Series: Earth Girl, #1
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 358 (Ebook)
Release Date: August 16, 2012
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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.Few things before I start this review: the summary lied, at least a bit. Jarra never hid at the back of the class--quite the opposite--and even if she did, most of her classmates would still try to interact with and befriend her. Two, the crew is not on a collision course with her shelter.
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.
Now that's settled, let's head on to our main character, Jarra. I'm not sure how I feel about her. She's sort of a Mary Sue because her almost perfect knowledge, skills, and ability to make everyone like her. That last one made her initial extreme hatred towards people who can portal off-world, while understandable, extremely hard not to give into the temptation to hate her myself. She can be quite harsh so if any of you do plan to read Earth Girl, brace yourselves and don't give up on her just yet! Although part of the story is on how she gets over her prejudices, her relationship with other members of her class, such as Dalmora or Playdon, could have been vastly improved on. I didn't really feel their was much build-up for the deep friendship she and her classmates had by the end of the book. More characterization for side characters could have also been a plus.
Love how the romance between Jarra and her love interest was executed. Very nice, very realistic, and very different from most YA romances, in my opinion. Now that one had a good, strong built-up. I wasn't able to care much for the relationship though, which is strange, since should have been one that I liked. The constant comparisons to a fictional celebrity did not help its case.
The writing style felt too juvenile at first and around the halfway mark, it tried too hard to add a deep meaning to things. There was plenty of info-dumping and repetitive thoughts. The story seemed to have lost most of its focus once *[Jarra's parents died, which I felt was rushed], but the style had vastly improved in its place. [Jarra, on the other hand, turned a little crazy in the brain, which is, again, understandable, but drove me nuts! She kept on doing these stupid, silly things like calling people "hapless civilians", attempting to get through a portal, and get engaged to a norm that didn't know she was an Earth girl.]
I'm wondering, how do they know that the Handicapped can't survive on all worlds other than Earth? Did they test every planet on them? And why? What do those planets have that Earth doesn't? And if there are people who can only live exclusively on Earth, are there people who can only live exclusively on one of the other planets?
On the cover, is Jarra really standing on top of a building? Without a suit? Isn't that supposed to be extremely dangerous?
*spoilers in white