Of Jenny and the Aliens
by Ryan Gebhart
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 1, 2017
When boy meets girl meets alien, the angst of first love gets an extraterrestrial intervention in a tale both outrageously funny and full of heart.
Ten years after Earth sent messages out into deep space, there has been an answer. Music from a distant planet has reached the world’s radios. Are aliens about to invade? No one knows, and almost-eighteen-year-old Derek doesn’t really care, because at a wild end-of-the-world party, Jennifer Novak invited him to play beer pong, and things, well, progressed from there. Derek is in love. Deeply, hopelessly in love. He wants it all — marriage, kids, growing old on a beach in Costa Rica. For him, Jenny is the One. But Jenny has other plans, which may or may not include Derek. So Derek will try anything to win her — even soliciting advice from an alien who shows up in his hometown. This alien may just be the answer to Derek’s problem, but is Derek prepared to risk starting an interstellar war to get his girl? Just how far is he willing to travel to discover the mysteries of the universe — and the enigma of love?
Okay, it’s not secret if you follow my blog, I love me some supernatural creatures – especially the mythological kind that people love to hunt for on stupid reality shows. You’ve got Finding Bigfoot and ridiculous ghost shows and…aliens. ALIENS ARE SO COOL TOO, and they have the best encounter stories. So, of course, I was looking forward to another alien book (especially after my other YA one didn’t go so well earlier this summer), and I’m so glad to tell you that that it ended up working out great!
I will say that the humor is a bit…out there (OMG, I JUST HAD TO STICK IN THAT PUN THERE. SEE WHAT I DID. I EVEN DRAMATIC PAUSED). The humor may not be for everyone, but there were some good humorous moments that I did really enjoy. This is a coming of age comedy, and I mean, we’re meeting aliens with a teenage guy. There’s bound to be some comedy especially when Derek gets beamed up. It’s definitely more than a bit spicier form humor than the cutesy one I was expecting nor the usual humor I go with; however, I thought that it gave the humor a very realistic feel and something really different than anything out there in YA right now. Imagine 80s movies with a slightly more mature vibe. 😉
I liked the characters quite well. Derek has a nerdy side to him, and of course, I love me some nerdy main characters. Have I mentioned how much I love me some nerdy characters? Jenny and our lovely alien friend were great as well. The ship was a lot of fun, of course, with alien intervention a nice touch. 😉
The plot was interesting as well. I mean, here’s Derek all in love with our Jenny and then BAM! Beamed up by an alien, and tries to get advice from him? I mean, he’s with Jenny at the end of the world party – who cares about aliens and them possibly taking over the world? I found this premise so enjoyable, and to me, it kind of did play a little with a trope of love in YA being first and foremost, and I thought that was brilliant.
ALIENS. I also thought that Gebhart did such a good job with creating a unique alien. Trust me when I say that the alien is unlike anything out there in space we’ve seen – which I thought was fun because I mean, how do really make aliens – who have been done before – in a unique way.
Overall, this was a very interesting novel. I was supposed to share some of my favorite quotes in this post, but the truth was I was a bit too engrossed in the novel to actually remember to highlight quotes that I found entertaining (they are coming later tonight when I can get home and add them in because I’m a major silly goose)- which I took as a good sign. I did have a bit of disconnection with it, and certain things did have me raising my eyebrows. But I mean, ALIENS, and I definitely think Gebhart has a bright future in the YA game. This was a unique coming of age story, and I think Gebhart turned something very promising into a solid novel that definitely was super easy to take down in two sittings. A Jasmine rating because…there was a whole new world in here (OMG, SEE, I DID IT AGAIN. OMG I’M A ROLL), and four crowns!
Also, I totally forgot to mention: DEREK’S FAVORITE MOVIE IS THE LION KING AND JENNY’S IS SNOW WHITE AND OMG. I CAN’T HANDLE IT.
I took my quotes from the earlier parts of the novel, so no spoilers! ❤
“We had our moment. We played one game of beer pong, and that’s the end of our story. But that’s how it always is: every girl I like ends up with someone else.”
“I say, ‘Who do you think you are? Some sort of wizard?’
‘Yeah. I do.’ She gets into an attack stance with a devilish smile, holding her staff like a sword. ‘Hi-yah!’
‘That’s not what wizards say. They say things like, ‘You shall not pass.'”
OMG. THIS IS SO ME. So much perfection, Derek.
“Joel (Jenny’s dad) says, ‘You see, we should’ve been hosts. If I was throwing an alien party, it only makes sense to play their music.”
(SO MUCH LOGIC. But literally me. So much me. I would have busted out the boom box to give them logical music.)
Ryan Gebhart is the author of the middle-grade novel There Will Be Bears, about which Publishers Weekly said in a starred review, “Fully developed characters, complex and realistic relationships . . . and a spot-on narrative voice . . . make this story stand out. About Of Jenny and the Aliens, the author says, “This book is about first love and discovering that we’re not alone in the universe, and how maybe those two things aren’t that different from each other.” Ryan Gebhart lives in Ohio.
His debut young adult Of Jenny and the Aliens, about first love and discovering that we’re not alone in the universe, will be released Spring 2017 with Candlewick Press.
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