Transfer Student by Laura A.H. Elliott
Release Date: March 29, 2012
Reading level: Young Adult
Rhoe and Ashley would never be friends.
Even if they lived on the same planet.
But, they’ll become so much more.
Earthling Ashley’s world revolves around winning daily popularity contests at Beverly Hills High School and surfing competitions with sweet scholarship prizes that will finally help her break free of her control-freak mother. Ashley never loses. Ashley never wishes on stars. But that changes when her senior class takes a field trip to the Griffith Observatory where conflicting feelings about her predatory best frenemy Tiffany causes Ashley to throw away her own carefully-crafted Queen of B.H.H.S. title under the bus.
Meanwhile on planet Retha, Rhoe misses his dad, loves his mom’s home-cooked Glechy crag with a side of ory sauce, is desperate to heal his sick brother and wants more than anything to win The Retha New Invention Competition. He and his best friend Yuke have worked for the past two years constructing the teleporting telescope Rhoe started building with his dad before he died in an airboarding accident. Rhoe’s never kissed a girl. Rhoe’s hero is the eccentric physicist, Ramay. But that changes when the telescope teleports Rhoe across the universe with an unintended side effect, Ashley and Rhoe transfer. They swap lives when they make the same wish at the same time.
Popular-surfer-turned-boy-geek alien Ashley must handle life on Retha as Rhoe complete with webbed feet, low-gravity, and an obsession with Yuke, all the while being hunted by Rethan spies and resenting her hairy, flat chest. Boy-geek-turned-popular-surfer Rhoe must fit in at Beverly Hills High School as Ashley, compete in The Laguna Beach Invitational without becoming shark food, dodge boys’ affections, cool his preoccupation with Tiffany and his new body, and find the healing rocks he believes will save his brother’s life.
If only it were that simple. Some wishes can’t come true. Some have to.
-- from Goodreads.com
Transfer Student starts off almost sleepily & sort of meanders it's way into the action. There was almost an alien feel to the Earth described in the first few chapters surrounding Ashley. I can't pinpoint exactly why that was but perhaps it was merely foreign to me to be in the inner circle with the supposed "in crowd" as they wildly hurtled themselves through drugs & sexual references while on a field trip. That Ashley behaved so masculine with regard to her sexual desires & daydreams that made me instantly dislike her. I think her cavalier & careless attitude toward it was unattractive. But she didn't stay unattractive long.
Rhoe struck me as more naive & juvenile than Ashley. I felt his personality & thoughts were more age appropriate & his dedication to his family was honorable. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to see both his world & our world through his eyes. Sometimes I laughed out loud reading how he viewed things like cars & drinking water once he & Ashley had swapped bodies across the universe. I appreciated his side of the story by far more than Ashley's but Ashley did eventually grow on me too. There was some good depth & character growth among the two protagonists that I felt was handled very nicely & realistically.
Both the world we know & the alien world of Retha were brilliantly painted. It felt very tactile & relatable whether we were surfing the waves in LA or gliding through the air toward the divide between Retha & the Other Side. And once the story really got going, it was a pretty fun read. I did roll my eyes every so often at the gratuitous topic of sex/sensuality in all its various states & I feel I would have given this 4 stars if that part of the narrative had been largely absent. I do understand that hormonal teens finding themselves in the body of the opposite sex would be quite the sensory overload but I felt there was so much more that could be explored outside of that.
Transfer Student was a very interesting read. It's not meant for younger readers but belongs with more mature readers. The entire idea behind this book is fascinating & I would definitely look forward to more books in this world/series if the focus is slightly shifted.
About the Author:
Laura loves writing about enchanted road trips, birthday gifts that are out of this world, and alien romance while eating lots of popcorn. She lives with her hubby, and dog Oso, in their tree house on the coast of central California not far from her two grown daughters who love climbing trees as much as their mom. Laura is the author of Winnemucca, a small-town fairy tale inspired by her life-long love of a little-known town, Avenal, CA, and her equal love of enchanted teenage road trips. 13 on Halloween is the first book in the Teen Halloween Series. Laura’s next book, Transfer Student, a YA sci-fi romance, will be released in March of 2012. 14 on Halloween, book 2 in the Teen Halloween series, will be released in the summer of 2012.
Find Laura Elsewhere:
Laura's Blog | Twitter