Girl on Fire
School for Extraterrestrial Girls #1
by Jeremy Whitley
* * * * Stars (Great!)
Tara Smith has a very carefully regimented life and plans to keep her head down and get through high school so she can achieve her dreams of heading into space. But after missing her alarm one morning, her day snowballs out of control, culminating in her self-immolating, passing out, and waking up in the custody of agents who claim she is an extraterrestrial. After removing the devices that hide her true nature, Tara is faced with her true self – she’s a flaming lizard. Her choices are limited – she can choose to be sent “home” to a planet and people she’s never known, or she can stay on Earth as part of its alien expatriat community and attend a special school for extraterrestrial girls. It’s a no-brainer for Tara who has yet to come to grips with her true identity. Her roommates are welcoming, but Tara has some issues getting to know them – she’s never had real friends before, so she’s awkward and unintentionally rude. Just as she’s finding her way, the headmistress outs her and this puts even more stress on some of her relationships. When one of her roommates disappears, Tara becomes concerned. Is this all her fault?
There are so many aliens among us! It’s interesting to learn about all of the different species/races attending the extraterrestrial school for girls. There’s some legitimate drama too, as they make discoveries about themselves and develop – in Tara’s case especially – some very essential social skills. At the end, they’re set to join up with the extraterrestrial school for boys (where I’m sure all kinds of hijinks will ensue). Entertaining and fun with some serious content about friendship and acceptance.
Reviewed by YA Librarian