Zoe is very much a typical teenager and that fact is one of the better parts of the story; it seems as if we’re being bombarded with stories of little girls who somehow end up being smarter than their parents, older than their years, hugely influential, and someone’s saviour, and yet although Zoe is a hero, she is still a teenage girl – she makes teenage girl decisions, has teenage girl discussions, has teenage girl relationships and has strong parents who know oh so much more than she does. She loves teenage girl music, has teenage loves and manipulates people just like a teenager would. Even as Zoe is struggling to save her family and friends, the author remains very much aware of her age, painting her realistically and not as some freaky version of an adult in a child’s body.
Yes, indeed, that was the intent: Zoë’s a smart and clever girl who still has to be her age. So I’m glad it worked for this particular reviewer. Also, I love this line: “Overall, Scalzi does a very good job of channeling his inner teenage girl… which is both awesome and weird at the same time.” Well, and think how I feel about it.
And now, to show that not every one thinks Zoe is the best book evar, an underwhelmed review at SFSignal. Someone sent me a link to it this morning and wondered if I was going to be okay with it. Well, you know. I’m the guy who did this. I think I’ll be fine. More generally, less than wonderful reviews happen to every writer, and not everything you write works equally well for everyone. There’s room for variances of opinion.