Teen pregnancy is never easy—especially not when extraterrestrials are involved. The first in a new trilogy that’s part Juno and part Aliens.
In this futuristic comedy/adventure, first in the Ever-Expanding Universe tri logy, Leicht and Neal introduce the most unlikely of protagonists: unwed 16-year-old mother-to-be Elvie Nara. Abandoned by the baby's father, Elvie ends up in space, at the newly founded Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers, a repurposed low-orbit cruise liner. Three weeks before Elvie's due date, her life explodes when the ship is boarded by a group of extremely hot guys who rescue the teen moms from the suddenly homicidal school faculty. Now Elvie and her schoolmates are caught between two feuding alien races, with their unborn children at stake. The fast-paced action, laugh-out-loud moments, and memorable characters don't quite disguise that this is a story about aliens knocking up girls without their knowledge, and not everyone gets out alive. The slangy narrative voice is more 2004 than 2074 ("How can an emergency exit door be locked? thinks Elvie. "Not cool, Hanover School. So not cool"), but it's still a whole lot of fun. Ages 12 up.
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Very well-written and seriously funny. Highly recommend!
Trying Too Hard to be Alien
When I saw the description of this book on iTunes, I thought it was a promising premise. Yet as I delved into the book, my disappointment began. The story takes off in first person present tense, which is a hard tense to pull off well in the first place, and then adds flashbacks within new chapters still utilizing the first person present tense. While the chapter title gave an indication there was going to be a flashback, it was still jarring. If there is a flashback, it is strange to use first person present to describe it. In the fiction I have read, Alice Munro has been the most successful in incorporating flashbacks without them feeling awkward or contrived. Maybe if the flashbacks were handled differently, then I would have enjoyed the story more.
As is, the story fell flat and followed a linear path with how the story would end. Even with the preview of the next book, I am not compelled to purchase it. Some of the inner monologue and dialogue doesn't mesh up with the characters and I didn't feel much of an attachment to any of them. All of them seemed shallow in their wants and lacked much character depth. Perhaps if the primary character was given more of a backbone and more of a purpose, then there would be more of a connection.
What really disappointed me was that one of the authors has an MFA in creative writing. I don't know if some aspects of world building in first person weren't discussed or if her colleagues gleaned over their critiques in workshops. I expected more and it tried too hard to be weird and different. Rely on the natural conventions of scifi and don't doubt that young adults/teenagers understand the terminology you present them.