Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

Earth Girl
Earth Girl


Earth Girl
by Janet Edwards
Series: Earth Girl, Book 1
Genre: Young Adult Science Fiction
Published by Harper Voyager, 2012
E-book, Purchased
358 pages
Grade: B+
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.

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

11 thoughts on “Review: Earth Girl by Janet Edwards”

  1. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this series! You have to love a narrator with an irreverent sense of humor, I think. I don’t think I’ve read a YA novel that deals with able-ism (calling people “apes”) and Earth Girl sounds like an excellent place to start!


    1. This was a good book. I like that it deals with discrimination–on both sides–but is also a very entertaining book!


  2. This sounds like an interesting series. Just off the blurb I probably wouldn’t have grabbed this but your cheers all sound like things I would really enjoy. Thanks for sharing!


  3. This was one of the most surprising YA reads of my year – and probably one of my favorites. I’m also really looking for the third book now!


    1. I know what you mean, Mogsy! I didn’t think about it being surprising when I wrote my review, but you’re right it is a surprising book.


  4. OMG YEY! I was all excited to see a review of Earth Girl for obvious reasons and then I got to the end and realized I helped you find this series *swoons* I’m soooooo jealous that you’ll be able to get Earth Flight before me!


    1. Yes, Anya! I’m so happy I saw your review and tracked down this book/series. Thank you again.

      And…now, my face is red, Anya…I didn’t do enough research–Goodreads says Earth Flight comes out Aug 14. And it does–but it’s coming to England on August 14 not the U.S. 😦


  5. I didn’t realize the last book comes out in August. I totally thought the immuno compromised thing totally makes sense. I’m so glad to see these books getting more attention. I loved them!


  6. I’m sorry I’ve started false rumors, Tabitha…LOL. It’s only England and not the U.S. (where I am, too) that get’s the book on Aug 14. I wish it was going to be here.

    I’m glad these books are getting more attention, too. It doesn’t seem like there is much science fiction of this type being written right now.


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