Review by Maria Gil.
The Gravity of Us, is a queer romance that follows the story of Cal, a young social media expert and journalist, whose life is uprooted when he discovers his pilot father has been chosen for a NASA mission to Mars. Cal is forced to say goodbye to his best friend, Buzzfeed internship, and Brooklyn home to move to Houston, Texas. There he meets Leon, one of the few teenagers also involved with the Mars mission, and romance quickly develops. Cal has to figure out how to move his journalism career forward while navigating love with Leon and fighting reality show Shooting Stars for reporting rights.
Stamper’s novel was enjoyable, but not exceptional. It was an endearing queer story, but sometimes the romantic storyline overshadowed vital character development and progression. The romance represented an instant-love connection, where Leon and Cal were suddenly dating in less than two or three chapters. Many great characters were introduced, like Cal’s mum and dad, Leon’s sister Kat and the Shooting Stars antagonists, but their stories were not explored extensively. Everyone was just there, with no real purpose for the majority of the story, as they don’t help move the story or Cal’s character arc forward. The only thing that made it stand out among other young adult contemporary novels was the is that it has a focus on the NASA Mars mission (which I so desperately wished was a real thing). It’d be so cool. Low–key wish Shooting Stars was a real reality show — it’s like space Kardashians! But aside from that, the story wasn’t awe-inspiring.
The problem with pushing characters aside for a romance plot is that they feel undeveloped. This is seen with the antagonists of StarWatch, Josh and Kiara. Josh is attention-hungry, desperate to make a big drama scoop out of everything, while Kiara just lets everything happen because she doesn’t care. I think they were made the bad guys for the sake of having villains in the story because they did not assist in story progression and weren’t given any character arc. There was some character arc betrayal from Kiara to move Cal’s story but alas she wasn’t overly significant to the story. This is sad because it would be interesting to explore a conflict between an aspiring and veteran journalist. .
This novel was pitched to be a story for Adam Silvera lovers, but I don’t think this novel was for me. Not all books are for everyone, but that doesn’t mean the book was terrible. I know for a fact that this novel will have people who enjoy the genre smiling and full of glee. For some, this will be a perfect cheesy romance novel that you can read gobble in a few hours. The Gravity of Us was not a bad book. It kept me invested and wanting to continue reading, much like a silly Hallmark Christmas movie, but it is not a book I’d personally be raving about.
If you like simple, cheesy contemporary romance novels you can read in a few hours, this book will be perfect for you! If not, I reckon you sit this one out.
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: 17 March 2020
RRP: $15.99 AUD
Personal Rating: 3/5
GoodReads Rating: 3.86/5