Review: Earth Girl
Jarra lives on Earth. But what sounds normal to us doesn’t to those who live in 2788, when man has since left Earth for other worlds, thanks to the invention of portals. Unfortunately, not every human’s immune system can handle what the universe has to offer. One in every thousand born can’t survive on other planets and must return to Earth within hours of birth or they die. Jarra’s parents sent her to Earth right after she was born and haven’t been a part of her life since.
The year Jarra turns 18, she decides to do something risky: apply for a non-Earth university’s archeology program. The first year requires time spent on Earth for practical history studies, during which Jarra plants to fool the class into thinking she’s normal–it’s hard to not be resentful when the rest of humanity thinks you’re a Handicapped ‘ape.’ In the process she unexpectedly learns that norms aren’t so bad after all… and that she could even come to love one of them.
Right from the start of Janet Edwards’ EARTH GIRL (Amazon), you’re struck by Jarra’s first person PoV voice–smart, young, and maybe a little crazy. Most obvious of all is her issue with being stuck on Earth in a day and age when it’s considered a freak of genetics. She’s tired of it and just crazy enough to pull a stunt in a bid to vent her frustrations.
In the meantime, we watch her interactions between her diverse set of classmates. It’s obvious from the start that she loves history and it’s no accident she choose this area of study. There are a lot of details about the way the class’s archeology digs work–in particular here it’s the abandoned New York City–it’s not uninteresting and shows a lot about Jarra and her classmates. It can get infodump-y at times because there’s a lot Edwards wants to tell you about this bright future for humanity, but she does her best to be concise and interesting.
Jarra is stuck on Earth in an era where humanity now lives among the stars. EARTH GIRL is the coming of age story of a girl searching for her worth.
Jarra felt believable as an 18-year-old young woman trying to find her way and struggling to understand her own identity. She can be a know-it-all (maybe a little too smart), silly, a show off, shy–and she even withdraws into a make-believe reality (this part is a little contrived). Her relationship with potential love interest Fian is sweet and even a tad complicated (the best kind). The other characters are a little shallow, but recognizable.
The plot is very straightforward, if sometimes bumpy as Jarra causes trouble that has to be worked around. The end felt a little rushed, but was still satisfying. Despite its problems, EARTH GIRL’s themes of prejudice is handled with finesse, making it accessible to a YA audience.
- Recommended Age: 15+ for sexual innuendo
- Language: None
- Violence: Non-human caused peril
- Sex: Referred to mostly as innuendo; implied
If you’re tired of dystopia, this would be a fun diversion.