The Half-Life of Planets
Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin
FROM THE COVER:
Liana is a girl with a reputation. She’s also an aspiring planetary scientist. So one summer Liana, the kissing addict, decides to conduct an experiment. She’s going to refrain from locking lips and use her mouth for talking instead. She’s pretty sure it will be easy. That is, until Hank comes along.
Hank is a boy with Asperger’s syndrome. He’s funny – sometimes without intending to be – and more than a little awkward. So he can tell you all about bands called Love and Kiss, but not about loving or kissing. He also may have difficulty closing his mouth long enough to kiss anyone.
My rating: 5 stars.
A true page turner: Franklin and Halpin create perfect balance between entertainment and insight. Yes, perfect.
Liana is, surprisingly, far from the one dimensional “Smart & Pretty Girl” Mary Sue you might peg her to be. There’s more to her than brains and being a kissing addict; it takes a short while for that to become apparent, but in the end, it makes sense. It fits her just right. She’s the character you want to hate but can’t, because she recognizes her own flaws – she just doesn’t know how to correct them, or if she wants to. And you can’t help but give her credit.
On the other end of the character spectrum, there’s Hank. You can’t help but adore him. He’s comic relief, but also genuinely funny and straightforward – whether he means to be or not. He’s incredibly different in comparison to the male main characters in other novels, but in the best possible way. His personality is transferred from the pages to the reader. Essentially, Hank is more than a character; he may as well be real. True to himself and his quirks, he’s the one to admire.
The writing relies heavily on the dialogue, and less on description, but it works. The dialogue is both sharp and fun. And frankly, while the plot works nicely, Liana and Hank are so likable, real, and overall a great duo, that I feel as though I wouldn’t mind reading about any specific event, so long as they’re both involved.
Bottom line is, The Half-Life of Planets is a great new novel, with vivid, unforgettable characters and a plot that - although predictable - allows them to shine.