This is a futuristic sci-fi story in a setting where an alien race has taken over Earth and there are no more humans. Instead some of the Abdoloreans live on Earth in a society similar to humans but a lot more advanced. All the citizens are raised to become fighters on their intergalactic force, but Li has a secret. She is not an Abdolorean she is a human, will she be able to join the same force that took away her entire species? And things change when she meets Ryn, a boy from another planet who just came to Earth. Things aren’t always as they seem, and everyone is forced to make impossible choices. 

I give this book 4.5 stars (out of five). This book is amazing. I think this story is really good, it has compelling and inspiring characters, great world building and character development and an incredibly well written romance. But I think what I appreciated about this book the most was its pace, it had an extremely effective hook, while reading I was constantly curious about what would happen next (which is normal, but this book has a great balance of tension, suspense , urgency and storytelling). Besides absolutely loving the overall plot and even setting for the story (which I’ll summarize soon for people who haven’t already read this), I’d have to say my favourite thing about this book is the main character and how strong, empowering and brave she is (more on her, and why she’s a superior character, after the plot summary).

Firstly, I have to explain the setting and general plot of this story. This story takes place in the future and after humans have already been wiped out by aliens, aliens (who had already discovered multiple different species/types of aliens from different planets and formed alliances and relations, etc) discovered Earth and saw how humans were destroying the planet (at that point humanity had already pushed most species to extinction). They decided to intervene and wipe out the human race and then take it upon themselves to restore the wildlife and nature on Earth.

But clearly (based on the title) they weren’t completely successful, the main character, a sixteen year old girl, named Li is a human and lives on Earth among a race of aliens called Abdoloreans. Li’s biological parents were scientists who found out about the bomb (a bomb thing which released gas/radiation that was poisonous only to humans and wouldn’t affect any of the other life {I’m going off of memory … so sorry if this is inaccurate this is how I remember it} and managed to get her off the planet before it happened. Li has a non-biological father and sister, who she lives with and has spent her entire life with. Li has had to (and continues to have to) go through immense pain and training to be able to fit in with the Abdorloreans (if they found out she was a human, they’d kill her and her family). The Abdorloreans are naturally smarter, stronger and faster than humans, they basically are like humans but from a different planet, with different features and naturally maxed out in all skills (and they can breathe underwater too). So Li had to basically spend her entire life focusing on fitting in and staying alive.

More information on the system: All the young Abdorloreans who grew up on Earth go to this really advanced (compared to humans) school and are basically trained their entire lives to go into the military or intergalactic equivalent. When they get to sixteen they have to take this really important exam (on almost everything they’ve learned so far), which will affect their placement. They can get stationed on any planet (out of lots of different options) and in any position (front line fighter, commander/leader, etc). Li is at the age where she’s about to take the exam, and after the exam they move on to more training before they get placed and leave Earth (for seven years). Li has to study and work extra hard because she has a huge disadvantage of being human, and physically less capable than everyone else.

Anyways, the real stuff starts when Li meets a guy (as often happens in romances). So she’s hanging out with her friends (this is rare because Li and her sister Zo almost never get to hang out with friends because Li can’t give away her secret and it’s safer to stay inside/away) and there’s this guy who seems to be looking at her (and seems interested). {The only important ‘friend’ character (important enough that I’m going to talk about) is named Mirabae and she is a really layered character. I’ll talk more about her later but all you need to know is she’s Li’s best friend and the only person outside of her family that Li is really close with (and she doesn’t know that Li is a human). } That day they go to the beach and swim, but Li gets caught up in a group of people going cliff diving. Which is completely fine for Abdorloreans but not for Li and she ends up blacking out, fortunately that boy (his name is Ryn) jumped with her and brought her back up to the surface. He didn’t tell anyone though and Li and Zo left right after that (they were worried he might be suspicious since Abdorloreans can breathe underwater).

(Spoiler warning: To avoid spoilers please skip to the end of the summary and end of this review)

The day after that they had the exam, and Li managed to get 95%. But an important thing to take away from that scene/part was that Li wrote her exam next to Ryn and had to write an essay about why the Abdorlorean Intervention of Earth was necessary (and while writing she tensed up and only wrote what she did to get the question right and not stick out, she didn’t believe or agree with what she was writing). And from there romance happens, it’s basically just them starting training while Li and Ryn fall in love. Mirabae is having a harder time with the training and Li and Ryn are helping her. In this training period Li starts to realize that she wants other things than to become a commander, her only goal her entire life has been to get a leading position so that she can survive the seven years. But she’s realized that she’s joining the same military that wiped out her entire species and killed her family and she doesn’t really want that.

Eventually the growing romance between Li and Ryn is discovered by her father and obviously immediately stomped it out, he doesn’t want Li distracted or to get too close with anyone. (While this is happening Zo and Braxon (a really competitive jerk boy, who is in Li’s training group) are also just starting to date and their romance keeps growing). Weeks pass and Mirabae is still struggling. She calls/beams Li and gets her to meet up with her and in an extremely heartfelt conversation Li finally tells her best friend that she’s human and is struggling just as much as she is. Mirabae promises to never tell anyone and is very happy Li told her. Li also finally told her Dad that she can’t ignore how she feels about Ryn and that since she’s going to be leaving really soon he won’t be able to protect her much longer. And he relents, letting her go and see him and maybe spend her last few weeks on Earth with him. While reconnecting with Ryn Li finds out that he knows she’s human and has known ever since the first day, but he never said anything and still loves her.

The placement exams are here and it’s the last simulation they’re placed in before they are given their positions. (They’ve been doing simulated training events since they started training. I just didn’t include them. Li’s being leading her group in them.) But in this one, they’re put into an extremely difficult position and Li has to trust herself to make the right decisions in very limited time. The bad circumstances lead to Mirabae getting shot (in the simulation) and dying, once the simulation ended she was understandably shaken. And right afterwards was the placement announcements. Li got an officer position on a planet called Penthna, Ryn got a squadron on a different planet but Mirabae got placed in infantry.

Li tries to talk to Mirabae right after the announcements but can’t get a hold of her, and she ignores Li’s beams(calls). That night there is a big gala, basically like a prom for all the cadets/students who are leaving Earth very soon for their placements. But when Li and Ryn get there Mirabae is there and high on a drug for Abdorloreans and she gets extremely mad at Li and starts yelling at her. Partially because of Li’s leadership Mirabae didn’t make it into squadron and she’s completely convinced that it’s Li’s fault and she loudly calls Li “human scum.” Which wouldn’t be too bad if Braxon (the guy that she’s been constantly competing against for Officer) didn’t overhear her and follow Li after she left the dance. He approaches her and thinks it’s all her fault that he didn’t get the Officer position, he attacks her and while fighting back she accidentally kills him. She panics and basically throws his body (and the tree branch she killed him with) into the ocean and hides all the other evidence and then goes home. The next day no one knows where he is, but soon his body is discovered and they have burial.

After that an agent from the Abdorlorean government/investigative team comes around and integrates Zo and Li, and although we don’t know for sure it seems like he is suspicious of Li. And after he leaves she confesses and tells her sister and father what happened, the stakes are too high. Li knows she can’t just move on and live the rest of her life in fear that someone will find out what she is and what she did. Even though none of them wanted it to come to this, they all agree that it would be best for her to run and live somewhere on Earth instead of going to Penthna and joining the military. In the desperate moment Li’s dad saves her by sharing a big secret; Li isn’t the last human left. There’s a small secret colony of humans living away from everyone else on Earth, Li’s dad managed to get them there and settled safely. He has a bag prepared with everything she’ll need to make the month long journey to the colony and she’s ready, she can survive the trip and she has to go. So she does. Before leaving she stops at Ryn’s place to say goodbye, but he refuses to let her go without him, he’s never wanted to join the military and he knows he’ll never find anyone like Li. They go together and run away, and the book ends with them almost there.

This story is so amazing, honestly I really love it. The book is pretty short, not even 250 pages, so it’s a decently short read but it’s so captivating and engaging it really feels like I experienced what Li did. I understand what she felt and I felt it too, that’s how you know it’s well written. Something I really loved was just the introduction to the story, even from the first chapter I was totally engrossed by the story and could hardly put the book down. I also really appreciate that the author included LGBTQ+ characters, even among an alien race, which I think is amazing. As I already mentioned I think the best parts of this book (besides the plot, because wow) are Li’s character and the romance between her and Ryn, they’re both just so magical. And there’s so many passages in this book that are just so well written, the descriptions are actually insane and there’s so many parts that made me feel like I was really living in the world of the story.

Overall I think this book is incredible and a great experience to read, I’d definitely recommend it. Another thing I especially love is that even though (spoilers in the rest of this paragraph) by the end of the book you find out Li isn’t the last human or girl on the Earth the title is still “The Last Girl on Earth” even though she isn’t. I just really loved that, and how every twist or surprising thing had foreshadowing or clues that make sense.