Only friendship has the power to transcend time and space . . .
When six-year-old Olivia finds a glowing treasure map that only she can see, she has no idea what it means. But six years later, when a spaceship lands in the wheatfields behind the farmhouse where she lives with her dad, she discovers she has an important destiny to fulfill. She is the Princess of Blue Earth, and only she can read the map that will lead to the Black Ruby, which has the power to heal anything—including her father’s cancer.
Accompanied by a time traveler boy named Galax, she sets out on a magical and imaginative adventure that will take them to the ethereal beauty of the moon and across the wonders of space in their search for the Black Ruby. But the Black Priests also want the Ruby for nefarious reasons . . . and they’ll do anything to stop Olivia and Galax from taking it.
Olivia readily accepts the impossible, including Galax’s power to heal, a prophecy, and a treasure map. Guiding him to the Black Ruby, which will restore his waning strength. But no way could she ever be a princess. Mikheyev charts Olivia’s excitement and confusion with a first-person narration that captures both her impulsive nature and underlying compassion. He deftly uses color as an indicator of physical and emotional well-being. When Olivia and Galax enter the Invisible Ocean, a magnificent body of water floating in space, the riotous hues astound them, but as they steer toward danger, the environment becomes monochromatic, and Galax’s blue skin glows and dims with his energy levels.
Olivia & the Gentleman from Outer Space reverberates with echoes from classic fantasies of displacement, but the effect is more personal than derivative. Mikheyev uses genre conventions to present young readers with a positive vision of the jarring changes ahead: it’s only when Olivia becomes untethered from her identity as a restless, precocious kid that she can embrace her abilities. Olivia discovers that observation is a gift that opens up new worlds.
Takeaway: An introspective alien and gutsy girl team up for a mind-expanding adventure.
Great for fans of: Lee Bacon’s The Last Human, Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Jillian vs Parasite Planet, and Geoff Rodkey’s We’re Not from Here.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A-