Holly Farb, seventh-grade know-it-all, just lost the election for school president, but who cares about that when someone thinks you’re a princess?
While sulking over her loss, the white girl is approached on the schoolyard by three extraterrestrials who believe that she is the missing Princess of the Galaxy. When she confides this to her new classmate, gangly Chester, the two of them, along with their quirky science teacher, dark-skinned Mr. Mendez, are captured by these ETs (who are really bounty hunters) and taken clear across the galaxy. It is on this journey that Holly learns that Mr. Mendez is no stranger to space travel, as he outsources his teaching skills at the intergalactic Star Academy on the planet Tragadore VI. And, after their first narrow escape from the space pirates, Chester literally sheds his skin to introduce his nonbinary identity as blue-skinned Princess Jalya. Holly, Jalya, and Mr. Mendez encounter diverse worlds of alien beings, including very rich humans who travel freely as tourists throughout the universe. As the three attempt to make their way back to Earth, there are scores to be settled. The adventure is narrated by a snarky storytelling robot who addresses readers as “pointless human” and offers intermittent humorous observations of human behavior aimed squarely at a middle-grade audience.
An enjoyable, imaginative sci-fi debut. (Science fiction. 8-12)