Minda’s drunk review of The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper! This book came out 2/4—thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for an advanced copy.
What I drank prior: Two glasses of vermouth for my birthday dinner with husband! First time leaving baby at home and utilizing the pump & dump method.
As 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.
My Summary: Cal is a seventeen-year-old social media star and reporter with his own channel. When his dad gets recruited as the latest recruit for NASA’s mission to Mars, he gets the inside scoop on the mission, a front row seat to StarWatch—the reality show following the astronauts and their families—and a new love interest in Leon, the mysterious boy-next-door. When the mission is in jeopardy, can he use his platform to protect those he loves?
Spoiler-free Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! It was a solid read and I loved the LGBT romance, though it was slightly insta-love-y. Heart eyes still. My favorite part though was the ins and outs of the (fake) social media platform and the intricacies of the NASA mission. I think it could have done a little bit more there and with the motivations behind the reality show portion, but not mad.
Characters: Lots of likeable characters here. First we have Cal, Jr., the social media journalist who tends to lean slightly into people pleasing. His love interest, Leon, is the boy-next-door who is battling with depression and his role as an AstroKid along with his sister Kat—my fave character. She’s very loyal and self-assured. Deb is Cal’s bff back in NYC who doesn’t get the best treatment and seems like kind of a doormat. Kiara and Josh are with StarWatch, the reality show following the astronaut families.
Plot: Well-balanced so far as the social media, romance, NASA plot lines. Fast-paced read—I knocked this one out in about five days in baby’s first week between feedings. Also appreciated some of the aspirational background of 60s astronauts.
Writing Style: First-person from Cal’s perspective. Think it definitely worked for this.
Drunk Pairing: Champs! The drink of astronauts, apparently.
Rating: 4/5 shots