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.

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
ISBN: 1547600144

Pages: 320
Publication Date: US/CAN: 4 Feb ANZ: 17 March UK/IN: 14 May
RRP: $15.99 AUD

Personal Rating:

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.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Sydney for gifting me an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange of an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Gravity of Us follows the story a Cal, a social media journalist who has heaps of followers on social media. He had his whole life prepped to continue his career as a journalist, that as until his dad announced that he had been chosen as one of the astronauts to be part of the NASA mission to Mars. Soon Cal has to say goodbye to his best friend, Buzzfeed internship and his Brooklyn home and move to Houston Texas. There he meets Leon, who is one of the few teenagers in the families who are involved with the Mars mission. Cal has to figure out how to continue moving his journalism career forward while discovering new love while fighting Shooting Stars ( a reality show that has exclusive rights to the Mars mission and their astronauts).

The overall story was enjoyable, but I did not think it was exceptional. The only thing that made it stand out among other young adult contemporary novels is that it has a focus of NASA and a cool space mission. Aside from that, it wasn’t very impressive. While the characters were interesting, they were pushed aside for the romance plot that again…wasn’t that special. So many great characters were introduced, like Cal’s mom and dad, Leon’s sister Kat and the antagonists who were involved with Shooting Stars. Everyone was just there, with no real purpose for the majority of the story. But as I mentioned before the setting really sets it apart, it made me wish we really had a NASA mission to Mars in the works! It’d be so cool.

The problem with pushing characters aside for the romance plot is that they feel undeveloped. This can be seen with the antagonists of StarWatch Josh, the host and Kiara the producer. Josh is attention hungry desperate to make a big drama scoop out of everything, while Kiara is just letting everything happen because she doesn’t care. I think they were made the bad guys for the sake of having bad guys in the story, because they were just there…they weren’t given any character arc. There was a bit of a character arc betrayal from Kiara to move Cal’s story…but alas she was only just there. Which is sad because it would be interesting to see two different types of journalists clash heads.

This novel was pitched to be a story for Adam Silvera lovers, but alas the only thing I ever read by him was lame and a disappointment. I don’t think this novel was for me, which is okay because I know so many people who would find enjoyment from cheesy contemporary novels and I know for a fact that this novel will have them smiling and full of glee. Not all books are for everyone, but that doesn’t mean the book was terrible. The Gravity of Us was not a bad book by any means, it kept me engaged and wanting to continue reading more (much like a Hallmark Christmas movie), but it is not a book I’d personally be screaming into the heavens about.

If you like simple cheesy romance contemporary novels, this book will be perfect for you! If you don’t, I reckon you sit this one out.

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