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Earth Girl #1

Earth Girl

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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.

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.

358 pages, Paperback

First published August 16, 2012

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About the author

Janet Edwards

31 books472 followers

Latest release:- Sol 2781, an extra-long novel set in the Portal Future and featuring Drago Tell Dramis. Sol 2781 completes the Drago Tell Dramis 2781 sequence, so is best read after the first three parts, novelette-length Hera 2781, novel-length Hestia 2781, and novel-length Array 2781. 

Please visit Janet's website to get more information, and sign up for her newsletter if you'd like to be kept informed of future releases.

PERILOUS: Hive Mind A Prequel Novella  


Set in 2781
HERA 2781: A Drago Short Story
HESTIA 2781: A Drago Novel
ARRAY 2781: A Drago Novel
SOL 2781: A Drago novel

Set in 2788, the year before the Earth Girl Trilogy
EARTH 2788: The Earth Girl Short Stories
EARTH AND FIRE: An Earth Girl Novella 1
EARTH AND AIR: An Earth Girl Novella 2
FRONTIER:  An Epsilon Sector Novella

Set in 2789, the Main Earth Girl Trilogy

Set in 2789 directly after the Earth Girl Trilogy
EARTH PRIME: The Earth Girl Aftermath Stories 1


◾Voted an American Library Association YALSA Teens' Top Ten title for 2014.
◾A Tayshas 2014 choice.
◾Kirkus starred review for a book of exceptional merit.
◾A Kirkus best book of 2013.
◾Booklist starred review for being outstanding in its genre.
◾Booklist Editors’ Choice: Books for Youth, 2013.
◾An Amazon.co.uk best Young Adult book of 2012.
◾A Kobobooks.com best Young Adult book of 2012.

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 811 reviews
July 26, 2013
Actual rating: 4.5

I started reading this book with less than stellar (I am completely incapable of writing a review without at least one bad pun) expectations.

Really? I mean Earth Girl as a title? I know, prejudice against the title...Khanh, you stupid, immature little girl. I have my reasons, though. There have been few pieces of YA sci-fi fiction based on interplanetary plots that have been worth the time they took to read. The other reason was because the title brought to mind the kitschy movie Earth Girls are Easy, and so I just wanted to laugh at the title of this book.

Despite my reservations, this book is so, so much better than I expected. I came in with a lot of terrible expectations about this book, I started reading Earth Girl just hoping for a good laugh at best, and truly expecting the worst. I told myself, hey, at least if the book turned out really badly, I could use that as an excuse to get a drink as I continued on. Or 5. There's a silver lining behind every cloud (that comes from the foil-wrapped seal of my preferred brand of liquor). I do kid, I'm not an alcoholic despite my multiple references to drinking, I swear. Really!

Initially, it was a little jarring, as future slang and terminology and the history of the Earth and the colonies are thrown at us. Don't let the first few pages of the book turn you off, as it did for me. Our main character, Jarra, uses a lot of slang, a lot of her world's terminology, and it really can throw you off. Teenagers everywhere always have their own little popular vocabulary, and Jarra is no different, "Zan!" "Amaz!" "Nardle" etc, are thrown at us, and I admit to rolling my eyes so far back into my forehead after reading those phrases that I might have appeared possessed by an evil spirit to an unsuspecting bystander. The names also took quite a lot of getting used to, since they are not common names typically used today at all, but they are not vanity Mary Sue/Gary Stu names either. There is no Pagan, no Xander, no Destiny, no Nevaeh, none of that stupid shit here.

"My immune system can't survive anywhere other than Earth. I'm in prison, and it's a life sentence."

Jarra was a wonderful character. She's so full of self-righteous anger, and who can blame her, really? She's an "ape," a slang for those who are unable to survive outside of the immediate environment of Earth, and thus like others of her kind, considered disabled. People with this condition are highly looked down upon, they're viewed as mentally incapable, weak, with poor mental capacity.

To be crude, having a "nean" or an "ape" child in the future is like having a disabled child in the past, when we were so much less accepting of anything or anyone who is different. For the parents, it brings up all sorts of issues, there's blaming. Whose fault is it that their child is born an ape? Is it the mother's gene pool? The father's gene pool? Is it something that the mother does wrong during pregnancy? Did she travel somewhere and contract something? Did she eat a certain food (Karanth jelly)? There is blaming all around, and the result is not good. The majority of parents who end up having a child with this disorder end up divorced, and most choose to give up the child, who is then brought down to Earth, assigned a ProMum and ProDad for parenting duties a few hours every week, and generally forgotten.

Jarra grows up in this environment and equipped with this knowledge. She is inferior. People don't say it to their face, but it is implied that she is weak, that she is stupid, that she is not worthy. She knows that her kind are called names, "nean" and "ape" being highly reprehensible slang for those with the disorder, akin to calling someone a r*t*rd or a f*g. Jarra is angry. She knows she is better than that. She herself is prejudiced against those who are normal. As she reaches college age, Jarra sets out to prove them wrong. She applies to study in a college course on earth with other humans, normal ones, from other planets.

Her plan is a pretty immature one, but not uncommon and not out of character, considering the prejudice she has faced. She plans to infiltrate the group of foreign students, pose as one of them, albeit a Military kid, and at the end, after she has dazzled and fooled everyone with her disguise, Jarra pretty much plans to reveal the truth, point her finger at them and laugh. "Haw-haw!" Nelson Muntz-style. Ok, that last bit was my own addition, but you get the drift.

Well, things don't exactly work out as planned. Jarra joins the course, her instructor is not allowed to tell anyone of her disabled status, but he is clearly prejudiced against her for it and goes out of his way to pick on her. The other characters from other sectors threw Jarra for a loop. They are not the people she set out to hate. They are normal. They are no different than her, with weaknesses, strengths, sensitivities, hurts, and Jarra begins to realize that she is wrong. As much as Jarra experiences discrimination, she realizes that she has been discriminatory too, that normal people are in fact, no better than worse than anyone else she has ever known.

Her other classmates are lovely. Initially you can see Jarra start classifying them and stereoptying them into tropes. The sexually promiscuous cousins from Beta sector. The jerkwad. The likeable boy next door. Dalmora, the popular perfect queen bee who we set out to hate.

"I really and truly hate to admit I'm wrong, but sometimes I have to. Dalmora Rostha, the gifted daughter of Ventrak Rostha, born to be an adored Alphan vid personality of the future, and a living embodiment of everything I envied, was nice. I'd fought the idea for as long as I could, but she really was. It was truly sickening that someone so perfect should actually be nice as well."

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Take your high school tropes, toss them out the window. These people are not who they initially seem. That is the beauty of this book. Everything turns out to be so much more wonderfully complex than at first glimpse.

I really loved the world-building in this one. The history of Earth and how it came to be abandoned was well-done. The history of the other planets, the Sectors, were well-developed and well-described. The first-person narrative is not annoying at all, and I loved the insight into Jarra's thoughts as she gradually comes to term with her own prejudice and her preconceptions. I love her self-flagellation and grudging acceptance of her classmates, as well as her acknowledgement that she herself is imperfect, and her descent from hubris is a joy to read.

"The class might be exos, but they weren't a bad bunch. I’d taken an instant dislike to the Betans, but now they’d turned out to be being pretty noble in their way.
I’d come to terms with the rest of the class being exos. The question was, could they come to terms with me being Handicapped?"

I do have one problem with this book that made it slow reading for me past the 50% mark. Jarra is TOO perfect, at times. I'm not talking about her personality, I am talking about her skills. She is smart, undoubtedly, but she is ultimately TOO COMPETENT in everything she does. She knows the history of the world and the sectors inside and out, she can operate complicated machinery, use rarified equipment, there is nothing she can't do it, seems. Ultimately, it bothered me, but did not majorly hurt my enjoyment of the book. I also love the relationship she develops with Fian. He is such a strong, loyal character, and I appreciate the fact that they didn't fall into insta-love. Jarra ain't got no time for that, y'all. She's a girl on a mission.

Highly recommended, and I greatly anticipate the next book in this series.

Thanks to my girl Faye for her beautifully persuasive review that finally convinced me to read this book =)
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
November 17, 2015

This dystopian novel “grazzed” as in surprised me (the language is very amusing) in terms of its totally awesome world building and completely impressive premise. Imagine Earth being the last planet a person would want to inhabit after the “Exodus” (during which Earthlings hastily portalled all the way to all these more civilized other planets) leaving on Earth the Handicapped aka the “apes” *rolls eyes* or those immune system is not pliable (because of their “throwback genes”, LMAO!) for the living conditions of said other awesome planets.

Jarra is one of the so called Handicapped, an Earth Girl who wants to prove herself to be just as or even more capable as the non-Earth people by enrolling at a non-Earth university and pretending to be non-Earth Girl. Read how she proves herself extremely and impossibly well.*wink, wink*

The first half of the story was totally “zan!”. How the author was able to concoct a solid history of their world out of pure imagination was “amaz!” “Respect!” (Their language is really contagious. “Ooo eee!” Lol!) I really enjoyed a lot of the concepts. One of my favorites is the sensor box which reproaches misconduct. For example, it could say…

“Your current inter-person intimacy is exceeding that acceptable for your age group.” (Very handy for parents nowadays. Lol!)

The futuristic TV shows were also really amusing and it helps that the hero actor in one of the shows, Ajax Anthrax Domex, (sorry I couldn’t recall his exact name) looks something like this.

You’re welcome, (Ate) Jilly. ;) You can click her name for her review.^^

The latter half however became a bit of a drag. My 100% attention during the first half diminished to about 68.752% during the second and I may or may not have skimmed a bit. *smiles guiltily*. The writing can be taxing because there were far too many dialogues and sometimes got a bit too techie/scientific. It had this tendency to hurt my humble average head. Lol! And because it was too invested on the world building, I felt like the character development was compromised. I couldn’t get real emotions from the characters and the romance was kind of a flop. *insert peace sign here* For a book that is huge on science-y stuff, there wasn’t any real chemistry between the hero and heroine. *tsk, tsk*

Nonetheless, it’s still a generally amusing, entertaining and recommendable dystopian read. Here’s another awesome review for third opinion. Neil’s.

Profile Image for Mogsy.
2,073 reviews2,634 followers
May 17, 2014
4.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum http://bibliosanctum.blogspot.com/201...

When I think about Young Adult books from Pyr, words that spring immediately to mind are “distinct”, “unconventional” and “unique”. I guess that’s why I’ve been counting on this book to lift me out of my YA slump. I’ve been feeling rather burned out by the love triangles, broody heroes, and paranormal/fantasy settings in this category lately, and Earth Girl looked like the perfect cure to this particular malaise.

My instincts proved correct.

The story of Earth Girl takes place in the far-flung future, narrated by eighteen-year-old Jarra. There are many names for people like her. Handicapped. Throwback. Nean. Ape. All of them mean one thing: that she is among the one in a thousand born with an immune disorder that confines her to earth. Humans have developed portal technology at this point, using it to colonize a multitude of worlds, but Jarra can’t visit any of them. If she traveled anywhere she would go into anaphylactic shock in seconds, and die if not returned immediately to earth’s atmosphere.

But even in the year 2788, humanity has its bigoted attitudes. So when the time comes to enroll in university, Jarra chooses her preferred subject History, but decides to invent a fake military background for herself to apply at a school on another planet whose class of norms who would be on earth for the first year of practical studies. Jarra is sick and tired of being looked down on for being handicapped, and she’s determined to show a bunch of stupid Exos just what an ape girl is capable of.

There is therefore nothing subtle about the social message in Earth Girl. This is a book infused with emotion and meaning. But even beyond this, there is so much more to love. While the plot may be a bit predictable at times, very little else about this novel falls prey to clichés, especially when it comes to the characters. You meet Lecturer Playdon, for example, and might immediately label him a hardball professor, bent on giving our protagonist a hard time – because adults obviously are in YA novels just to get in the way! Or take Dalmora Rostha, daughter of a rich, famous vid director. She’s totally going to be the snooty, spoiled and annoyingly fake arch nemesis in this story, am I right? Now the lascivious pair of Betas though, surely they are there just to provide comic relief, cause trouble and flunk out?

Nope, nope, and nope, wrong on all counts. This book will surprise you at every turn, and I can’t tell you how refreshing that is.

I also confess, I have another reason for loving this book. For you see, in the context of Earth Girl, Jarra’s “practical prehistory studies” is just another word for Archaeology. And I love Archaeology. While studying it and going on digs in college, I’d always entertained thoughts of future archaeologists excavating our modern cities and wondered what they would make of our civilization from the things they find. It’s like the author was reading my mind! When Jarra and her class dig up the ruins of New York, the methods and technology they use may be very different, but still the systematic methods are there and so is the culture and spirit of a dig site. World building is fantastic in terms of creating a great atmosphere.

My only quibbles are minor. The dialogue can be stunted at times, making Jarra and her friends sound and act like they are much younger than their eighteen years. Fian, the romantic interest, is probably the worst offender. Jarra also seems to be an expert at everything. A character even makes a joke about this at one point in the novel. As well, there is a tendency to tell instead of show and moments of overt info-dumping, but as many of these instances are worked into a classroom setting, they were easily forgivable. Other than that, as you can see from my rating, this book was close to perfect.

Thank you, Janet Edwards, for breathing some new life into YA for me. Earth Girl was a very enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to the next book.
Profile Image for Justine.
1,156 reviews311 followers
May 9, 2022
3.5 stars

This was a really sweet and enjoyable book with a nice feel-good vibe to it.

There isn't any contrived plotting or angst thrust upon the characters, just Jarra trying to work out for herself what she is going to do in the situation she has got herself into, and coming to terms with who and what she is. YA SF doesn't often take the path of exploring people trying to live a relatively good life in an upbeat manner and focus just on the characters, so that made for a refreshing change of pace.
Profile Image for Lindsay.
1,275 reviews227 followers
April 20, 2018
YA SF that explores a believable extrapolation of a future based on portal technology, a passion for archeology and bigotry.

Jarra is Handicapped, one of the few people that can't travel through off-planet portals without going into anaphylactic shock seconds after emerging. Handicapped children can be born to anyone and the usual result is that the baby gets shipped off to Earth to be raised while the parents split amid the shame of giving birth to an "ape" (or "throwback", or "nean). Exposure to the media products of human interstellar civilization leaves the Handicapped population of Earth passively exposed to all the bigotry towards "apes" that the non-Earth population casually includes in their culture.

Jarra also has a passion for prehistory, the history of humanity before portals, so Earth is the place to be for that and she intends to pursue a university degree in the archaeology that she's been involved in all her life. But Jarra is also deeply affected by the bigotry she sees everywhere, and with a giant chip on her shoulder she enrolls in an off-world university course whose first year is on Earth (with the intention to transfer out afterwards). The intent is to not tell her fellow classmates that she's an "ape" and then rub it into their faces after a year of showing off her extreme competence. But once exposed to the "exos" that goes both ways and Jarra finds it difficult to retain her preconceptions of the off-worlders.

This book reminded me strongly of the Crystal Singer by Anne McCaffrey. Like Killashandra from that book, here we have a hyper-competent protagonist with something to prove on a planet that she can't leave (technically the Singers could, but with issues). Add in a lot of highly detailed description of learning a cool SF-based technical process and the comparison seems very apt. And it's a good one for me personally as I really loved the Crystal Singer when I was growing up, so there's a dose of nostalgia in my feelings towards this book as well.

I really liked the thought that went into what a mass exodus would do to the cities of Earth and how people would react. Some of the historical notes that the team uncovers illuminate this beautifully. The impact of the ubiquity of portal technology on other forms of tech is interestingly portrayed as well showing that the now obsolete technologies such as planes and high-speed ground transport have actually gone significantly backwards. The nods to changing language (not nearly enough for centuries of linguistic drift, but probably fine given the YA nature) and social attitudes (slightly more prudish than modern Western culture except for one group) are great world-building as well.

I also liked the gradual illumination of the exos as they become more human to Jarra. The book could have just left most of the characters as stereotypes, but instead gives almost everyone some likability. I'm reminded of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in that regard.

Superior YA SF that transcends the initial childish motives of the main character. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.
Profile Image for Experiment BL626.
209 reviews351 followers
June 7, 2013
The heroine’s character development was superb, but the world building was subpar.

+ the world building

The world building failed to respect the book’s central theme of history and ultimately its setting as an alternative reality. No explanation was offered for how all nations united as one civilization. Neither was an explanation offered for how people suddenly stopped being religious despite the brief but incredibly jarring sentence about how physicists found proof for creationism simply just to explain the single OMG a secondary character uttered in chapter 5.

As far the world building was concerned, events that led up to the present time, world peace magically happened, and then a third world war leading to the rise and fall of a “Second Roman Empire” which completely ignored the Third Rome controversy and suggested poor research, assuming any, in the writing process. The sad thing is that the book could have simply avoided all the aforementioned issues if it took place in a completely fictional world, albeit inspired by real world settings, instead of an alternate reality.

I also took issue with the idolization of the Military and their ambiguous position in a non-existent political structure. The world building failed to develop the idea of a government. It also failed to convince me that when people left Earth for better planets, ones that didn’t suffer increasing solar storms, they didn’t make backups of humanity’s knowledge and assumed the Earth’s Internet and other various networks were infallible, an assumption that made no sense due to Earth’s increasing solar storms. How convenient it was that during Earth’s exodus, the emigrants left time capsules, a.k.a. stasis boxes, behind because it was trendy, time capsules that would later be excavated for humanity’s lost knowledge.

Finally, I didn’t like the prudish angle the world building worked sometimes. I didn’t care for the equating of polyamory to promiscuity in the form of Jarra’s two Betan classmates. It was bizarre how the slang for ass was “legs” and worse that for a while, due to the lack of proper context clues, I thought a leg fetish was the fashion. Equally bizarre was the “Twoing.” I still don’t know whether Twoing is an engagement or some sort odd official declaration to the government that a couple is dating.

+ the heroine

Thankfully, the prudish angle tapered off when reasons for Jarra’s two Betan classmates’ matriculation were revealed and Jarra, the heroine, realized the errors, among many, of her judgement.

I loved Jarra. She was supposed to be this flawed character, I think, intended for the reader to warm up to but I liked her from the get-go. I thought her anger was justified, and I fully supported her plan to show the norms up. What started out as a plan of vengeance quickly became a case of character growth as Jarra slowly dismantled her prejudice and came to like and trust the people she previously resented. I loved how she finally summoned the necessary courage to face her abandonment issues, the source of her anger.

The only time I didn’t like to read about Jarra was when she suffered a breakdown in the last third of the book and didn’t snap out of it for a couple chapters, a good chunk of the book. It was also the time I wished the story didn’t stick to an exclusive 1st person POV, Jarra’s POV. Jarra’s breakdown was completely understandable but it was hard to read, so much so that I skimmed. It was the only time I skimmed in the book.

I really liked how her love interest stuck by her, that when Jarra pushed back in fear of rejection, he didn’t let her. Though bland in the personality department, Fian was a nice guy through and through, and it was refreshing and delightful to read about a love interest who didn’t act rudely to gain the heroine’s attention. Jarra may have made a poor decision in selecting her first boyfriend, but with Fian as her second boyfriend she certainly learned her from mistakes. Also, no love triangle — hell yes!

The extent of her character growth amazed me, caught me off guard quite frankly, because that amount usually demands a couple of books in a series. Jarra amazed me so much that she (and a very satisfactory ending) more than compensated for all the issues I had against the book for its splotchy world building which at the very least was conveyed elegantly, i.e. no info-dumping.

In Conclusion

I rate Earth Girl 4-stars for I really liked it. The fact that it’s book 1 in a series surprises me because the book tightly wrapped up all the loose ends. I am excited to return to the world, but with trepidation that the sequels might tarnish book 1 (which given my experience is not as uncommon an occurrence as I’d like it to be). Earth Girl set the expectation very high.

I definitely recommend the book for readers looking for a focused YA science fiction with a flawed but strong heroine with a reservation: ignore the fact that the setting is an alternative reality.

Buddy read and discussion with Georgina.
Profile Image for Amelie.
Author 11 books562 followers
May 7, 2017
Rereading Edit:

Ich stehe auch heute noch zu der Rezension von damals und möchte noch hinzufügen, wie gut mir der Love Interest aka Fian und die damit verbundene Liebesgeschichte gefallen hat. Fian ist einfach nicht der perfekte, allmächtige Charakter mit düsterer Vergangenheit wie es sie zuhauf im Genre gibt. Fian wirkt durch seine Fehler echt und das machte die Liebesgeschichte einfach wundervoll <3

Zur Aufmachung

Keine der beiden Aufmachungen schafft es die Geschichte des Buches richtig einzufangen. Beide sind dem Buch nicht würdig xD
Der deutsche Titel leitet unheimlich fehl, weil das Buch so wie ich das sehe ein Einteiler ist, es aber durch den Zusatz "Die Prüfung" wie ein Auftaktband klingt. Meine Informationen können natürlich falsch sein und um ehrlich zu sein hoffe ich es, denn das würde bedeuten, dass ich bald mehr von Jarra und der Zukunft zu lesen bekomme...

Zum Buch

Vergesst mal bitte, was ihr euch von diesem Buch erwartet, denn in meinen Augen ist das hier KEINE Dystopie. Vielleicht ein Science Fiction Jugendroman mit ganz ganz minimalen dystopischen Aspekten, aber die sind dann wirklich mikromatisch klein. Es gibt kein fieses, hinterhältiges Regime, das die Bevölkerung unterdrückt und ständig irgendwas total sinnfreies, aber grausames tut um die Macht zu behalten. Jarra lehnt sich nicht gegen ihre Vorgesetzten auf und zettelt eine Revolution an. Sie verliebt sich auch nicht unsterblich in einen Jungen, mit dem sie sich nicht einlassen darf... Vergesst einfach alles, was ihr erwartet, denn es kommt NICHT die 0815 Version.
Jarra ist wie ihr in der Kurzbeschreibung ja erfahren habt, behindert und kann deshalb auf keinem anderen Planeten als der Erde überleben. Wie das so mit der Menschheit ist, werden alle behinderten ausgeschlossen, viele von ihren Eltern verstoßen, weil diese nicht für ihre Kinder auf die Erde umziehen wollen. Großgezogen wird Jarra also auf der Erde, ihre Eltern kennt sie nicht und der Rest der Welt sieht sie als "Neander" oder "Affen". Aber sie will den Normalos zeigen, dass sie auch etwas wert ist. Da sie sich für Geschichte interessiert und alle Ausgrabungsstätten (wie New York) auf der Erde sind, schreibt sie sich für einen Vorgeschichtskurs an einer Universität auf einem anderen Planeten ein. Da dieser Kurs komplett auf der Erde stattfidnet, fällt keinem ihrer Komillitonen auf, dass Jarra behindert ist. Zuerst plant sie einen Rachefeldzug, aber dann kommt es natürlich ganz anders...
Das Buch ist unheimlich einfühlsam, was Ausgrenzung angeht und befasste sich ziemlich stark mit diesem Thema. Besonders, da man das alles natürlich auch auf die Behinderung beziehen kann, die wir kennen. Als Jarras Eltern ins Spiel kamen, wurde es dann ganz emotional!
Man möge es nicht glauben, aber das Buch ist auch sehr spannend! Der Geschichtekurs verbringt viel Zeit in den Ruinen, in denen sie Ausgrabungen tätigen, die für alle, besonders aber für Jarra lebensgefährlich sind.
Jarra ist ein wunderbarer, sehr willensstarker Charakter. Sie weiß, was sie will und sie setzt alles daran ihre Ziele zu erreichen. Aber Janet Edwards hat auch gezeigt, dass selbst Jarra ihre Grenzen hat, was die emotionale Belastung anging. Alle anderen Charaktere, die hier vorkamen waren genauso authentisch und sympathisch gezeichnet wie Jarra. Es gab keine Stereotypen und wenn, dann hat die Autorin diese Leute im Verlaufe der Geschichte Dinge tun lassen, die beweisen, dass sie nicht so sind wie man zu Beginn noch geglaubt hat.
Aber was mir mit am allerbesten gefallen hat, das war die Zukunftsvision! Es war nicht so übertrieben, es war glaubwürdig, es spielte so fern in der Zukunft (ca. 2750, wenn ich mich recht entsinne), dass ich mir vorstellen konnte, dass es wirklich so abläuft wie beschrieben. Dadurch, dass Jarra Geschichte studiert und sich auch so sehr dafür interessiert, erfährt man auch viel über diese Zukunft in der Jarra lebt ohne dass man sich mit Daten und Ereignissen überschüttet fühlt! Und alles war so gut durchdacht und so super beschrieben und einfach detailliert genug um realistisch zu wirken! Es muss eine Heidenarbeit gewesen sein sich all diese Ereignisse auszudenken, die dazu geführt haben, dass die Menschheit sich nicht nur über Planeten, sondern ganze Planetensysteme erstreckt. Einfach himmlisch!


Schreibstil: 5 Herzen
Charaktere: 5 Herzen
Emotionale Tiefe: 5 Herzen
Spannung; 4 Herzen
Humor: 4 Herzen
Originalität: 4,5 Herzen

Es ist schon eine Weile her, dass mich ein Roman so begeistern konnte! Earth Girl arbeitet nicht unbedingt mit Verfolgungsjagden oder überraschenden, grausamen Wendungen, dafür aber mit einem unglaublich sympathischen Hauptcharakter, einer realistischen, detailliert ausgearbeiteten und logischen Zukunftsvision und einer Geschichte, die einen einfach mitreißt. Ich hoffe inständig, dass es von Janet Edwards nicht bei diesem einen Roman bleiben wird! Ganz klare Kaufempfehlung!

4,5 Herzen!!!
Profile Image for David.
1,630 reviews112 followers
October 19, 2021
Earth Girl (Earth Girl, #1) by Janet Edwards takes place in the year 2788 with Jarra 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? 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. When a freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, 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 the planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.
Profile Image for Christina (A Reader of Fictions).
4,280 reviews1,655 followers
May 6, 2013
Honestly, I'd sort of dismissed this book, because I saw the pretty cover and then never heard another thing about it. Only when my friend Kayla tweeted me about how good this book was and how much she thought I would like it did I look into it again. That was when I realized why I'd heard so little buzz about it: the cover I was familiar with was for the UK edition, and it's only just now publishing in the US. So, basically, Kayla knows me well and this book is stellar (see what I did there?); pay attention to Earth Girl.

The world building in Earth Girl is astounding. Seriously, there's so much going on in here, and with so much of it well-explained. Though the Earth and surrounding solar system are nothing like they are now, I always felt completely grounded in Edwards' world. At no point did I feel like there was clunky infodumping or that I was at a loss, confused about why something was happening. There are some infodumps, but they're done in the guise of a classroom lesson, so they work perfectly. I'm not going to try to explain all of it to you, because there's too much and I would make it really complicated; if you're curious, trust in Janet Edwards.

The biggest theme tackled in Earth Girl is that of racial tensions. Well, I'm not sure if racial is precisely the right world, but the strain between people from different planets and cultures. Although all originally from Earth, the humans who still live there are seen as neans (a shortening of neanderthals) or apes. No one would live on Earth at all anymore, since other planets have been located with far better conditions, but some people are unable to survive anywhere else because of a rare condition. Even among those not dwelling on Earth, there are stereotypes pertaining to every planet, like the idea that all Betans are promiscuous.

Jarra is one of my new favorite heroines. She does not let people mess with her one bit, sarcastic and no-nonsense. Who doesn't love a heroine who throws a guy who tries to get fresh across the room? Well, probably lots of people, but I, for one, think that's awesome. Handicapped, the term used to describe those unable to survive off of Earth, Jarra resents the way her kind are viewed, and decides to do something drastic to prove a point. She enrolls in a history degree for a college on another planet, since the first year is taught on Earth. If no one notices that she's an "ape," then obviously the stereotypes are wrong. At the end, she plans to revenge herself on these narrow-minded exos (a slur for those who don't live on Earth) by revealing the truth. Over time, though, it becomes clear that there is more to every person than stereotypes, a lesson that's always important to remember.

Though it's not the main focus of the story, Earth Girl does have one heck of an adorable romance. Jarra, in spite of herself, is highly attracted to Fian, a guy who just happens to rather resemble her favorite vid star. They develop a really natural bond by working to gether and playing together. I really love the way they swap episodes of their favorite shows, secretly pointing out their crushes on one another. These two have some great banter and I am a big fan.

Though Earth Girl is nigh perfect for me, I do think it might be tricky for those with a bit less patience for science fiction. There are a lot of pages of description about the methods by which historians research pre-historic Earth (in this case, New York City). These might bore some readers, though I found them incredibly exciting. The closest comparison I can make would be to the various lessons in Ender's Game, as they play the battle simulation game. There were also a couple of spots that lagged a bit, but far more that made me laugh out loud or want to fistbump Jarra for being so damn cool.

Science fiction fans, you're going to want to get yourself a copy of Earth Girl ASAP. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need to order the UK version of book two, just so I can have a shorter wait.
Profile Image for TheBookSmugglers.
669 reviews2,005 followers
March 23, 2013
Originally reviewed on The Book Smugglers

Nearly 800 years in the future, Earth and the rest of the universe is a very different place. Thanks to scientist Thaddeus Wallam-Crane, humanity is no longer limited by accelerated particle engines, or the restrictive harness of speed-of-light travel - Wallam-Crane's invention of "portals" mean that humanity can conquer the most distant stars, unrestrained by space and time.

Well, that's true for 99.9% of humanity. That remaining fraction, that niggling 0.1%, is Handicapped. Landlocked. Earth-bound. While the rest of humankind has taken to distant star systems and split into different subcultures with different beliefs and taboos and mores, only the Handicapped remain on Earth. Mocked and ostracized by the rest of society, these Earthers are labeled "Apes" and mercilessly portrayed as unevolved, unintelligent, and undeserving.

Jarra is one of the 0.1%. After her birth on some distant star system, Jarra's immune system immediately failed. Portaled to Earth and made a ward of the state (her parents, naturally, gave Jarra up as they had no desire to raise an ape child), Jarra's life hasn't been bad - she has close friends, a great ProMum, and a passion for knowledge. And she has a plan. At the age of 18, all humans become adults, and can choose a field of study. For Jarra, studying ancient Earth history is a no-brainer - but unlike the rest of her friends, Jarra is not content to go to an Earth university. Instead, she concocts an elaborate, brilliant scheme to attend University Asgard - a prestigious off-world college, with a first-year program excavating ruins on Earth. Masquerading as a Military child, Jarra's plan to fool her classmates - "norms" or "exos" - into thinking she's one of them. Then, when the time is right, Jarra will reveal that - HA! - she is an APE, and she plans on savoring the dumbfounded looks on those exo faces. But, as Jarra continues with her program she gradually learns that not all exos are horrible bigots - and she begins to want to WANT to stay in the Asgard program, to continue her career as a historian, and to befriend the norms in her class.

The debut novel from Janet Edwards, Earth Girl is an impressive, richly detailed work of science fiction. I mean, wow. Not only is the premise of the story, especially society's bifurcation between "exos" and "apes," masterfully executed, but there's a level of amazing nuance and refinement with regard to the history of this future human race and its reach across the universe. Make no mistake - slightly kitschy US cover or no, this is an honest-to-goodness work of science fiction, with different sectors, complex social strata, laws, and principles.[1. Ok, on the cover, I like the idea, but the girl wistfully cradling the Earth with the symbolic CHAIN! is a bit much. And the Jarra in my mind from reading this book? I don't think she'd be so artfully delicate and nostalgic. Not at all.] To me, this worldbuilding respect is Earth Girl's greatest strength - we learn about the history of Earth and humanity's journey to the stars in very clever, non-info-dumpy ways. Namely, this information is relayed through Jarra's voice, through classmates in her university course, through vids and assignments - all in ways that feel organic and genuinely interesting.

But more than a science fiction text, Earth Girl is also - wait for it - an archeology book. That's right. Archaeology. Similar to Indiana Jones, cowboying it up in his death-defying quest for the Ark of the Covenant, Sankara stones and the Holy Grail, Jarra is a member of an elite group of science fictional historical excavators who venture out into Earth's dangerous and crumbling infrastructure to find sealed relics of the past for research and posterity. And like Indy, Jarra's job is freaking awesome. We learn a lot about this future brand of archeology, the different techniques and teams involved in a dig, and it is all fascinating, wonderfully detailed stuff.[2. Seriously. I never thought I'd be so captivated by excavation technology, policies and procedures, but Earth Girl makes it at once believable and fun.]

The other huge standout for Earth Girl is its heroine, the defiant, know-it-all, unapologetic Jarra. I loved Jarra. Her wry sense of humor, her pride and strength of conviction - heck, I even loved her ridiculously complex false backstory and web of lies. If there's one thing Jarra is, she's thorough, and I can respect that. It's Jarra's voice that narrates and propels the novel, it is her struggle of identity and her own personal crisis of belief that sits at the novel's heart.

Of course, there are a few things that pointedly didn't work in Earth Girl. Most notedly, those were Jarra's exceptional skills, the plot twists (especially regarding Jarra's parentage, and particularly towards the end of the book), and the surprisingly fuzzy and unfulfilled theme of minority rights or equality. Most disappointing, to me, is the last - because it would seem that Earth Girl should be a cutting explication of a future society that heavily discriminates against a minority population. But, surprisingly, Earth Girl is much more content to tell the story of the exceptional Jarra - a heroine that time and time again, proves that she is brilliant. Not only is Jarra leagues smarter and more capable than her exo classmates, but she's also exceptionally talented compared to full-fledged adult historians. She has countless hours logged on dig sites. She can put on her cumbersome impact suit faster than the standard 2-minute military time. She is a brilliant tag leader, with a deep, unprecedented understanding and passion for history. She can nail targets with a single shot, fly a plane, and save lives. This is exacerbated by later plot twists, in which Jarra's family history is revealed, and at the end of the book when she is miraculously absolved of her deceptions (without even having to break the news to those she's been lying to for months!).

I was not a big fan of the way the book concluded - too rushed, and Jarra doesn't really come to a reckoning for the lies she's told. That's kind of a big deal. There's also the uncomfortably quick turnaround from Jarra's PTSD break back to reality - this also feels rushed and inauthentic.

But, while the conclusion of the novel feels too pat, the fact that there are future books in the series gives me hope. Plus, the parts of Earth Girl that are good are really good. Even with its shortcomings, this is an utterly engaging, memorable, wonderful book. Definitely recommended, and I cannot wait for more from Janet Edwards.
Profile Image for Ilyda.
63 reviews13 followers
April 9, 2017
3 stars. First thing - this was not a bad book. It had an interesting premise, the world-building was solid, and the idea was a unique spin on a way-overused setting.

My problem was with the way it was written and how the events were played out. The premise might have been good, but the 'problem' of the story - Jarra's Handicap - was resolved with boring acceptance that was barely even elaborated on. Janet Edwards simply skimmed past the resolvement of the issue, gushing on about how Jarra has done such a shitawesome job in everything, and Jarra escapes all the shit she's done simply by being unconscious - even better, she receives naught consequence, and instead a shiny award.

Okay, so her boyfriend gets upset with her for a total of approximately five seconds, which is just pathetic. She got off way too lightly, and got rewarded way too much for way too little. Which brings me to my next point - Princess Jarra is nothing short of a straight-up Mary Sue.

She's good at everything, everyone loves her, she's brave and strong and perfect and amazing and knows everything in the past five thousand years. Sure, she's a strong main character, but tbh I got rather sick of her playing the Miss Know-It-All Well-Rounded Leader with Eighty Million Talents about five chapters in. Also, she never gets into any trouble, and is never discriminated against for her Handicap, save one little slip by her boyfriend, who calls her an ape in the heat of the moment. Hello, did everyone forget that these Handicaps are supposed to be seen as actually inferior? Where is the conflict?

Next problem - her boyfriend, Fian. I find his endless desires to be thrown across a room slightly disturbing - call me a prude, but I'm no fan of the implied sadomasochism in this book at all. In addition, he's rather a flat character, with few individual character traits at all, if any. He's a good little pet boyfriend, accepting Jarra for who she is, watching stupid TV shows with her and worrying far too much about her personal safety. Yup, not cool.

Despite my ragging on the book, however, I think that the premise manages to salvage the book - the world is very well described, and I could picture the ancient dig sites and whatnot quite well in my mind. In general, it's a not-so-well-written book with a good premise, terrible characters and a less than satisfactory plot. Yeah. Okay, the end.
Profile Image for Willow .
236 reviews102 followers
May 6, 2016
Janet Edwards has created a beautiful world where it only takes seconds to go from planet to planet, there's no hunger, no poverty and from what it looks like no crime. There has also been a giant exodus of people to different planets, so now the Earth is somewhat sparsely populated. Can you imagine? An Earth with few people would be a stunning place, teaming with nature and life. I want to live there!

Eighteen-year-old Jarra doesn’t quite see it that way though, and nor does she describe it as such. That’s because she is born with a condition that doesn’t allow her to portal to other worlds, so she is stuck on Earth and considers it her prison. She’s also very angry that people look down on Earth girls like her and decides to enroll herself in an archeology class/New York dig meant for Exos (outsiders) and show them that she is as good as they are. This starts Jarra on her journey, where she discovers that Exos aren’t such bad people and she falls in love with one.

I liked the premise, but I found the book somewhat bland. Fian and Jarra are nice, likeable characters. Jarra is a strong heroine. I didn’t even mind that much that Jarra was a dynamo at everything she did and could have been teaching the class. It’s just the characters and world building were so lackluster. There was so little suspense. You know it's bad when the most interesting thing Fian and Jarra had to talk about was their favorite vids.

Let me give you an example paragraph:

“This is Asgard 6. Firing charges 3 and 4.” Playdon pushed a button and one of the isolated pillars folded in on itself and crumpled neatly to the ground. “This is Asgard 6. Firing second charge.” The second pillar went down nicely too, and a large chunk of sagging floor broke away from the building and crashed downwards in sympathy.

Now this is a nice little paragraph, nothing is wrong with it. It’s just not very vibrant. There’s no loud blast, dirt flying everywhere, the smell of gunpowder. There’s nothing visceral that pulls you into the scene, and the whole book is written like this.

I’m also wondering what the hell kind of archeology dig is this? Why are they blowing up ancient historical buildings? Aren’t the buildings valuable too? I realize they might collapse, but can’t they stabilize them some way? All these guys want to do is blow things up so they can find these stasis boxes that have valuable artifacts in them. It’s like blowing up a pyramid to get to the tomb.

And everything is so vague. This is supposed to take place in New York, but there is nothing in this book that shows New York’s uniqueness…no Empire State Building, no Brooklyn Bridge. I don’t even remember Edwards mentioning which borough they’re in. For all I know, they could be in New Jersey. I wanted more description about what Earth was like. Edwards goes into a lot of detail about some of the new-fangled gadgets the students use, but she doesn’t take me to where they are.

The Exos were pretty nondescript too, most of them being the same and interchangeable, except for the goofy Betans (who seem to come from some Free Love 1960s Robert Heinlein book) and Krath who just likes to play devil’s advocate. I liked Dalmora, because I kept thinking of her as Elle from Legally Blonde. Everybody else though was pretty forgettable.

Edwards came up with this hilarious slang that had words like amaz, nardle brain, grazzed (which I’m still not quite sure what it means) and totally zan . The ‘totally’ making me think of Frank Zappa’s “Valley Girl”…For sure, for sure, she’s a Valley Girl. In truth though, because all the Exos are from different places, they really should have a distinct slang and dialect of their own, possibly even clothing styles. Edwards only touches on the cultural differences like marriage choices, but there should be dozens of others. Should she have gone there? I don’t know. You could describe all that stuff and still not bring your characters to life. A specific voice and opinion is what I usually find memorable about characters, which Jarra had, but not anyone else. I actually liked the unlikable Krath because he got everybody rowed up. It was him against everybody.

Without lots of conflict, vivid world building, intriguing characters, and the only real suspense coming from wondering when Jarra would be discovered as an Earth Girl, I thought this was blah, but likable. I’m giving *** stars.

Profile Image for Glory.
350 reviews50 followers
June 24, 2016
После рассказа-приквела о Плейдоне прям приспичило перечитать трилогию. Покайфовала. Удивительно продуманный мир. Археология будущего. Стеб над предрассудками. И умильно позитивная наивность. Эх...
Уже взялась перечитывать вторую книгу, за ней будет третья.
Когда там у автора уже новинка выйдет)))
Profile Image for Penguin_factory.
1 review20 followers
November 24, 2015
I didn't finish this book-- in fact I didn't even get close-- so I can't speak to how well or not it handles its central premise. I will say that I'm immediately leery of a piece of genre fiction that creates a new oppressed class, transposes a lot of the mindset and language (including a name which, if I'm not mistaken, is often seen as derogatory) that applies to a real-life group of people onto them and then spins a story out of it. Is that justified? I don't know, but alarm bells were going off during the little I did get through.

I stopped reading this book because the writing is atrocious. Characters act like they're high all the time and over-emote wildly, grinning, "grinning crazily", shrieking, jumping up and down, dancing around rooms, throwing shit at each other at the drop of a hat etc. None of this is helped by the fact that the book uses! Lots! of! Exclamation marks!

The slang and the awkward future-speak is what really did it for me. In the far future of Earth Girl someone who's interested in history doesn't watch history documentaries; instead they watch history info vids, after which they might kick back with a nice glass of fizzup and scan the ent vid channels for a while. You'd have to be a complete nardle head not to check out the ent vid channels! All your friends will be totally grazzed!

Some day I want to understand why "vid" has such a mystical hold on the minds of sci-fi authors. Why do people assume that between now and whenever their book is set we'll abandon all of the words we already use for the technology we've had for over 100 years and use "vid" instead?

Maybe this book's plot picks up later, but the bad writing and fingernails-on-chalkboard invented lingo renders that question moot.

Profile Image for Dichotomy Girl.
2,062 reviews136 followers
July 20, 2020
review from 3rd Reading:
So I'd been wanting to read Earth Star for awhile, but felt like I didn't really remember enough about Earth Girl for it to be enjoyable. So I waited until I had some time free for a reread. I was really surprised by how much I loved it. Especially considering my review below and my original 3 star review. This time around, I thought the world building brilliant and fascinating, and felt much more a connection to Jarra. And I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

New Rating: 4.5 Stars

3rd Read 5/18/2016
2nd Read: 12/2/2014

Original Read: 10/17/2013
Original Review:
This was not a perfect book, there were things that sometimes irritated me, and I sometimes had problems with the whole premise (the idea that an entire group of people were looked at as less than human because of what amounted to an allergy seemed kind of ridiculous; until I remembered that we enslaved and demeaned entire races of people for similar stupidities like skin color)

But in the end, this was an enjoyable read. The world building is well done, and you are left with a well drawn picture of the science of archaeological digging 700 years in the future.

Original Rating: 3 Stars
Profile Image for Annabelle.
136 reviews17 followers
April 13, 2012
Earth Girl is one of those rare gems which you come across by luck, then when you read it, it completely blows you mind. It is a stunning debut novel which keeps the reader wanting more. Even when I'd finished this book it was still at the front of my mind. This doesn't happen to me often but when it does it really shows how good a book is. The story and plot were still reeling in my mind, I was analysing the events like I was there, it was brilliant. I can easily say that I loved this book. I would even go to the point to say that it is the best book I have read this year. It is that incredible.

Earth Girl follows Jarra who was born with an immune system that doesn't allow her to portal to other planets. She is one in a thousand, she is criticised for being an ape but she wont let this stop her. She will do anything to prove that she is just like everyone else. Once she turns 18 she decides to enroll in a university from another planet, instead of sticking to a normal Earth university. The history course she picks, takes place on Earth where all the old dig sites are. Jarra's the only one from Earth so she has to make a fake background for herself and hide her handicap. After meeting her new classmates she realises that Exos (People who live on other planets) aren't that bad. On one of her missions she's put in the spotlight making everyone aware of her skills, she can no longer hide. I won't say anymore because I don't want to spoil this amazing book.

Jarra is an amazing heroine. She's smart, strong and very sarcastic. She's hilarious, and so down to earth. Shes the most realistic heroine I've probably ever read. I loved her, her character was strong and we watched her crumble and regrow. She grew into her own, finding her true self and realised that not everyone is the same as the stereotypes that are forced upon them. Fian, Jarra's love interest was also funny and smart. They had amazing chemistry and were perfect together. Fian's obsession with wanting Jarra to throw him across the room was hilarious. Playdon was a great tutor, he was serious but also allowed the class to have fun, he also accepted Jarra from the very beginning.

The book is set in 2788. Janet Edwards does a brilliant job of creating new technology and science, and a believable world. It was incredibly well done, there were no faults. It was brilliant, the portals and domes. The whole environment was amazing. The science wasn't too complicated, most people would be able to understand it. We got to see the two different sides of the world, Jarra's view from someone handicapped and her classmates view from exos. We easily saw the world in its true light and some conflicting elements that came from false information that is featured in each different sector. I would love to visit this world, just to explore it all. Edwards also did a good job describing the New York Dig Sites and all the ruins left behind from when people left earth. You could see some of the old world shining through.

The story was well woven together, and all loose threads were tied up in the end. The ending was very good and summed up all threads and gave us an idea of what would happen to Jarra and the gang next. Janet Edwards is a stunning debut author and she's definitely an author you need to look out for. I'm excited to see what she has to offer next. If your a fan of Dystopian novels then this is a must have. You should definitely buy this book.

Earth Girl is an incredibly well written novel with believeable characters and an intriguing plot. It's one of the best books I've read this year and one you all need to look out for when it releases in August.
Profile Image for Nazia Zennia.
346 reviews5 followers
April 13, 2013
This 1 star rating was only for one reason and this reason was big enough to eclipse all the good things that was happening in this book.

Let’s start with the good. The world building was great. Descriptions were vivid and although I had no idea how the portals and the multiple planets worked it didn't matter because the story was mostly taking place on earth. The idea was also great and seemed unique with a fresh look in a used setting.

Now for the bad. I didn't like the writing. Although I could excuse jargon some of the time (and there were some clever and fitting expressions that were used), it was just too excessive. And the way the story actually played out was so quick and unmemorable that I literally don’t remember what happened in the second half of the book a day later (this could be due to other factors which I will get to shortly).

I hated the characters. There wasn’t a single character that I was able to connect to or appreciate or even take the time to understand because I didn’t care about any of them. I fucking hated Jarra. She is one of THE MOST hard core Mary Sues that I have read in the recent past. I couldn’t pay attention to the good points of this book because Jarra was there all the time (the story is in her point of view- fyi) to make me roll my eyes so much I thought they were going to get lodged into the back of my head.

Im am so freaking annoyed at how Jarra knew how to do everything ALL THE FUCKING TIME. And hearing her practically brag about it over and over again made me want to flip a desk. Like would you just shut up and learn with every one else? I cant even count the amount of times I had rolled my eyes. I understand the prejudice she has against exos, I understand how she can be bitter about it but regarding skill levels, it seemed like she had no flaws, and she was lucky! Like nothing seemed to go wrong and she didn't seem to be trying at all, making everyone else seem like children. Jarra is good at everything. She knows everything, and is far superior to all the other dolts that are around her. She takes risks that always pay off, she is brave and smart and well-meaning and knows about everything that ever was. BUT she is supposed to be handicapped as she is unable to use Portals to get to other planets. I understand that she is overcompensating. I get it. But to be able to do EVERYTHING is highly, highly improbable, no matter how talented. I would have liked a character that was extremely good at one thing, and that’s how she ended up proving her worth but there was nothing to emphasize why she was being prejudiced, nothing for me to root for her with. I never saw why everyone thought the handicapped were so inferior to all others that they were derogatorily referred to as “apes”. Also, she never gets punished for taking certain risks and endangering the group instead gets rewarded for them because Jarra is perfect. And all her problems get solved quickly and easily. Sigh.

I need to stop rolling my eyes.
Profile Image for Amanda.
319 reviews54 followers
April 16, 2013
I had really high hopes for this book but was simply not impressed. The idea for the book is creative enough but I felt the writing was unbalanced: things that I wish had been pages and pages were only a paragraph, and things that were pages and pages could've been a single sentence. Instead of expanding upon the situations that really could've let the main character's personality shine she truncated them to almost nothing and then spent multiple pages on different types of land-roving vehicles. Like I said, disappointing, but not to say another wouldn't enjoy it.
Profile Image for Dear Faye.
492 reviews2,125 followers
March 9, 2013
First and foremost, I'd like to thank my good friend since my scanlation days, Kureha, for recommending this book to me, because otherwise, I wouldn't have touched this. Not the book's fault, really. Ever since I read (and vehemently disliked) British author Teri Terry's Slated, I've become wary of English/British YA novels. But thank goodness for angels like my friend, because this novel turned out to be a very pleasant surprise. I loved it! So how do you know if this book is for you? Well, let's run down a checklist for that, shall we?

If you like
* Intellectual heroines with an innate talent for good, snarky comebacks;
* slow and steady romances that are nicely developed;
* excellently written and well-explained world-building;
* slow-paced story telling; and
* plots that don't have "OMG, YOU STOLE MY BOYFRIEND! B*ITCH!" or "OMG, HE DOESN'T LOVE ME ENOUGH!" drama, then...


If you dislike
* detailed paragraphs;
* pages upon pages of technicalities;
* boring love interest; and
* too-good-to-be-true, loved-by-everyone, pretty-much-good-at-everything-without-even-trying-heroines, then...

You may wanna proceed with caution.:/

But despite my list of negative aspects that I found in this book, I'd still recommend it. Perhaps it is because my expectations weren't high to begin with that I deemed myself enjoying it, or mayhap because I considered the snail-like pace refreshing and the lack of intense drama exhilarating, the fact, however, remains that when I finished the book and turned the last page, plastered on my face was a bright and satisfied smile.

Granted, Jarra, the main character IS (in a way) a Mary Sue. She's excels in everything she does, and unbelievably so, sometimes; and she's loved and appreciated by everyone. If you know me, then you know I just hate this kind of heroines. BUT! Even though this is so, you'll end up liking her anyway because she's amazingly intellectual, funny, and even snarky. The narration, which is set in a first person POV, just changes everything. So what happened? The Mary-Sue hater in me gave in and rooted for this badass girl to the last page. She does have a flaw, though, and it's her drive to be the best in everything she does (read: highly competitive to the point of... well... irrationality? She does find the error of her ways early, though ;p).

For a Dystopian and Science Fiction novel, the world here is extremely well-explained. It's the kind of place I'd love to look forward to someday (without all the apes thing) in the distant future. While I enjoyed the details, the pages upon pages of technicalities in which processes of digging rubble were elaborated made me a bit bored. Of course, they were important and vital to the story, but I felt that it wouldn't have changed anything if there were less of them. Some people may like it, though! Because of this, the story takes on a slow pace. Nothing really big happens. In my opinion, there were no events that would make you go WTF! or FTW!, making it a completely character-driven story. But no worries, the internal narration was fun to read. I'm pretty sure most readers will like Jarra :)

All in all, this is a book to look forward to, in my opinion. I loved the world, I loved Jarra and everything about her, including the Mary Sue aspects and all. My love for British writers has been renewed <3
Profile Image for Matt.
295 reviews3 followers
Shelved as 'maybe-read'
June 15, 2012
There better be a:

1.) Narnia world.
2.) Terabithia world.
3.) A world for every single Disney movie,
4.) I don't know where this list is going
Profile Image for Figgy.
678 reviews219 followers
December 31, 2013
I wanted so badly for this to be a five star read.

I loved this book. I couldn't put it down, and when I finished reading it last night (up past my bedtime) and went to sleep, I dreamt about this world and the people in it, though more surreal and dream like, of course. My dream back log is often two weeks long, which means something that happens in the real world won't show up in Dreamland for about fourteen days. This jumped the subconscious queue.

There were a couple of consistency and other errors, such as Fian remarking towards the end of the book that he had never seen snow before, when their first day in the impact suits they looked out on a New York which was now covered in snow, which was not how Jarra had seen it on past trips there.

The language could have been explained better. I still don't know what "grazzed" is supposed to mean, though I'm pretty sure it was used with both good and bad vibes. Is it supposed to be shock?
Also, "powered" seems to mean any of the following: excited, happy, dunk, drugged, stoned, horny.

I really did like how they had their own developments in their language, as it should be after 700 years, but I was a bit confused as to their definite meaning. If they have one.

The concept is really interesting, the writing style shows skill and talent, I loved the voice, the characters are fleshed out, the world building is fantastic, and I totally wanted to be Jarra's best friend.

I adored Jarra,
and loved the little boost of confidence that JMK gave to the Jarra who was somehow totally out of her element, yet so very in it at the same time. I didn't love

Don't get me wrong. At no point during this book did I find myself wishing it was over, or wishing I could just put it down and walk away from it. I HAD to read it, I HAD to know how it would all work out for Jarra and the rest of the class.

I really, really enjoyed it.

But I feel like I was robbed.

I WILL be reading the next book. In fact, I ordered it when I ordered the first and am still waiting for it to show up.

I was devastated when I got home to an empty mailbox and the knowledge that there is no post tomorrow because it's New Year's Day.

I'll see you and your Earth Star in 2014 Ms. Edwards. (Didn't mean that to sound quite so naughty or sinister.)

Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,238 followers
August 24, 2014
This novel has a fantastic premise. A girl who is trapped on earth while the rest of humanity travels through the universe, living on newly discovered planets and just being cooler. Then she decides to go to a foreign (as in a different planet) university that holds its mandatory history course (program?) on earth (which makes sense since they’re studying human history). Apparently, in the future, archaeology is a pretty darn big deal because earth is reverting to natural status and human beings no longer know how to deal with feral things like wolves (other than scream and run, you’d think they’d have them under control by now) – anyway, I’m rambling.

So yeah, Jarra, aka the Earth Girl, goes to the foreign university that is doing an extended field trip on earth and starts lying. She lies profusely about who she is, where she comes from, who her parents are. Everything. But she is pretty superawesomessauce special snowflake so she knows more than the instructor and in fact, she lectures the class (which means a whole lot of telling in the narrative, like A LOT) and then she is better than everyone at everything. She saves people, she has boys wanting her, the military gives her some kind of honor because IT IS A COINCIDENCE but all those lies she told about her military background? They’re ALL true.

It started to get ridiculous around the time her parents die one page after she finds them again. Whoops, spoiler. What happens after that is even more ridiculous.

Jarra is a Mary Sue.

She is the Mary Sue-ist Sue there ever was and she probably throws up rainbows. She can’t do anything wrong. The world is created well and were it peopled with characters more interesting, engaging and flawed than Jarra, I dare say I would have enjoyed the novel a whole lot. However, the fact that Jarra can do no wrong is a major deterrent where enjoyment is concerned. Everyone loves her, forgives her for lying and accepts her because she’s too wonderful not to accept. The military gives her the highest honor there is for a reason I’m still unclear on. Her boyfriend’s parents accept her even though we are told the mother does not like Earthbound people at all. Her boyfriend gets over his anger at being deceived very quickly. Her friends shrug it away and just.

I did not like the book. There are parts of it that I found interesting but I found it difficult to believe that people would be so irresponsible to let the infrastructure of major cities simply fall to ruin. Were New York city to be vacated due to a major migration to space, you can bet your pants that people would at the very least dispose of flammable chemicals etc. The only way I would accept that people simply left things as they were (open can of coffee on the counter) is if they evacuated in a hurry. It is human nature to pack up and put away in case of absences. So yeah, I had trouble with the logistics of the novel, the characters and the basic plot. I don’t think I’d recommend it but you may have a different reaction to Jarra than I did. (I can’t even think about her without rolling my eyes.)
Profile Image for Karin.
1,413 reviews13 followers
February 23, 2020
4.5 stars

So, an update now that I have just read it a second time--I still think this is worth 4.5 stars. The writing is good, the characters are well developed, the pacing is excellent, the future world building solid and consistent and the story full of adventure, action, a bit of romance, character growth and dealing with differences between people. The review I wrote in 2017 includes a bit about what the story is actually about. Why someone else originally shelved this as extraterrestrials is a bit of a mystery to me, but I am guessing it is because of the exos--humans who live on other planets and look down on the Handicapped, aka apes.

Jarra was sent to earth for life immediately after birth because of her Handicap. She will die from anaphylactic shock if she goes to any other planet. Undaunted, she applies for an off-world university that studies pre-History on earth and makes up a fictional background so that the other students think she is normal, and not an ape. But once on the dig site in ancient New York she finds that the exos are a lot different than she expected. My summary is lame compared with the book.

Sure, the title is rather lame and this is young adult, but it was better than I expected. At the start I was thinking it was okay, but it deserved to win the Bookworm Award for Best Fiction and probably more than that.
Profile Image for Maree.
804 reviews24 followers
June 26, 2015
I was absolutely enthralled with Jarra and her story. Now that Earth has portalling tech to instantly travel from world to world, they've explored and settled on many. But there are still those babies that are born and can't survive on worlds other than Earth. They have to be sent back immediately, and anyone who has one automatically assumes their partner has old ancient genes. These children are raised by the hospitals on Earth with every benefit, but they can never leave the planet. Everyone assumes they're apes, unintelligent, unable to perform like normal humans. And predictably, Jarra wants to prove them wrong.

Jarra is totally bull headed, and loves history. So she decides to do something different--apply for a university offworld in pre-history, the first year of which has to be done on Earth doing excavations. And no one in her class will be the wiser!

I really loved how Jarra thought. She assumed it would be great to laugh at the exos once she had earned their respect and found out she was only an ape. But as she got to know them, her feelings changed. She's a complicated mess, an orphan abandoned by her parents and desperate to prove herself. I was totally taken with her and how she commanded her classmates from the start. Her self-created identity was creative and RESEARCHED! So she didn't get herself into to trouble by slipping up in the normal way.

But her psychosis when she receives some terrible news and actually thinks she is Jarra, Military child was a bit weird. I'm not sure I totally believe it, but at that point I was more than willing to go along.

The really fascinating part about having a character going to university for history is that it isn't at all odd to be hearing lectures about the world after our current time and how it transformed. I feel like I know a ton about the world, which is rich in history and details. That's something not a lot of scifi tends to have these days. A lot of it is pretty simplistic. I also loved reading about the futuristic excavation of New York City with all the technology they use. I actually feel like I could see a dig site and know what was going on! Great detail. It kind of reminded me of the Pern books in that way, which is something I indefinitely love.

Need the next book now! I was a little surprised with how they left things and how the big reveal was kind of played down. It's definitely a complete ending, but not what you'd expect at all.
Profile Image for Andy Angel.
519 reviews49 followers
April 10, 2012
First things first, this review is from an uncorrected proof copy - the book will be available to buy in the shops on August 16th.
The year is 2788 and thanks to the use of portals mankind has now moved out to the stars.
Unfortunately, due to a problem with the immune system, a small percentage of humans are only able to survive on Earth. Portalling off planet would mean death unless they can be sent straight back to Earth and hospitalised. These people, know as "handicapped or apes" (amongst other things) are seen as an underclass.
Our heroine in this book, Jarra, is one of these "apes" but she is determined to prove she is eqqual to, if not better than, the off-worlders (or "exo"s). To this end, she enrolls on a Pre-History Foundation Course with University Asgard which is based at dig sites around Planet Earth. By not having to leave Earth for the course Jarra believes she can hide her handicap and pass off as normal to her classmates.
Jarra invents a backstory for herself as Jarra Military Kid (JMK) but is often nearly caught out, until she gets some shock news and actually starts to believe her JMK persona and life is real.
This is a really well thought out story, with believable science that doesn't require you to have a phd in astrophysics. The idea of the old cities of Earth being abandoned as people headed for the stars makes sense. We only get to see the New York site but that is so well described and atmospheric that, especially when the team move from the fringe site to New York Main, the city/ ruins almost becomes a character itself.
Each off system has its' own character traits which makes for an interesting student group and maybe Jarra is not the only one with a secret!
This book will appeal to people who like things like the Hunger Games series but also to a wider audience and, in my opinion, it has massive potential for being made into a movie (I really want to see New York Main and the solar storm on the big screen).
Another, final, plus for me - the book ties up neatly at the end. There may be more from Jarra, Earth Girl, but if there isn't, there are no real loose threads left dangling.
A 5* book from a promising new author

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Profile Image for Kara Babcock.
1,954 reviews1,292 followers
December 21, 2020
I was not expecting to fall for this book quite as hard as I did. If you asked me how Earth Girl ended up on my to-read list, I could not tell you. But my library had a copy (I love my library!). The description is lacklustre and didn’t make me too excited, but within a few pages I was on Jarra’s side, and within about 3 chapters I was loving this book. It made me giddy, at points … I think that might have been how much this book was a needed, escapist story right now.

Jarra is turning 18 and has decided to study pre-history—that is, the history of humanity before it spread out amongst the stars in the Exodus, thanks to portal technology. However, Jarra is also an ape—or, in less pejorative terms, Handicapped. She lost the genetic lottery, and her immune system cannot handle non-Earth worlds, even for a minute. As a result, Jarra can never leave Earth and faces discrimination from the “norms” who visit this planet—including the rest of her university class, because Jarra stubbornly decides to go to an off-world university, which holds all of its first-year courses on Earth.

Let’s start with the uncomfortable thing: Jarra is a Mary Sue. She has a chip on her shoulder the size of the planet, but she cleverly turns this to her advantage, posing as a Military kid to explain her lack of origin from any of the settled interstellar sectors. Her experience on other Earth dig sites means she quickly rises in the esteem of her professor and then her peers, and although we are repeatedly told to expect some kind of drama and blowback when they find out she is an ape, we are simultaneously told how amazing everyone thinks she is. Jarra expertly leads a rescue! Jarra can fly a plane when not many others are qualified for that! Oooh, turns out Jarra’s lie about being Military isn’t such a lie after all….

I am not going to apologize for Jarra’s Mary Sueness. It’s a thing, and if it turns you off the book, I get it. I’m wary of reading the sequel because of this—I adored Jarra in this book because, despite the story itself being so intent on warping her life, she resolutely makes mistake after mistake and reflects and criticizes herself, and that is the kind of characterization I like to see. But I’m not sure her self-awareness can survive a sequel where apparently the fate of all humanity is in her hands? Yeah….

But if you can look the other way and get past Jarra’s Mary Sue-ness, then what’s left is a book that tries to explore how we make assumptions about others. Jarra’s professor is aware of her status, and at first he assumes that means she wants to make trouble, so he gives her a hard time. She doesn’t like him for this. But they gradually come to respect one another, and Janet Edwards puts a fair amount of effort into making this a dynamic and believable process. The same goes for Jarra’s relationships with her peers, particularly the love interest of the book. Although it isn’t exactly subtle (and this is lampshaded in the book itself, several times over, shifting cultural norms and all), the love story is an interesting subplot that really tests Jarra’s commitment to flying under the radar.

Towards the end of the book, things go off the rails. A tragedy causes Jarra to disassociate and actually believe her Military persona is true for a while. This … was weird. I did a double-take. I think what bothered me about it is the haphazard way Edwards had treated the subject of mental health up until that point—Jarra was distrustful of psychologists, while her best friend loved them, but overall Edwards hadn’t really discussed Jarra’s mental health or anyone else’s mental health in much detail. So for this kind of episode to take place without warning or explanation, it felt very contrived, just as its resolution felt sudden and convenient.

Indeed, my least favourite thing about Earth Girl is its ending. Edwards wraps everything up very quickly, with quite a lot accomplished off-page and then told to our protagonist after she wakes up, having been taken off the board Bella Swan–style (by being knocked unconscious). It’s a narrative bait-and-switch that I don’t appreciate, particularly when it comes to the much-anticipated, teased moment when Jarra’s peers learn that they have been learning next to—and from—an ape. I definitely feel cheated by that, and it’s why this book, despite being so fun for me, is not getting a higher rating.

In other words, Earth Girl is a mess from a literary standpoint—its protagonist is a delightful Mary Sue, and its plot is a convolution of predictable and unpredictable (but contrived) ideas—yet somehow, it all comes together into one of the most compelling and enjoyable stories I’ve read this year. And you know what I say: story comes first. This is not a great novel, but it is a great and enjoyable story.

Originally posted on Kara.Reviews, where you can easily browse all my reviews and subscribe to my newsletter.

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Profile Image for Larisa.
26 reviews2 followers
December 22, 2016
Кто ж знал, что она так затягивает? Первую книгу проглотила за полдня (ну и чуть-чуть ночи))).
Джарра с первых же глав радует своим едким (подчас горьким) сарказмом и нежеланием сдаваться. Еще из первых глав запомнились НОГИ. Столько внимания Джарра им уделяла, и как же было смешно, когда она раскрыла секрет этого термина. ))) Потом раскрывается ее увлеченность историей, и Иссетт со своим "Плохая, плохая Джарра" очень веселила. :) Описание раскопок читала чуть ли не с открытым ртом: так все интересно, и в то же время нельзя расслабиться ни на минуту, столько опасностей кругом. В середине книги произошел неожиданный поворот, когда Джарра обнаружила, что, выбрав себе семью военных в родители, совсем неожиданно оказалась права, а потом случилась трагедия. И даже не сразу стало понятно после той короткой главы, что Джарру по-настоящему переклинило. Когда началась солнечная буря, и на Раскоп Нью-Йорка упал "Солнечный-5"... Ух, как все закрутилось! Конец просто читала, грызя ногти от волнения. И так все здорово описано - нет слов! В финале на церемонии награждения от гордости за всех археологов дух перехватывало, а когда Джарру вызвали, чтобы вручить Орден Артемиды - вообще слезы в глазах.
Фиан, подобный любимому актеру Джарры с суперскими ногами - это прелесть. ))) И как он сразу Джарру выделил среди всех, и как не хотел отступать, и вообще какой он упрямый - то, что надо Джарре. Он своего добивается, не мытьем так катанием.
И когда выяснилось, что Джарра - инвалид, он действительно проявил себя как замечательный парень и показал, что Джарра не ошиблась, когда его выбрала.
Замечательно, что в первом отряде подобрались в напарники Джарре и Фиану хорошие ребята. Тихая, но преданная Амалия, болтун Крат, который сначала ляпает, а потом думает, и прекрасная, добрая Далмора - все такие разные, но очень дружные и горой друг за дружку. Это здорово.
Профессор Плейдон (надо же, такой молодой - а уже профессор!) поначалу напрягал своими попытками найти у Джарры в подготовке слабое место. Но когда она с честью выдержала несколько его испытаний, он очень достойно себя повел, сразу приняв Джарру как равную, а не как инвалида. К концу Плейдон меня уже просто покорил. Очень честный, заботливый, умный, благородный, внимательный... Да масс еще эпитетов. И при всем при этом: "Класс, обратите особое внимание!.. Мы, наконец, нашли что-то, чего Джарра не умеет. " )))
Еще запомнились бетанцы, Лолия и Лолмак, история которых оказалось совсем не простой, отряд археологов, друзей Плейдона, во главе с Роно, замечательная и по-настоящему заботливая про-мама Кэндис, полковник Торрек и многие-многие другие.
Замечательная история с продуманным миром и великолепным описанием необычных раскопок будущего, которая заставляет переживать за героев до последней страницы.
Profile Image for Joanne.
187 reviews11 followers
April 14, 2018
This book was a fun and imaginative story about a teen girl in the future of Earth. I became interested in it because of the theme of a handicapped girl dealing with the stigma of her situation and trying to overcome it. The story does address the issue in a sensitive way that both adults and teens will understand. The world created in the story and the characters seem to jump off the page. The pace is fast most of the time which is something I enjoyed. However, there were some parts which seemed to drag a bit for me. The ending was built up by the author and I anticipated it with a lot of suspense throughout. I have to say, the ending was a let down for me though. I will have to think about why it happened the way it did.
Profile Image for Neil (or bleed).
982 reviews749 followers
March 12, 2015
This book caught my interest without seeking my permission. The whole concept of the book, for me, is ingenious and engrossing.

The setting is, of course, futuristic, post-apocalyptic; being Earth as not the only planet that mankind can live. Yes, many planets, became the habitats of the people. And Earth was just a home for the Handicapped, an ape. This kind of setting intrigued me.

Character development for the MC is zan! Totally zan! Jarra, the MC, wants to prove herself to the 'exos' that she is not just your ordinary girl/ape. And it is amazing how the author build her character until she gets what she wants. I loved her really. Her wit, sarcasm, charm, all that. I can't stop loving her. Besides, I also enjoyed some characters especially the Team 1 where Jarra belongs. They have different amusing talents and personalities given that they came from different planet sector.

The plot of the story isn't confusing. I go with the flow. The pacing is good. I wasn't left hanging. And my imagination to picture this worked well. Although, the book revolved, somehow, with the digging and tagging or should I say, learning History. Since I'm into history, no doubt I enjoyed it. My feels are in them when they do the digging-tagging scenario; discovering something, you know.

The only problem, in my opinion, is that I didn't see any major conflict for the MC. I don't know, maybe, I can't consider what I've read conflict as a major conflict though it still gave me tension.

What I really admire with this one is the technology, superiorly, the communications technology. From portals, to lookups, to gadgets and all that. WOW! How advance. How I wish I can experience using that.

Indeed, I really enjoyed this page turner, attention catcher book. Totally AMAZ!! I'm rooting to read the second one, to know what adventure will Jarra is facing.
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,245 followers
February 26, 2014
There are twists in a book, and then there are twists! This book had such a crazy twist in the middle of it, and I loved it!

Jarra, the main character, is stuck on Earth while most people are able to travel to other planets, because she is "handicapped," like 1 in every 1,000 people. Her people are looked down upon and she has some major anger issues. Her whole goal, in the beginning of the book, is to get revenge on all of those whom have looked down upon her by enrolling in a college that is attended by those who can travel, rather than one with other "handicapped" people like herself. But, after getting to know them, she realizes that she had also been prejudiced and things get crazy - I mean, literally crazy.

The characters in the book are pretty good, and varied. The thing that I didn't really like about Jarra, at first, was her arrogance and the fact that she was too good at absolutely everything. It was annoying! But, it was interesting to see how all of the characters developed from shallow, what you might expect, to deeper people with problems like everyone else. The world building was fun, but I would have enjoyed hearing more about the other planets and hope that we do in the future books. One of the best things about the book was how easily it flowed and the interaction between the characters. The worst part, for me, was when the descriptions of the excavations went on and on a bit too long. I would rather have had those pages devoted to more interactions between the characters instead of her listing which beams or pieces of concrete she decided needed to be moved. Despite that, it was a very fun book to read and I am looking forward to the next one.
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