loved how kick-ass Jarra was throughout this novel. Not once did she back down from her responsibilities and she always stands up for what she believes in. There is one major flaw in Jarra's character, and that is her shame of being an 'Ape', or 'Handicap'. As a race that us frowned upon and not accepted by the other planets, she has taken all of these beliefs on board and believes that she is just an 'ape'. It definitely made for a frustrating read as she undertakes a new identity upon joining the university of Asgard. She takes on the role of a Military Child and proceeds to hide her identity from her classmates through the novel.
The novel contained plenty of drama and tension, enough that I kept wondering when or if Jarra would ever get caught out in her plan. Through receiving some traumatic news, a glitch occurs within her plan which throws everything into upheaval within her life. It makes for an interesting and exciting read, despite being somewhat confusing at occasions. I loved reading about this new Earth created by Ms. Edwards and this new career created through the study of history. The students visit various Dig Sites - cities that were once heaving before the evacuation - and search for new relics from the past. It was fascinating to read about this new process and I can't wait to read more of it!
The relationship which develops between Fian, another student at the university of Asgard, a student from a different planet, is fun to read about and isn't anything too overwhelming. I loved that it didn't dominate the entire story but was still a relationship that I cared about and was hoping that everything would work out fine for them - despite the lies. A fun, captivating science-fiction book, I couldn't get enough of it and an looking forward to reading about more of Jarra's adventures in Earth Star!