The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
Published: February 4th, 2020 by Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Summary (from NetGalley): Cal wants to be a journalist, and he’s already well underway with almost half a million followers on his FlashFame app and an upcoming internship at Buzzfeed. But his plans are derailed when his pilot father is selected for a highly-publicized NASA mission to Mars. Within days, Cal and his parents leave Brooklyn for hot and humid Houston.
With the entire nation desperate for any new information about the astronauts, Cal finds himself thrust in the middle of a media circus. Suddenly his life is more like a reality TV show, with his constantly bickering parents struggling with their roles as the “perfect American family.”
And then Cal meets Leon, whose mother is another astronaut on the mission, and he finds himself falling head over heels–and fast. They become an oasis for each other amid the craziness of this whole experience. As their relationship grows, so does the frenzy surrounding the Mars mission, and when secrets are revealed about ulterior motives of the program, Cal must find a way to get to the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Review: I love this cover and the concept of this novel. I love books about space that don’t actually take place in space (love the ones that take place in space too!). Where you get to hear about how characters are getting ready for the mission and how it affects others around them.
There’s a lot going on this book theme wise. There are different family dynamics, therapy, mental illness, friendships, death, LGBTQ relationships, social media, etc. etc. Some of them didn’t feel very fleshed out and weren’t really touched on all that much and felt like an odd character trait not fully explained.
The thing that threw me off the most unfortunately was the relationship between Calvin and Leon. I really didn’t believe it at all and never felt like I was rooting for them. Their love was so instant and there chemistry just wasn’t there. I appreciate bringing diverse relationships and mental illness into books but this felt a little flat. I did however, really enjoy Leon’s articulation of his depression and how he feels/sees it and how he wants to be treated for it.
With that aside, I wanted more of the space mission, more of how this mission was shaping the main characters families lives as well as others, more of how life is like in this little community.
I expect this book to be a hit among teens and I am excited to pick up the next book that Stamper puts out.
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
** links are unaffiliated