Pyr, March 2013
Jarra is about to turn eighteen and soon she will embark on her college course. The trouble is, she wants to apply to an off-world university and teach all the norms that an ape girl can be just as good as they are. It’s not her fault she can’t leave Earth and not her fault her parents abandoned her. But when events on Earth take a dramatic turn, the norms sure are glad she’s there.
This is a young adult novel, set hundreds of years in the future. By this time, William Crane has developed the portal system, allowing humans to jump from planet to planet and colonise the galaxy. Each colony has slightly different ethos and moral code but ultimately, there is peace between humans. Jarra is a teenager that happens to be ‘handicapped’. Devoid of a critical gene that would allow her to portal between worlds, she is one of a small group that cannot ever leave Earth. But she’s passionate about history and is adept at archaeological digs by the time she’s off to college. Determined to prove herself she applies to an off-world university to study history since they spend their first year on Earth studying pre-history anyway. What starts off as a plan for petty revenge on the ‘norms’, changes dramatically when she begins to realise that they aren’t as bad as they seem. Before she can tackle their prejudices against the ‘apes’, she needs to tackle her own and make peace with her affliction.
This book is chock-full of great characters with a plot that is interesting and engaging. It was good enough that I finished it in one sitting and I wonder whether there will be any more to come as I would like to see what Jarra gets up to when she finishes her course. I think that young adults will like this title and I would definitely recommend it. Check this one out, just don’t go off planet…
Reviewed by Laura McLaughlin, March 2014.