Title: The Gravity of Us
Author: Phil Stamper
Audience: Young Adult
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.
As The Gravity of Us was Phil Stamper’s debut novel, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but he will definitely become an author that I will gravitate towards in the future. I loved the balance between plot and romance and felt like they balanced each other out nicely.
When it comes to the characters within The Gravity of Us, they all balanced each other out, and it was great to see the contrast between them. I loved our main character of Cal, and felt like he was a character that you could immediately get behind and route for. He goes through quite a bit of growth throughout the book, and this only endeared him to me more as he learnt from his mistakes and tried to put things right. I would have loved to have had a little more development of the other characters in the books as I feel as if there were some other stories that Phil Stamper could have told along with Cal’s.
When it comes to the romance between Cal and Leon, one of the other Astrokids, I found that initially, it felt like Insta Love, which I really don’t like. But the further I got into the story, the more that I believed in the romance and liked seeing the progression between them. Without spoiling anything in the book, I liked the argument/drama that always comes in a contemporary book because it didn’t feel too forced and as if it came out of nowhere. It was something that the plot had been building towards, and you could see the seeds being planted in the early part of the story.
One thing that I really loved was the ending. A complaint that I usually have with any type of contemporary book with a heavy romance plot is the lack of resolution of the drama. But in The Gravity of Us, we got a couple of chapters that explored the drama’s resolution, which pulled the whole book together. As well as an epilogue that showed us where the characters are in the future, which is always appreciated.
I can’t wait to read Phil Stamper’s next release, especially if it is as good as The Gravity of Us. I highly suggest checking out The Gravity of Us if you like a really good YA contemporary story with really lovable characters.