I’m always in the mood for imaginative middle grade books with plucky female leads, so when the invitation to the blog tour of #galaxygirl dropped into my inbox, I was really excited! This is a fun space alien romp with a heart of gold, and I enjoyed it immensely.
Book: #galaxygirl by Bev Smith
Read before: No
Ownership: Paperback provided by author for fair review – all opinions my own.
You hate school. Your family is beyond annoying. Your only friend comes from a different planet, and she’s about to leave.
What’s a girl to do?
Fed up with life on Earth, Esme stows away on the spaceship taking Stella back to Planet Kratos.
So begins Esme’s adventure into a world beyond the stars. A world of strange creatures, thrilling journeys, heroic rescues and instant fame.
Oh, and school. Lots of school.
Along the way she discovers that friends may be greener on the other side, but they still can’t be trusted.
Millions and billions of light years away from Earth, she sets in motion a plan to escape. Unfortunately for her, they aren’t about to let their prize exhibit leave anytime soon…
I was surprised to find that the whole book is written as a series of blog posts which Esme, our main character is writing. She’s hoping that her mum will find this blog, and so she addresses her mum throughout, which adds a real sense of Esme’s emotional situation right from the get-go. Her home life isn’t happy, and you get an almost tangible sense of Esme’s frustration through her descriptions of the situation – but there’s also this sense of acceptance that’s a little bit heartbreaking. She’s sure she isn’t her mum’s priority. This is great set up for how easily Esme is convinced to run away.
Esme’s voice takes a little while to get used to, as she has some very unique ways of phrasing things, but this does settle down after the first couple of chapters/blog posts. To be honest, my own first forays into blogging as a teen were probably overwritten until I learned to sound more natural, so this didn’t bother me as much as it could have. The aliens, too, each have their own fashion of speaking English, which is mostly played for laughs. Esme’s friend Stella speaks like she swallowed a dictionary (which is lampshaded in the text!), and while this was amusing to me, I think that for some children it might really slow down their reading while they try to work out what she’s saying. I think whether or not they enjoy that will depend very much on the child!
The alien world which Esme is thrown into is so entertaining – you can tell that there’s a wealth of world-building here, of which we are only shown the relevant bits. I’d love to see more of the alien geography, biology, and history (but then I’m a big nerd for fictional worlds!). What we do see is obviously framed through Esme’s astonished eyes, and her enthusiasm and wonder is infectious! I did like seeing how quickly everything became normal to her – and it made me laugh that she still had to go to alien school!
Avoiding spoilers, all I can really say about the latter part of the book is that the aliens who welcome Esme are not quite what they seem, and there’s an ulterior motive lurking underneath their kind exterior. It’s a really fantastic twist to an already enjoyable book, and it helps introduce a more emotional aspect to Esme that I think was very necessary (so it doesn’t look like she’s just abandoned her family – even the Little Mermaid had doubts about leaving home!). The ending of the book is very satisfying and cute, and left me smiling as I turned the final page. Four out of five cats from me! You can pick up #galaxygirl on Amazon.
There’s also an awesome giveaway as part of this tour. You could win 2 x #galaxygirl Mugs and a signed copy of #galaxygirl (UK Only)!
Just click here to enter!
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome
Please enter using the Rafflecopter link above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Bev Smith has been a secondary school teacher, saleswoman, waitress, wages clerk, youth worker and holiday park entertainments manager. She has scuba dived the Barrier Reef, lived in a village in Namibia, worked for a charity in Thailand, flown over Victoria Falls and paddled in the sea at Bournemouth.
Having single-parented her three daughters, she’s been ferociously playing catch up with this writing lark. She recently completed a Masters in Writing for Children at Winchester University. #galaxygirl is her debut middle-grade book. You can get in touch with her on Twitter or Facebook.
And last but not least, don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour!