Remember what it was like to fall in love as a teen? The obsession? The inability to think about anything else? Interpreting every word, gesture and pause?
Well 14-year-old David Gershwin embodies those feelings. He just happens to be in love with Zelda, one of his psychiatrist father’s patients, in How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain. “She’s pretty in a scary sort of way,” according to David. “Like something you’d really like to touch but that will probably bite.” Zelda insists she’s from the planet Vahalal, and she’s on a mission to find her “chosen one” and bring him back with her. When she points him out on the Internet it’s… Johnny Depp.
Haven’t we all felt that the object of our obsession is from another planet? Or is Zelda schizophrenic (though the hero’s father insists, “No one is ever crazy, David”)? But then how do you explain her superhuman strength to slip out of unbreakable handcuffs and her talent for Space Splashing (“the ability to be at two points in space at the same time”)? David’s in love, and he sees what he wants to see, so as readers, we do, too.
The strength of Ghislain’s story is that he defines David’s psyche well, and because we never leave David’s head, we’re as invested in his mission to win over Zelda as David is. Zelda’s superhero attributes and David’s funny and obsessive viewpoint will hold the attention of even teens who don't think of themselves as readers.
This original take on an all-consuming crush will appeal to guys for its comics-humor quotient, and to girls because of Zelda’s feminist stance (and superhuman strength). Will the nerdy boy win over the otherworldly beauty? Read on and find out.