So, I was introduced to the book Earth Girl via this book review. (Now, that review does contain some minor spoilers, just an FYI.) It was a great review of what looked to be an interesting story, so I immediately requested it from the library. I don’t regret it.
Earth Girl Synopsis: 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. – Goodreads
Earth Girl Review
Earth Girl has realistic characters, decent pacing, and enough action versus internal monologues to keep you happy. Jarra (and all the other characters) are excellently fleshed out. Nothing any of the characters do makes you sit up and go “Yeah, right, like that’d happen.” There are no love triangles. No one acts tons more mature than they should be for their age. The pacing is fantastic. None of the tech (bar the portals) used is completely unbelievable. In fact, it seems for lots of it like we’re already on our way to developing it. I mean, we have versions of impact suits now.
I’ve seen reviews that talked about the ‘subpar’ world development. The world development in this novel did not bother me at all. I like it when the author forces the reader to use their imagination. Never, at any point, did I feel like I wasn’t given enough information to see things through.
As usual with me and stories, I would have ended the book a bit before it actually ended. In this case really just the last bit where its really tying up (after a certain salute). I feel like the book overall would have left a stronger final impression if it had ended on a strong note, instead of how it did.