Despite the cover and the title, The Gravity of Us is not set in space. Instead it is a well-grounded, contemporary, YA story following social media-savvy teenager Cal as his life gets turned upside-down. When Cal’s father is unexpectedly chosen for a NASA mission, the whole family suddenly finds themselves moving to a compound for astronauts and getting sucked into a reality show that becomes their lives. At the compound, Cal meets and quickly falls for another astronaut’s son, Leon, at the same time as he struggles with the disappointment of not being able to follow his carefully planned career path, and discovers some ugly truths behind the program that’s brought his family to Houston.
The book started off in a wonderful way in New York, where we got to see Cal’s life with his best friend Deb and his work with the video account and his passion for fact-based journalism. But after the move to Texas, I had some issues with Cal and how he acted, especially towards Deb. I really missed her and would have loved for her to get a bigger part of the story, and didn’t like the way Cal ignored her problem after she’d always supported him. The way Cal treated Deb made him come across as self-centered, shallow and less likable, unfortunately.
I also have some objections when it comes to Cal’s relationship with Leon. It all felt a little too fast and like they ended up falling for each other simply because they were the only teenagers around. I just didn’t feel the chemistry between them and Phil Stamper didn’t even make me believe that they would be interested in one another. There was no spark between them whatsoever, so the romance part was a huge let down, sadly.
What I did appreciate in this book though was the honest and sensitive way in which Leon’s depression was described. I really liked that Leon set boundaries and that Cal respected them. It felt very authentic the way Leon couldn’t just be “fixed”. There is no simple solution, and not even love will suddenly make a person “cured” and all happy again. I also liked that Cal questioned his sexuality and how Phil Stamper provided a bit of backstory on how Cal and Deb used to date, before becoming friends.
There were two parts of the book that I loved absolutely most. The first was the wonderfully geeky NASA stuff, and how the scientists were given a chance to talk about their work and their passion for science. And the second was the humor that made this such a wonderful and light read, despite the heavy topics. I really loved the idea of combining science with a reality show, first love, complicated family relationships and all the 1960s references and the cassette hunting.
Overall, I felt a bit let down by this book when it comes to the main character not being very likable and the romance being very badly executed, but it was nevertheless an entertaining and cute read. Kudos to Phil Stamper for the original story and for keeping it light and fluffy at the same time as it managed to deal with some heavy topics like mental health issues such as Leon’s depression and Cal’s mom’s anxiety.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alwyn Hamilton Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.G. Drews Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elizabeth Acevedo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray John Green Julianne Donaldson Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Williamson Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Mackenzi Lee Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally M. Tasia Nancy Garden Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve River Braun Roan Parrish Roseanne A. Brown Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Saundra Mitchell Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophie Gonzales Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Teagan Hunter T.J. Klune Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard Yamile Saied Méndez