…with a godawful cover and title. ARRRGH! This is a magical little slice of existence, but one would never know that based upon the generic title and messy cover art. Honestly, had I not been introduced without the cover, I can’t say that I would have picked it up!
Adina enters our world at the same moment that Voyager (that of Carl Sagan’s Golden Record) leaves this very same world. There’s some sort of transference of energy and matter; one magical thing leaves and another joins us on earth.
Adina is an alien. At least, she thinks she is. She believes from the time that she is a very young child that it is her job to report back to “her superiors” about what it means to be “human”. She writes these reports out and files them away with diligence. How, exactly does she do this? With a fax machine that was rescued from curbside trash, of course!
Adina’s mother is fierce and dedicated woman- she absolutely cannot leave a perfectly fine fax machine sitting in the gutter. Adina plugs it in, sends her observations out and…gets a response. From who? From where? For real? Who knows!
It’s tempting to get bogged down in the mystery of “well, is she an alien or isn’t she?”. I really don’t think the distinction matters; being a teenager is the most alien thing that I can think of. Existing and observing is strange for everyone, not just those who were beamed here from space. I’m *fairly* sure that I’m not an alien, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel the same kind of alienation and wonder as Adina; she may be ten years my senior, but I know the punch of learning a dance routine with the “cool” kids, of shopping in the beyond-discount-graveyard with my headstrong mother, or going on a walk with a boy that is going to turn into something far stranger than just a walk.
Being a human is an odd and lovely experience, and I am glad that Adina (Marie-Helen Bertino, really) is such an intrepid and open explorer.