Aaaand... this is a different type of YA novel. Another type that I like. There are no superheroes coming to terms with their newfound powers in it (except metaphorically), we are not living in a dystopic landscape (except metaphorically - the setting is mostly Paris), and there is no grief (not even metaphorically).
Instead we have an introverted, buttoned-down teenage boy who meets a fierce, wild-eyed girl, falls instantly in love, and is swept along by her insane momentum until he finds himself dog-bit, tattooed, guilty of criminal trespass, and listening to unfamiliar music.
Could be Elizabethtown, with that plot, right? Could be Paper Towns or I Love You, Beth Cooper. Could be frickin' Pride and Prejudice! Let's face it - Free-Spirited Girl Removes Stick from Boy's Ass is hardly the newest plot to emerge from the plot pit.
And it's not just the plot that is familiar, either. That wild-eyed girl claims to be an alien named Zelda from the all-girl planet Vahalal, where the warriors are called Valks and they worship a goddess named Zook. These 1960's B-movie proper nouns are so silly that they actually prevent the other characters from believing Zelda's story, not that they were likely to in the first place. IN ADDITION: supposedly Zelda's species has perfected their DNA, which is why she looks like a teenage supermodel, prefers to dress like Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element, and has hair by Barbarella's stylist.
But this book is like a really proficient marching band ripping a new variation on, like, "Spanish Caravan." You thought you knew this song, you thought it was old-fashioned and lugubrious, but the way these collegiate sonsabitches are sashaying double-time around the field, you find yourself on your feet wiggling your hips before you realize what you're doing.
Gary Ghislain - and what, we're French here? Is that why everybody's yelling at each other and smoking and the reader is supposed to know what a vintage Paco Rabanne bikini looks like? Well ok. I'll buy that. I wish I could find a picture of a vintage Paco Rabanne bikini ANYWHERE on the Internet so that adolescent boys could slobber on the idea of this book, but whatever. I'm sure originally Gary Ghislain proposed a Rudi Gernreich bathing suit but thought better of it. (Slobber on that, you adolescent yabbos!)
Anyway, Gary Ghislain takes these familiar, beloved, stupid, trite, campy plot elements and details and has written them up like we're in The Bourne Identity. With narration by the MST3000 guys. This book has the speed and swagger and discipline of that proficient 100-piece marching band - a marching band from a historically black university, 'cause it's cool, too - on a VERY GOOD DAY.
See? Outrageous! Original! Sharp! And don't you think those young ladies must be cold, dressed like that? Brr!
I've already spoiled enough. Now I just say get it, it'll come out in May. It's funny and super-fast and weird and I love all the characters - even the superbitch Mom - and the hero gets the crap kicked out of him but I never feel sorry for him, which is kind of quite a trick.