Cricket and her family, escape their dying planet, to travel across the cosmos, seeking a new place to live. Eventually they crash land in the Mojave Desert of California and near the tiny desert community of Prickly Pear. During the many millennia of their epic journey through interstellar space they have been in suspended animation and their bodies have been transformed from their Lizard-like originals to human form. Cricket, is a typical teenage girl – angry and rebellious about the subterfuge her parents used to trick her into leaving their home, she is determined not to fit into the small community of Prickly Pear. In A Girl Named Cricket, by Peter J Manos we see the Sminth family slowly warm their way into the hearts and minds of the Prickly Pear residents, despite the almost unanimous opinion that these newcomers are probably Russian spies come to spy on nearby Andrews Air Force Base. Throw in a renegade bikie gang terrorizing the small town and we have the makings of an exciting Young Adult adventure.
Approaching A Girl Named Cricket, by Peter J Manos, from the perspective of his intended audience, i.e. young adults, this story is a lot of fun and told with considerable humour, irony and a touch of pathos. I particularly enjoyed the characters, who were typical of the inhabitants of any small town, where everyone knows everyone else’s business. Both Tom and Cricket came across as troubled characters who were just seeking their identity in a world neither felt comfortable with, although for very different reasons. This is a fun story that also manages to poke the borax at some of the current day happenings, which it does with gentle humour. The constant reference to “aliens” as referred specifically to undocumented Mexican workers was a clever construct by the author. I think this book really does hit the mark for its young adult audience. It has romance, action, and that innate fear of authority that often can drive rebelliousness in teenagers. It is an excellent read that I highly recommend.