Seventeen-year-old Joanna Murphy is all set to being a glorious senior year, one that will climax with the realization of her dream vacation: a backpacking trip through Europe with her mom. That is, until Mom and step-dad Stan drop the baby bombshell. Joanna rages at her mother’s starry-eyed ignorance, crushed that the trip is now canceled and her senior year will now be all about the new baby. Stan has already crowded the quiet home, and once the new baby arrives, how much time will Mom have left for Joanna?
Retreating to her special place, Joanna climbs out to the rooftop of the two-story desert home, wishing her life were different. When a falling star changes course and bolts directly toward her, Joanna loses her balance and tumbles down the rooftop. She wakes in the hospital, miraculously alive and unhurt, but her life doesn’t seem spared any damage. Mom greets her, but there’s no Stan, no pregnancy, and never was as far as Joanna can tell. What does this mean?
As Joanna flounders, trying desperately to understand why things are suddenly different than she remembers before the fall, a mysterious boy approaches her with an important clue: he rescued her after the fall and healed her body.
To sci-fi geek Joanna, this is the best news ever! It wasn’t a shooting star she saw, but instead an alien. How awesome is that? Her very own visitor from outer space. Her new friend, who calls himself James, warns Joanna that he has been sent to earth on an important mission, one which will be opposed by a dangerous enemy. Joanna promises to keep James’s mission and his true nature a secret, but she can scarcely contain her excitement.
As senior year begins, Joanna continues to find pieces of her life missing or out of place. No more volleyball? Ouch. And she has the boyfriend of her dreams?! Awesome! Only, why is that not as easy as it once seemed it would be?
A determined Joanna wrestles to understand and accept this new life, but the changes continue to spiral around her. Her mother plunges into depression borne out of her loneliness, and Joanna realizes maybe she’d been selfish to resent Stan’s presence in her life so much. But how can she return her life to the state it was before?
Finally, Joanna confesses her feelings to James and he reveals the truth of his mission to her. It is a truth Joanna never expected to encounter, and one which changes everything.
Spiritual Content (Spoiler Alert)
James has a mission to save Joanna. A sci-fi fan and subscriber to the hope that life exists on other planets, Joanna believes he is an alien who has come to visit earth. She discovers he has been sent not by aliens but by God to inform her of his existence and convince her of the benevolence of his plan for her life.
James and his enemy engage in some sort of battle which mostly happens off-scene. No graphic details.
Joanna discovers several empty wine bottles and a bottle of pills left behind by her mother. Mom appears intoxicated and in need of medical attention.
Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.