From School Library Journal
Grade 8 Up-This highly entertaining Australian novel is an unusual mixture of genres: time travel, comedic mystery thriller, and realistic portrayal of familial and alien relationships. Surprisingly, it works extremely well entirely due to the fact that the main character is so perfectly drawn. Joss Aaronson, 18, is an independent, spirited, and feisty young woman with a sarcastic mouth. She rarely sees her mother, a famous newscaster. Joss was conceived via a gene donor: "Straight from the petri dish to you." She's been expelled from several boarding schools and is close to expulsion from a prestigious university program in time-travel studies. For the first time, an alien from another planet has been admitted, and Joss is his study partner and roommate. A wicked harmonica player, she is intrigued that Mavkel's species communicates by harmonizing through song. His twin has died and he will, too, if he doesn't find someone with whom to join minds. He chooses Joss, although to help him, she needs to find out who her father was. Thus, the partners embark on a dangerous, illegal journey back in time. The plot and characterizations are well done; the book has lots of action, witty dialogue, and pop-culture references, and sensitively portrays complicated relationships between a mother and daughter, and members of different cultures. This book is more inventive than Mary Logue's Dancing with an Alien (HarperCollins, 2000) and, unlike M. T. Anderson's Feed (Candlewick, 2002), the tone of the made-up language is meant to be funny. While easy to decipher, the language is a bit crude. This intriguing and exciting read has lots of teen appeal.
Sharon Rawlins, Piscataway Public Library, NJ
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 7-12. Daughter of a sperm donor and a mother who is a famous newscaster, Joss is a wild, fun-loving girl who plays the harmonica. She's also a student of time travel at the Centre for Neo-Historical Studies. Her life turns upside down when Mavkel, the first Chorian to visit Earth, comes to study time travel and selects Joss to be his roommate and study partner. The partnership puts a crimp in Joss' usual freewheeling lifestyle, but she finds plenty of excitement and danger with Mavkel, including meeting an assassin and a confrontation with an anti-alien lobby group. In addition, she's fascinated with Mavkel's heritage, especially with the fact that the Chorians are a harmonizing species of twins who communicate through song. When Mavkel becomes ill and ends up on the brink of death, Joss has to break the center's strictest rule and go back in time to save her alien friend. This wildly entertaining novel successfully mixes adventure, humor, mystery, and sf into a fast-paced, thrilling story that will appeal to a wide audience. Ed Sullivan
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