ARC Review: The Gravity of Us

“Don’t aim to fix people. Fixing seems so permanent, so absolute. Like there’s no room for error. Aim to make things better.”

Rating: 3/5 stars
Format: Physical copy
Release Date: February 4, 2020

Thank you Bloomsbury Books for sending me a review copy in exchange for a honest review!


 

Synopsis

44281034As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.


The Verdict

I’m a little bummed that I wasn’t able to give this one a higher rating but it was still a pretty fun, heart warming quick read. The Gravity of Us is an OwnVoices novel that reads like a typical YA contemporary, but also offers us something new and unique by incorporating a romance, new friendships, and space all in one.

What I Liked

🏳️‍🌈 Queer rep. We love an OwnVoices novel with queer rep, and I’m not going to lie this was one of the first things that pulled me into the story. Plus, when the synopsis uses words like “sensitive and mysterious” for the love interest I’m always 100% on board.

🚀 Space Mission. Y’all know sci-fi stuff is usually not my jam which is why this was the one part of the story I was a little nervous about. I didn’t know how much of this was going to be technical space/NASA talk. And I think the author did a great job of not giving readers just enough information to make it interesting without being over the top. Not going to lie I was pretty invested in the mission throughout the story and one of the biggest reasons I wanted to finish this was to see if the mission would still happen and which of the parents would be chosen to go to Mars.

📺 Reality TV show. The StarWatch reality TV show was also a pretty fun aspect to the story. I really enjoyed the fact that Cal didn’t like how superficial the whole show was by focusing more on the astronauts personal lives and pitting them against one another rather than the space mission. Cal then working to expose the show for what it was definitely made for the most thrilling part of the story for me. Plus, the author includes little snippets and character interviews from the TV show at the end of some of the characters which I thought added more depth to this specific part of the plot.

What I Didn’t Like

👨🏻‍💻 Cal. I was honestly not the biggest fan of our main character. He spends so much of the book trying to fix everyone’s problems all the while ignoring his own. I also wasn’t the biggest fan of how once he got to Texas he basically just forgot about his best friend back home. I can’t say I totally hated him though, because he did have some character growth towards the end of this story but it was also done in a way that just kind of put a shiny bow on a semi-okay wrapped present.

🆘 Too much, too fast, too little time. My ARC of this was 304 pages, so I’m not 100% sure if the final copies will clock in at the same page count, but this was short and probably would have benefited from being about 30-50 pages longer. Within the 300 pages we have Cal packing up his life and leaving his best friend, fighting with his best friend, meeting Leon and Kat, falling in love, trying to take down a reality tv show, a plane crash, trying to help Leon with his depression, dealing with having his image ruined, making up with his best friend, trying to make up with Leon, trying to save NASA and the space mission, and then a whole bunch of spoiler-y bits I can’t get into. So yeah, it’s A LOT in such a short amount of time.

❤️ The romance. This one is definitely a bit of a bummer but I think also goes hand in hand with my above issue. The romance is super insta-lovey, which okay – that’s fine, but after that there isn’t much more that will have you swooning over the romance. So, unless the romance gets you right from the get go, it may not work out too well for you. It was rather dry and two dimensional.

All in all, even though I did have some issues with this story I would be lying if I said I didn’t read it in three days. It’s a super quick read that you can fly through and will keep you on your toes from start to finish.

Until next time,

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