Same Page | The Gravity of Us Review

11 August 2021
Book cover for 'The Gravity of Us' by Phil Stamper. Two young adults are sitting looking out into the sunset over buildings, their hands are touching. A shooting star races through the sky.

The Gravity of Us Review - by Yasmin, Age 17

Reality TV, family drama and a manned mission to Mars, The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper has it all.

The book follows Cal, a young journalist from Brooklyn whose life is turned upside down when his father is selected to be a part of Orpheus V, a rocket destined for Mars. The new job not only means that Cal’s family have to leave their home and friends behind, it might also be the end of his journalism career. The lives of the astronauts, and their families, are documented by Star Watch, an invasive and corrupt reality show in which they are forced to participate.

The premise of the plot is original and brings plenty of new elements to the reader, while also delivering on the relatable tropes of good YA books. After relocating to Clear Lake, the town that houses the astronauts involved in the missions, Cal is a fish out of water, bombarded by interviews and arguments between his parents. It’s at this time that he meets Leon, another teenage son of an astronaut, and a romance quickly blooms. While not exactly love at first sight, it grows into a wholesome core for the rest of the story to happen around.

None of the characters are perfect, which breathes a lot of life into the story. Cal, at least for the first part of the book, has quite a selfish view of the world and makes a few questionable choices concerning his relationship with Leon. His parent’s marriage is rocky and the move to Clear Lake, and the media circus that they arrive in, puts more of a strain on everyone. Even so, they are forced to pretend to be the perfect family, with cameras watching for the slightest slip. The book really demonstrates the darker, faker side of reality television and the void between the truth and what is shown on screen. The Star Watch network is viewed as a necessary evil to get the public invested in the mission, but it makes you think whether or not they end up caring about it for all the wrong reasons.

I would solidly recommend this book to any lovers of YA, particularly those interested in LGBTQ+ literature.

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