A white teenage boy must decide if the strange girl he’s falling for is an extraterrestrial in this sophomore effort by the author of The Leaving Season (2016).
Matty Jones’ life is upended when his alien-obsessed father suddenly abandons the family. His grief is tempered by the discovery of a brown-skinned, white-haired girl named Priya in the field behind his rural Pennsylvania home. The ground is rumored to be the site of a past UFO crash, and Priya claims she is an alien who will soon be catching a ride back to her planet. Matty is doubtful, but that doesn’t stop him from introducing Priya to all the wonders of Earth, including roller coasters, swimming, and, of course, sex. But he worries about Priya’s severe headaches, which she chalks up to gravity sickness. It takes some time (readers who know that Priya is a fairly common Indian name will be way ahead of him), but finally Matty is forced to confront the truth about both Priya’s situation and his feelings about his father. While Jordan’s predictable, Starman-esque story is executed in boilerplate prose (“Take your bullshit frustrations out on some other chump. Not me” and “That is not the tone to take with me this morning” are typical exchanges) the tragic, touching ending is memorable. Secondary characters Brian and Emily Aoki are Japanese-American siblings.
Shoots for the stars; doesn’t quite make it. (Fiction. 12-15)