Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
I don’t read a lot of science fiction and this is not a perfect book--for one thing the main character is maybe a little bit of a good-at-everything Mary Sue--but the story held me enthralled anyway. I love the several hundred years in the future setting when most of humanity is living in off-planet settlements, I love the details about the different cultures of those settlements and their thoroughly thought out histories, and I could not help loving the overly talented Jarra because she’s full of enthusiasm and has some very big challenges.
Since most humans now reside in one of the many off-planet colonies connected by easily traversed portals, people like Jarra with an immune system that only allows them to live on Earth are considered handicapped, and rudely referred to as “apes”--a fact that Jarra knows well because she watches the same “vids” (TV-like shows) as any other teenager in the galaxy. Like most of the “handicapped” Jarra was abandoned by her parents and portaled to Earth moments after her birth to save her life. She’s been raised in a compassionate but institutional setting and now that it is time for her to attend a university she’d like to pull one over on the “exos” or “norms” (people who live off Earth) by attending one of their universities undercover, using a fake military family background.
Jarra loves history, and since the study of human history necessarily involves time on Earth, Jarra gets herself into the first year Earth program of a university based in the Gamma colony. She’s already had some experience in the dangerous but exciting dig sites of New York City’s ruins, so compared to her other classmates she’s a superstar. Those classmates were supposed to be her enemies, but her plan to shock them by revealing her true identity gets complicated when, against her better judgement, she makes friends and falls in love.
Though Earth Girl has that Mary Sue issue I mentioned, a coincidence that weakens the plot credibility a little, and some info dumping written as lengthy passages of dialog, I’ve still rated it 5 stars. Why? Because I love it anyway. There are more perfectly written books that don’t hold my interest at all, but in spite of minor flaws Earth Girl captivated me. I read every word of those fascinating info dumping passages, and the Mary Sue quality of the story is, counter-intuitively, less irritating because it is written in the first person and Jarra doesn’t brag or see herself as exceptional. I read a library copy of the book, but bought it anyway because I knew I’d want to read and refer to it again, especially before its sequel comes out.