Country Girl Goes Aventuring: Sue Welford, Starlight City, Oxford University Press, 1998.
Kari's mother brings home Rachel, a scruffy bag woman. When Rachel is collected by the police, Kari and her friend Jake go look for her in the city and meet Razz, a street boy who helps them find her.
Rachel turns out to be the representative of aliens who have been watching earth and had abducted Kari when she was little to check out her musical talent (this abduction is seen as completely morally acceptable and never questioned). They help Rachel escape, and the aliens head home.
I did enjoy the tale, but as well as the qualm about the failure to question the morality of alien abduction (and such questioning would have made sense in the context of this tale) there is other stuff which Kari takes for granted in ways that do not encourage us to question.
This is a police state with identity cards, ghettos, fuel shortages and the oppression of the urban poor. Not only does Kari blithely accept this, but the sense that it is somehow right is built in. When she worries about Razz, Jake reassures her that he is a street kid and will be just fine. At the end of the novel they leave Razz behind who accepts his lot like the proverbial cockney sparrow. And what really icked me out is that Rachel is loved, not because she is a Misfit they have got to know, thus proving that maybe the label is a bit problematic, and the police harrassment of Misfits unacceptable, but because she is not really a Misfit and therefore we don't actually have to think about all of the above.
Finally a small oddity. How do you react to a book that contains a dedication to Princess Diana, "You were the wind beneath our wings", and epigraphs from Wilfred Owen's "Shadwell Stair", and Ursula LeGuin's "Semley's Necklace"?