REVIEW: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
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.
I am a reader of gay romance books, but I am fond of any books that include a gay romance storyline even if the romance is on the background. I am also an occasional reader of YA fiction. I suppose I picked this one up because the blurb intrigued me. I was curious how author would deal with a NASA mission to Mars and gay romance in the mix.
Overall I thought it was lovely, I thought that the NASA stuff was great and it seemed that the author knew what he was talking about. At the end of the book, the author talks about doing a lot of research about space exploration and preparation for space exploration and it felt that way. Beware though that the story mostly deals with preparing for the Mars missions, the story takes place fully on Earth if you were hoping that missions would be shown on the pages of the book. I don’t think the book suffered for it at all.
I am also a little irritated because the blurb hides the main conflict of the NASA storyline and I would have liked to talk at least a little bit about it. At least the blurb tells us that Cal is a successful social media journalist, so I can say that I very much appreciated that the narrative dealt with the positive use of the social media in such exuberant way. Cal takes what he does seriously. He *informs* his multitude of followers about what is going on about various issues first from Brooklyn and then from Houston when for various reasons he is given a chance to do a detailed reporting on many issues which surround NASA mission.
The book also deals with the media playing a negative role in the world. I was a little torn about that. I thought the storyline , the whole book really was very engaging, I read it in two days, but I also thought the “media doing reckless/ click baiting/ sensational things”( trying to be as vague as possible because spoilers) plot line was kind of “what exactly did you think was going to happen”. I was not sure why those people were engaged to do their things in the first place.
You probably want to know about the romance storyline. Well, it was very insta love as far as I was concerned, but keep in mind 1) I am not a teenager, maybe teenagers these days really do go super fast from oh I just met you to oh I love you so much and cannot live without you.
2) Even if it was insta love, I really really liked Cal and Leon together, to me they had tons of chemistry and by the end of the book I really hoped they would stay together for a long time no matter how unlikely it seemed that two eighteen year olds would stay together forever :). And I really loved Cal’s voice – engaging and lovable to me at least.
“A smile comes over his face, and it’s so perfect I subconsciously reach out and hold his cheek. My eyes scan his face—his chin, his hair, his ears. He looks so beautiful in this moment, and I never want to forget this. How he looks. How I feel. “I love you,” I say. Not because he needs to hear it, but because I need to say it. “I love you so much, Leon.”
He leans in to kiss me so fast that suddenly my back is flat against the pavement. I pull him close, and we kiss. We kiss. We kiss like we never have before—an ebb and flow of tender and rough, heavy and light, deep and shallow. My hands are all over his body, and his mine, and there’s a small part of me that never wants this to end, but an even larger part of me that can’t wait for what comes next. I, Calvin Lewis Jr., have no idea what is coming next. And I couldn’t be happier.”
As you can see it is written in the present tense, normally my least favorite one, but I loved it here and it is a bit more sophisticated than just a present tense, it is mixed with some past tense too. I do think the author is a really good writer.