ARC Review: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

Title: The Gravity of Us
Author: Phil Stamper
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 320 Pages
Publication Date: February 4th, 2020

Summary: 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.

I received an ARC of THE GRAVITY OF US at BookExpo this year, and then when I was waiting on line for another signing, I was lucky enough to wind up right in front of author Phil Stamper himself, which means that I got my ARC signed as well! Needless to say, that was a pretty awesome experience, and once I came home from school for Christmas break, I was able to sit down and read the book. So without further ado here's my review!

As the summary explains, Cal finds himself being relocated from Brooklyn to Texas when he finds out that his dad is going to be one of the astronauts on NASA's newest mission. Which he is NOT happy about, because moving to Texas means giving up his Buzzfeed internship, and even possibly his FlashFame news show that he started all on his own to build up his journalism career. So, needless to say, he comes to Texas a little grumpy and definitely unwilling to be there. That is, until he meets Leon -- the son of other prominent astronaut in the program -- and they hit it off in ways that Cal definitely wasn't expecting.

I really enjoyed reading this book! I tore through the entire thing in just two ays -- over 250 pages in a single day! -- just because I kept wanting to know what was going to happen next. The story was pretty well-paced -- I didn't really feel like there were parts that lagged or dragged on, or rushed. So I just kept wanting to read the next chapter over and over and over again...until it was suddenly 2am and I got to the last page of the book. I wish there was going to be a sequel to this one so I could continue to follow Cal and Leon's story, and his father's mission, but alas, it's a standalone. And a great one at that!

My favorite character in this book was definitely Cal's mom, Becca. Even though she's struggling through her own things throughout the story, she manages to support Cal, help Kat, and be a big part of the mission in a way that might fade into the background if you're not paying attention. But as the story goes on, you see a definite change in her character, in the best way. I was totally cheering her on throughout the whole story! Cal's relationship with Leon and Kat was also super touching, too!

The only thing that threw me off a little bit in this book was how quickly Cal and Leon seemed to fall in love. I'm definitely a believer in love at first sight, and I wouldn't say there's a timeline or a time frame that all relationships need to follow by ANY means, but it seemed that pretty early on in the story, Cal was already referring to Leon as "babe" and acting like they were in a relationship right from the jump. Which, to be totally clear, is not problematic or an issue at ALL -- it was just something that jarred me a little bit as a reader so I was confused for a few chapters until I settled into it and went with the flow. But other than that, I loved every other aspect of this book!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading THE GRAVITY OF US. Phil Stamper is a promising 2020 debut whose writing hooked me from the very beginning up until the last word, and it's safe to say that I will definitely be reading more of his work in the future. If you're looking for an inspiring, adorable love story and you're trying to explore more debut authors, then I definitely recommend checking this one out!

If you want to check out my exclusive interview with 2020 debut author Phil Stamper, click here!


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