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.
As I mentioned rather a while ago The Gravity of Us was a very anticipated novel of mine. I love the idea of two kids who meet up because their parents are suddenly doing the same amazing job. So when Bloomsbury had a review and tour spot open I jumped on it. I was anticipating a cute queer m/m story with som space stuff involved.
First off while I received a physical ARC of this book I ended up listening to it via audiobook, and it has some of my favourite voice actors working in it including Michael Crouch, January LaVoy, and Bahni Turpin. This definitely helped, but the story was so riveting. The pure amount of research that went into the novel was evident in the beautiful and interesting space program scenes.
I loved that we get some great mental health issues rep, Cal’s mum has pretty severe anxiety, Leon is struggling in the novel with his depression, and Cal’s father has anger management issues. These all are addressed and spoken about with a mix of natural frustration at the situation they create but overall empathy with the character who lives with them. While we get to see the relationship between Leon and Cal grow and their own growth from it, their relationship is not the main plot; which I enjoyed.
The real story here is about the power of the media, how they can twist facts and truths and make things appear the way they want them to. How the media at the end of the day serves themselves, their wallets, and the wallets of their board. If that isn’t the most relevant message in these times of social distancing and near mass hysteria, I’m not sure what is.
A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.