A teen’s predestined true love is an alien plant-boy, and her refugee spaceship needs to land on his hostile planet.
Sixteen-year-old Terra grew up on a generation ship that’s traveled for 500 years to reach the planet Zehava and colonize it (Starglass, 2013). But for months, Terra’s dreamed of a boy who lives there already, and her dreams are correct: Zehava has inhabitants. Stealing a shuttle and crash-landing on the planet, she learns Zehava’s perils: massive carnivores and two intelligent, humanoid species who consider humans to be beasts. As an insecure teen who grows into a leader, Terra’s a character with strength and agency. Her romance, however, is all about destiny. Her bashert (true love) is Vadix, a bright blue, bipedal extraterrestrial who’s biologically a plant, and their love, which has nothing whatsoever to do with knowing each other, is portrayed as absolute. The purple, overwritten romance (“He said my name…two syllables so ripe they dripped juice down onto the metal ground below”) is pure wish-fulfillment: Although he’s a widower, Vadix tells Terra, post-sex, “I was fallow until tonight.” His body changes color due to her love. Psychic human/extraterrestrial communication tips the genre toward fantasy, but the outer-space setting and quandaries are science fiction.
While the refugee issues are deep and Terra’s solutions, inventive and wise, this is really for fans of destiny romance. (Science fiction/romance. 12-16)