Of Jenny and the Aliens

Ryan Gebhart. Candlewick, $17.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-7636-8845-5
Aliens from Alpha Centauri have made first contact, and everyone on Earth is on edge. But amid fears that it’s the end of the world, 17-year-old Derek is focused on his crush, Jenny, who has just noticed that he’s alive (and helped him lose his virginity after a wild party). As these two storylines intertwine, the juxtaposition of Derek’s dizzying rush into first love and a potential alien invasion touches off some of the same base instincts in Gebhart’s characters. Derek’s odd behavior—and his insistence that he has met one of the aliens—spurs an intervention from a therapist, but Gebhart (There Will Be Bears) doesn’t reach for easy answers or truths. It’s up to readers to decide whether Derek’s visit to the distant Centaurian planet is real or imagined, in the same way that his obsession with Jenny (who isn’t remotely interested in the kind of serious relationship that Derek wants) and the nature of the Centaurians themselves can’t be wholly quantified or understood. Ages 16–up. Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/07/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 380 pages - 978-1-4328-6442-2
Library Binding - 978-1-4328-6308-1
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