Mothership (Ever-Expanding Universe #1)
Elvie Nara was doing just fine in the year 2074. She had a great best friend, a dad she adored, and bright future working on the Ares Project on Mars. But then she had to get involved with sweet, gorgeous, dumb-as-a-brick Cole--and now she’s pregnant.
Getting shipped off to the Hanover School for Expecting Teen Mothers was not how Elvie imagined spending her junior year, but she can go with the flow. That is, until a team of hot commandos hijacks the ship--and one of them turns out to be Cole. She hasn’t seen him since she told him she’s pregnant, and now he’s bursting into her new home to tell her that her teachers are aliens and want to use her unborn baby to repopulate their species? Nice try, buddy. You could have just called.
So fine, finding a way off this ship is priority number one, but first Elvie has to figure out how Cole ended up as a commando, work together with her arch-nemesis, and figure out if she even wants to be a mother--assuming they get back to Earth in one piece.
Mothership came highly recommended from a number of highly trustworthy sources, but, I have to admit, I had a healthy dose of skepticism about me ever being able to appreciate it. I mean, it's a book about pregnant teens. I'm not a big fan of anything about pregnancy, let alone with a focus on teenagers. However, Leicht and Neal manage to craft a hilarious, albeit occasionally really gross, story out of the premise of pregnant teens in space.
Though I try not to go too crazy comparing books to other books, since it doesn't tend to reflect well on either of them, I ust have to here. Mothership reminds me heavily of Libba Bray's Beauty Queens in the style of the humor, only, instead of beauty queens stuck on an island, we have pregnant teens on a spaceship. I didn't like this one quite so well, but I think that if you liked Beauty Queens, you will definitely appreciate this and vice versa.
The best part of the book is definitely the humor, which Leicht and Neal keep up throughout. Elvie, the MC, has plenty of sarcasm and makes lots of hilarious observations. On top of that, the whole situation, and Elvie herself, are patently ridiculous, adding additional layers of laughs. There will definitely be a few moments that will make all but the most determinedly grim chuckle out loud. There's a wide variety of comedic styles, varying from potty humor to nerd jokes to irony, so Mothership is pretty much bound to tickle your funny bone one way or another.
The whole pregnancy angle is handled quite well, I think. Though it's obviously a main theme and they do not gloss over it, there isn't so much focus on pregnancy that I couldn't handle it. I mean, there's discussion of birthing and the consideration of the baby bump, but the humor and Elvie's wandering mind keeps things from getting to bogged down in baby drama. Also, just because the girls are pregnant doesn't mean they're completely useless, which was nice.
What Left Me Wanting More:
The reason I didn't like this book more than I did is the characters. They're funny and highly entertaining, sure, but I really don't like any of them. Elvie's probably the best of the lot, in that she's the only one to really have any depth of character, in that, despite the fact that she talks and acts like an airhead most of the time, she's really quite bright. Ducky and Ramona were my favorites, but they, like everyone else, really don't ever emerge from stereotype status. Britta was the worst by far, always remaining the classic mean girl airhead, and never showing the slightest glimmer of uniqueness. Cole, too, is completely unlikable to me, but he's not treated as such by the author, which is frustrating. This doesn't detract from the entertainment of the novel, but kept me from loving it.
The ending sets up the next book nicely, but I do think it was a bit ridiculous, even within the context of this universe. While I cannot explain in detail because of spoilers, I think one of the twists at the end, regarding Elvie's baby, does not make any sense plotwise. There is absolutely no reason for things to have gone down the way they did, except to make things happier.
The Final Verdict:
If you're looking for a book to make you laugh, a nice break from dark contemporaries and dystopian drama, then Mothership is a perfect choice. I will definitely be reading the next book in the series, because you can always use more laughter in your life.
It turns out, the pregnancy school was started by a rival race of aliens who plan to switch the almiri babies into their babies .....drama! But anyway, I loved how Elvie had a clear head when things got messed up as well as her sass even though things got pretty messed up during it, she never faltered. And her "baby daddy" cole never seemed to call even when she got pregnant, and she never let it control her life, or go on about it and cry. She persevered through everything, which shows that she could be a great role model, better then most in literature even though she got preggers. Whoops.
Things I liked:
Elvie and her sass
The amount of times this book made me laugh
Ducky, Elvies ah-mazing bestie
Britta vs Elvie face offs
Cole, even though he was a bimbo sometimes
Elvies talks with "goober"
Things I didn't like:
Practically nothing! I loved it
Just do your breathing exercises." He leans over the backseat and grabs my hand. "Come on. That's it. Hoo-hoo-hoo, hee-hee-hee. Hoo-hoo-hoo...' 'Keep that up,' I warn him, wincing around another contraction, 'and I'm going to hit you right in your "hoo-hoo”
Mothership is ones of those books. It’s so cuddly and fun and adorable that I couldn’t help loving it. Strong, proactive protagonist who isn’t afraid to tell her stupid boyfriend that he’s stupid. Parental units who are involved and try their best to do well, amazing best friends. A lighthearted take on an alien invasion. I loved it all! Really, I need more snuggly books like this in my life.
The only real issue I had with Mothership was the authors’ introduction of a parasitic pregnancy where the host mother isn’t aware of the problems that carrying the alien baby to term will bring. I’m expecting that, since this is a series, things will get smoothed over and the slightly disturbing alien/human relationship will get resolved. Or, it had better.
Because other than that, this book is amazing!
So…Elvie, our protagonist. She’s eight and a half months pregnant. Her boyfriend ditched her when she told him she was having a baby. (Also: in the future, abortions are illegal, à la Neal Shusterman.) Rather than going back to regular high school where she’d get made fun of, Elvie opts to enroll in a school that’s on a space station orbiting Earth. Then BOOM! Her absentee boyfriend and a bunch of other commandos arrive, the school’s faculty tries to kill all the students, and all hell breaks loose. Basically, it’s left up to Elvie to get her classmates off the ship before it crash lands. And she does this all while dodging her dumb ex-boyfriend and trundling along the unborn Goober (which is what she calls her baby).
Which then brings me to Cole, Elvie’s dumb ex-boyfriend. One really great thing about Mothership is that the romance element is pre-existing, which means there’s zero chance for a case of instalove. I just really like the idea of a book that focuses more on sustaining a relationship than starting one. It’s a more unique experience for sure. Anyway. Cole, in spite of his good looks, is extremely stupid. He just doesn’t get it. And Elvie is super smart, so she has the upper-hand in the relationship. The two of them together were super squishable. There aren’t very many books I’ve read where the woman constantly tells her partner how idiotic he’s acting. Plus, Cole totally understands that his brain capacity isn’t so hot, and he lets Elvie take the lead. Really loving that dynamic, after all the “romantic” alpha-male crap that’s been floating around lately.
Leicht and Neal did an excellent job with the alien aspect as well. The alien culture, maybe, was a little cliche and silly, but considering the kind of book Mothership is, I thought that fit really well. And, like I said, I did have an issue with the fact that the aliens were using human girls as disposable incubators, but I think that could also be the authors establishing a viable conflict that can be explored in later books. And for the most part, I thought the pregnancy issue was very tastefully handled. I mean, yeah, I was uncomfortable with Elvie’s situation and the fact that Cole forced her into it without her knowledge, but I suspect that was rather the point.
Oh, and the almost cliffhanger ending was pretty rad as well.
You know, while I was writing this review, I kind of talked myself into a five star rating. Mothership was so sweet and fun and squishy. It’s the kind of book you read while snuggling with your drooly, stinky bed-hog of dog (or maybe your dog smells nicer than mine and is willing to share the covers). I really really really liked this book.
So what the heck? I’m giving this all the stars anyway! Don’t even care.