Reviewed by Heather C
Title: The Gravity of Us
Author: Phil Stamper
Genre: M/M Young Adult Contemporary
Length: 320 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: Cal wants to be a journalist, and he’s already well underway with almost half a million followers on his FlashFame app and an upcoming internship at Buzzfeed. But his plans are derailed when his pilot father is selected for a highly-publicized NASA mission to Mars. Within days, Cal and his parents leave Brooklyn for hot and humid Houston.
With the entire nation desperate for any new information about the astronauts, Cal finds himself thrust in the middle of a media circus. Suddenly his life is more like a reality TV show, with his constantly bickering parents struggling with their roles as the “perfect American family.”
And then Cal meets Leon, whose mother is another astronaut on the mission, and he finds himself falling head over heels–and fast. They become an oasis for each other amid the craziness of this whole experience. As their relationship grows, so does the frenzy surrounding the Mars mission, and when secrets are revealed about ulterior motives of the program, Cal must find a way to get to the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
I went into this book completely blind, with no idea what to expect. All I knew is a liked the cover!
I was a bit confused in the beginning when Cal, the main character and wanna-be-journalist, was reporting on NASA’s upcoming mission to Mars, yes Mars the planet. Was this a futuristic science fiction story? Well, no. It’s more present day contemporary with a retro 1960s feel. You’ll see what I mean once Cal and his family move to Houston. Yes, Houston, home of NASA.
Cal is a self made teen journalist with a large following on an app called FlashFame (something like Instagram Stories maybe?). Anyway, he made his fame reporting on political elections and following the astronauts of the hugely popular upcoming Mars mission and reality show Shooting Stars. When Cal’s father becomes the latest astronaut selected to the team, Cal is forced to temporarily abandon is journalistic plans for at least the next year. When Cal arrives in Houston, he immediately realizes the media situation is out of his control and the best way to handle his new reality is to get ahead of StarWatch and put out information on his own terms. Before long, Cal decides he must take on StarWatch and Josh Farrow, the face of Shooting Stars, and try to save NASA and the Mars program. Oh, did I forget to mention Leon?! The cute boy down the street and fellow Astrokid!
This was a really cute story. It did take me a few days and a few attempts to really get interested in it. I was constantly surprised with how unsurprised Cal’s parents were over Cal’s internet fame. I mean, he was the most famous character in the story. Oh, but there is more to it than you know. I liked Cal and I liked how he sometimes forgot how other people around him didn’t see life and the world like he did. His relationship with Leon felt a little more glossed over than I would have liked. I think Leon’s depression could also have been explored a little more. Maybe there was just a little too much going on in this story to have one main element stand out??
Overall, I enjoyed the story and the sweet romance.
Overall Impression: I liked it
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*