Author: Gary Ghislain
Genre: Science Fiction / YA
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Publication date: June 8 2011
Hardcover: 208 pages
David Gershwin’s summer is about to take a turn for the weird. When his dad’s new patient Zelda tells him she s from outer space and on a quest to take Johnny Depp back to her planet, he knows he should run away screaming. But with one look from her mean, green eyes, David’s hooked, and soon he’s leaping across rooftops, running from police, and stealing cars just to stay by her side. He might not be a typical hero, but David’s going to get the girl even if it takes him to the ends of the earth—or beyond.
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
How did I get this book: Review copy from the publisher
Why did I read this book: Because of the title and the premise were SO promising.
Warning: this review contains spoilers
Internets, sometimes I wonder if my funny button isn’t broken or something. I believe this book was supposed to be quirky and hilarious and yet I found it was only mildly entertaining to start with and then went to become increasingly irritating to the point where I had no choice but to introduce it to the wall of my bedroom when I was done.
But I am ahead of myself.
This is the plot in a nutshell: David Gershwin is a 14 year boy spending his summer vacation with his dad in the countryside where his father runs a clinic/retreat for criminally insane teenagers. One of his newest patients is this one girl named Zelda who showed up out of nowhere and who is adamant that:
1) she is an alien…
2) in search of her Chosen One, without whom she won’t be able to return to her planet…and
3) her Chosen One is Johnny Depp.
David is deeply attracted to Zelda’s green mean eyes, even as he doesn’t believe her claims and damn it, she can’t prove that she is an Alien right now, because she is suffering of Space Flop or something and can’t Space Splash in front of him. [1. Mind you, she has her own language but for some unfathomable reason, ridiculous terms like Space Flop and Space Splash are part of her language] Then Zelda manages to get away and to convince David that she is in fact an Alien and the two go after Johnny Depp. The clock is ticking, some other girls from her planet show up and ugh, Zelda and David fall in love.
I will start with the good: the beginning of the novel was actually quite entertaining especially when it was not clear whether Zelda was an alien or not. The is she-isn’t she kept me and David wondering. In fact, this novel had the trappings of a wonderful contemporary novel about a delusional girl and the boy who fell in love with her. Not only that but the relationship between David and his power-hungry, violent mother was all kinds of wonderful – in a really sad way, of course. There was one scene where his mother is drunk and she slaps him to the point of drawing blood and David remains so loyal to the woman, it is nearly heartbreaking.
But alas, this is not a contemporary novel, it is a Science Fiction Screwball Comedy (or at least it tries to be) and it must be read and understood by those parameters.
It turns out that Zelda is an alien from the planet Vahalal. In her planet there are only women – all scantily clad, tattooed warriors who abhor men, except when it comes the time to mate which is when they must find their Chosen Ones. For some reason I can’t explain, more often than not, the Chosen Ones turn out to be earthlings even if most, if not all Vahalalians loathe Earth. Anyways, Zelda runs around in a bikini (of course), kicking butt, being generally awesome and David falls in love with her. But she can’t fall in love with him, oh no, because Love is a Sin as proclaimed by their Goddess Zook who is an incarnation of Our Lady Mary. She is determined to find Johnny Depp because she NEEDS to pass on the key to the portal to his planet to him (via sexual intercourse) which is the only way that she has to go back to the planet. On their way to locate Johnny Depp’s whereabouts, the come across a group of Vahalal dissidents who have become stranded in our little planet after not being able to find their Chosen One – and the majority of these women feel they have not fulfilled their lives and feel pretty sour about men in general.
Let us think about this for a moment: there is a civilisation of kick-ass female warriors out there who according to a Goddess MUST find their Chosen Ones (always male, from what I could gather) to mate. If not they might lose their lives and can never go back home because there is a portal which can ONLY be found/open by the male they mate with. Sorry, I think that there is no amount of screwball comedy that will make this funny to me.
And then of course, there is the fact that these girls are not supposed to be feel anything EVER according to the precepts of their religion but of course, they have the potential to feel and fall in love with people but it never happens between two girls back in their planet, course not. It happens when they meet a man or rather when Zelda meets David. Now, ok, I can totally get why a 14 year old boy would fall in love with such an amazing creature, she is the epitome of a young boy’s wet dream. I do NOT get why Zelda, who by the way IS A 325 YEAR OLD WARRIOR/DOCTOR WOULD FALL FOR A YOUNG, CHILDISH BOY.
Folks, I can’t begin to express how that totally, totally creeped me out.
The ending was a mess of galactic proportions with people running in and out of the portal, going to a different planet without any real repercussions, things not being solved and then Zelda remaining on earth with David, who dreams about being together forever, amen. Wall meets book, the end.
It didn’t work for me as it wasn’t my favourite brand of funny. Well, scrap that because actually, it wasn’t really my brand of anything that it was supposed to be. Your mileage may vary.
Notable Quotes/ Parts: You can read the first few pages here to see if the writing works for you.
Rating: It is really hard to rate this one. Although I had several problems and ultimately it didn’t work for me, it could work for others who are looking to have fun with a screwball comedy type of book. Plus, I did enjoy the beginning of the book so….
4 – Bad but not without some merit
Reading Next: Spinning Out by David Stahler Jr.