by Janet Edwards
Paperback: 358 pages
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Released: August 16, 2012
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
In 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. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet.
Earth Girl is a young adult science fiction novel. Jarra started out with some issues. She wanted to get people to see her for who she really is and then confront them with their prejudices about "Handicapped" people. Only she gets to know the students from other worlds and starts to like them despite her own prejudices. She's stuck in a piles of lies. How could her new friends ever trust or like her once the truth comes out?
The world-building is worked naturally into the story and created a complex and interesting future without getting too bogged down in how everything worked. However, when I started re-reading the novel, I realized that I could skim over a good bit of the story because there was a lot of worldbuilding. The details brought the world vividly alive in my imagination, but they didn't need to be read twice.
The suspense came from the physical danger of the job and the relationship tensions. The characters were complex and reacted realistically to events. Jarra had a believable but unexpected coping reaction near the middle of the book. I wasn't initially sure that I liked the twist, but it worked out satisfactorily.
Some sex was implied. There was one instance of swearing and a minor amount of made up bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.