A girl wakes up in a small town on a park bench on a small plot of grass with no memory of who she is, where she is, or even why she is there. In her diary, she talks of encountering a dumb as nails diner worker, the employees of a small traveling show including a boy who can read minds, and a girl who looks exactly like her as she tries to figure out how to regain her memories and what she is doing in this odd town. Though the reader knows her name is Emily, she calls herself Earwig.
Written by Rob Reger and Buzz Parker, this book expands on the Emily the Strange comics.
This story provides examples of:
- Adults Are Useless: a thirteen-year-old girl who has amnesia is alone in a small town and lives in a box behind a diner. Why should anyone care?
- Molly's parents are worse. They are raising a free-range child and when a girl looking like their dauighter, just with amnesia runs away from them, the mother just writes to her to wish her luck.
- Arc Number: The book starts on page 13 and Emily has a penchant for making lists with 13 items.
- Batman Gambit: An unusual variant. Emma, before she died, arranged for her as yet unborn grand niece to inherit what she owned, but that she would have to do so secretly. She knew that her grand niece would be super smart and have to hide her mind from a boy who would be born four years after her grand niece (thus four years after her own death). She also arranged for a then thirteen-year-old boy to get some money to buy his way onto the City Council when he was old enough and to assist her greand niece when she showed up.
- Blatant Lies: On the bus, Earwig just wasn't intersted in talking to her seatmate. After the Normal Guy just described what he was doing in Wichita:
Normal Guy: So, what are you doing, riding the Red Rabbit all by yourself?
Me: Sorry, I don't speak English.
NG: What? You sound like you speak English.
Me: Nope. I don't speak a word of English, and also, I have a speech defect, so if you don't mind, I'm going to sleep now.
- Convection Schmonvection: Somewhat justified. While the Liquid black rock was stated to feel as if it was burning Earwig, it did so in a nice way and apparently wasn't hot per se. Basically, it was magic lava.
- Cool and Unusual Punishment: Raven calls upon birds to poop on Attikol and many other of the traveling show employees after Attikol loses the card game.
- Corrupt Politician: The mayor and council members can all be bribed.
- Doppelganger: Not a true version, but to a girl with amnesia, meeting a girl who looks nearly exactly like her and the deceased founder of the town where she was who also looked like her, it can be creepy.
- Epistolary Novel: Emily starts the diary before tearing out the first twelve pages. She then makes sure to have the notebook to use for when she is without her memories. It actually helps, especially when she has to redo the amnesia.
- Free-Range Children: Subverted with Emily, though she doesn't find out until her memory returns. Molly's parents let her go anywhere she wants as long as her grades are good.
- Generation Xerox: Emily (Earwig) found out that her great aunt looked very much like her
- Hammerspace: Emily's pockets can hold a lot.
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover: Emily loves the four cats she finds, who also seem to love her as well.
- Hilda combines this and Crazy Cat Lady due to her age and possible senility.
- MacGyvering: Emily/Earwig is good with this.
- Magic 8 Ball: Earwig borrows a keychain variety to ask questions. She gets 13 different answers, which were fairly accurate even if Earwig didn't believe some of them.
- Memory Gambit: The plot of thos book, though it takes Earwig a long time to discover it.
- Multiple-Choice Past: With no memory of her former life, Earwig makes up crazy stories about her past when her teachers have her tell about herself in her classes. They are not amused.
- The Nicknamer: Earwig is this since she doesn't know anyone's name and can't be bothered to learn them. Molly is known for doing this to her friends, but refuses to allow anyone to nickname her.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Earwig loves her nightmares.
- Not Good with People: Earwig tries her best to steer clear of people, including sleeping days and exploring the town at night. She is very good with cats.
- No Social Skills: Raven.
- Not Herself: How Emily knows she is not Molly and Molly's parents realize she is not their daughter.
- Perky Goth: She dresses in black clothing and finds scary things cool, but she also celebrates when good things happen to her and often writes a lot of exclamation points when excited
- Police Are Useless: See Adults Are Useless above. They give her a ticket for living in a refrigerator box behind the El Dungeon as opposed to finding her a place to stay. Like the Corrupt Politician above, they are also on the take.
- Psychic Static: Subverted. Earwig builds a machine that amplifies the thoughts of cats and uses it on her cats so that they'll drown out her own thoughts and prevent Jakey from discovering that she's lying to him. He later reveals in a letter that he knew she was lying the whole time and that her plan, while a neat trick, didn't work on him because he can only read human thoughts.
- Sadist Teacher: The entire staff of Blackrock's school apears to be this.
- Teen Genius: And how. Even without her memories, she can easily fix broken electronics, plus a lot more...
- Thirteen Is Unlucky: Inverted. Thirteen is Emily's favorite number.