by Janet Edwards
Series: Earth Girl, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published by Harper Voyager, 2012
Synopsis: 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.
The twentieth century is the one they summarize as war, war and bore.
This wasn’t just about what the norms thought of apes, it was also about how I thought about myself, and . . .
- The book takes place on the Earth over 700 years in the future. I can’t think of any science fiction books I’ve read with a setting that far in the future.
- Janet Edwards creates such an interesting world. This is a great debut book!
- The book deals with discrimination. Humans who’ve left Earth call those left on Earth “Handicapped” if they’re polite; if not, they’re called “Apes.” They’re often considered sub-human by off-worlders. Earthlings use “Norms” (polite) or “Exos” (impolite) for the people who leave Earth.
- Jarra grows and changes throughout the book. She begins with a lot of anger toward her real parents and off-world people. What happens to her in the course of the book changes her world view.
- The concept of an underpopulated Earth is interesting. Most everyone who could leave Earth leaves during “Exodus” and the cities fall into disrepair. Jarra loves pre-history–the history before most everyone left Earth. Much of the book takes place on an archaeology dig in New York City.
- The archaeology in this book is fascinating. The author does a good job describing the dangers as well as Jarra’s obsession with the history of the cities and mankind.
- Jarra is funny and irreverent. She’s serious about pre-history and the dig sites. She’s outwardly very self-confident, but inwardly often unsure of herself. She manages to pass herself off as a normal child of military parents so well even fools her professor.
- Lots of action! I read the book quickly since so much is going on.
- The class of norms Jarra joins is full of interesting students. I enjoy learning about them and the sectors of Space inhabited by humans. Each sector–Alpha, Beta, Delta, Epsilon, Gamma, Kappa–has developed with different customs.
- I don’t understand the one in a thousand with an immune system that can’t survive anywhere except Earth. However, I’m willing to take this on faith and not worry too much since I like the book so much.
- I first heard about Earth Girl from a review of the second book (Earth Star) at Anya’s blog On Starships & Dragon Wings. It’s one of the best I’ve read all year! I’ve already read the second book–Earth Star–and want the third book now. The concluding book in the trilogy Earth Flight comes out in August 2014.
Have you read this book? How did you like it?
I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book:
- The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
- The Book Bingo Challenge.