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Young Adult Fiction General (see Also Headings Under Family)


by (author) Jennifer Cowan

Groundwood Books Ltd
Initial publish date
Apr 2009
General (see also headings under Family), Environment, Girls & Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2009
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Out of print

This edition is not currently available in bookstores. Check your local library or search for used copies at Abebooks.

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0
  • Grade: p to 12
  • Reading age: 0


A New York Times Editors' Choice

Earthgirl follows the eco-evolution of sixteen-year-old Sabine Solomon, who is thrown into the fray one afternoon when she's riding her bike downtown to join her friends, and an idling minivan driver carelessly tosses leftovers from McDonald's out the car window, blindsiding Sabine and leaving her covered in plum sauce.

When Sabine tosses the garbage back at the offensive driver, an altercation ensues that is captured on the videophones of her friends. In a technological blink, footage is posted on YouTube, and Sabine finds herself at the center of a heated eco-debate. A crusader is born.

About the author

Jennifer Cowan is a writer and story editor whose television credits include the animated comedy Producing Parker, Traders, the teen soap Edgement (2004 Leo Award for Best Screenwriting in a Youth or Children's Series / 2004 Gemini Award nominee), The Saddle Club, The Zack Files and Ready or Not. She is the producer and director of the award-winning documentary, Douglas Coupland Close Personal Friend, and has produced arts, pop culture and entertainment magazine programs and documentaries for the CBC, TVOntario and CityTV. earthgirl is her first book. Jennifer lives and works in Toronto.

Jennifer Cowan's profile page

Editorial Reviews

This sharp debut novel with enormous teen appeal will inspire readers to question Sabine's tactics and their own impact on earth.

Kirkus Reviews

...witty...[Sabine's awakening is] subtly and thoroughly explored by the author

New York Times

Earthgirl is a refreshing and girl empowering novel that I highly recommend.

Children's Book News

In her debut novel, Cowan entertains and educates about ecological issues and relationships...The focus on computer communication through website links, blogging...adds a sense of reality to the fiction and should make it more relevant to the young readers it targets. It may also be an eye-opener for their parents...

Canadian Jewish News

The greening of Sabine unfolds in an interesting mix of blogs and her own fast-paced, in-your-face narrative. Her voice is well laced with the 2009 teen vernacular, and an overload of burgeoning eco-consciousness that gives off more than a whiff of satire.

Globe and Mail

earthgirl is smart, funny, attuned to the times, and completely appropriate for its intended audience...Not only is the book entertaining, but it's educational as well, without being obvious about it.

Quill & Quire

Librarian Reviews


Earthgirl written by Jennifer Cowan Groundwood Books, 2009 978-088899-890-3 (pb) $17.95 for Grades 9 and up Juvenile Fiction, Ecology

Earthgirl is a refreshing and girl empowering novel that I highly recommend. The teen prose will hit you right away, as the novel opens and “Bean” (Sabine) Solomon gets sideswiped by a fancy car and the thoughtless driver throws the trash from a junk food lunch at her.

With its irreverent language and teenage slang from our mouthy but endearing heroine, the reader will find lots in common with the teens portrayed in the story. As well, since the novel is punctuated by numerous blog postings, this book is bound to appeal to teens, most of whom use this type of communication on a daily basis.

After her initial brush with such an anti-eco individual, Bean starts to be increasingly concerned with the state of the world. Her two best friends, Carmen and Ella, are more the fashionista types and, although they love their friend, they don’t quite “get” her new-found causes. After beginning to work at an organic bakery and meeting the hunky ultimate “eco-green” Vray, Bean becomes increasingly drawn to his green ways and Birkenstock friends.

Partly as a result of her own growing social consciousness and partly because of her attraction to hottie Vray, Bean becomes even more involved with ecofriendly causes, but not always with such peaceable and safe activists. As Bean’s family leaves for their winter holidays skiing in Quebec and trust her to be on her own, Bean discovers a great deal about first love and where it might take you emotionally, and in her case, politically.

Ultimately, Bean faces dangerous choices between following the political motivations of the boy she thinks she loves and what she really believes is the right thing to do. She realizes that it will be up to her to navigate her own way through the politics of ecology and love. In doing so, she feels humbled and yet empowered as she sets off on her path to adulthood. We cheer her all the way!

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Spring 2009. Vol.32 No.2.


This story follows the eco-evolution of funny and endearing 16-year-old Sabine Solomon. After an incident moves her to aim for higher global consciousness, she develops a new perspective, which she shares on her blog. Sabine must make some tough choices when she befriends other people whose activism takes a darker turn.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2010.