The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper – A Review

Hi! I’m back with a review today, and as I suck at introductions – let’s get straight into it. No need to faff around.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper
  • Publication date: February 4th 2020
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
  • Genre: Contemporary

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.

Thank you to the publisher and Pride Book Tours for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Is anyone at all surprised that I GRAVITATED (hahaha …I’m sorry?) towards this LGBTQA+ debut?! I have a very specific taste when it comes to contemporaries, and the queerer – the better. Plus, as a bonus, it’s ownvoices and has sciency elements, which I also love. So overall, it seemed like a book right up my alley.

The main character, Cal(vin), is an Internet famous teen reporter. He rose to fame covering an election story on an app called FlashFame and has plans to become a journalist in the future. With a Buzzfeed internship planned for the summer, everything seems like it’s going his way, until his dad is offered a spot on NASA’s mission to Mars, and Calvin needs to move from New York to Texas.

The story is told from Calvin’s point of view as well as some transcribed episodes of a reality show covering the Mars mission. The episodes definitely added to the narrative, as they provided “the other side of the story” and something to build the drama on. Speaking of drama, there is quite a lot of it in the book and it’s mostly what propels the plot, making it an exciting and quick read.

I don’t need to like the main character to enjoy the book, and I think The Gravity of Us is the perfect example of it. I found Cal selfish and insufferable at times. He wasn’t a good friend, nor did he consider others at all while making decisions that could affect them. He’s definitely developed throughout the story and redeemed himself a bit, but I would kind of like to see a bit more of a change in him. As for the other characters, they were definitely better. I really liked Kat and Deb, thought they’re not as prevalent in the story. Leon, the love interest, was such an opposite to Cal, I think they really worked as a couple. I didn’t even mind the instalove.

I enjoyed the plot immensely. It was fun and quite suspenseful for a contemporary book. Honestly, from roughly a third in I could not put it down. I really liked the social media aspect, but I do think the numbers (followers, views etc.) seemed VERY exaggerated, though it didn’t impact my enjoyment of the book.

I appreciated the discussion on mental health that this book touched on and as I said before, the ownvoices queer representation. YA always needs more of these kind of stories.
Overall, I enjoyed, though did not love this book, but I’m definitely looking forward to picking up more from Phil Stamper in the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thank you for reading, as always. I’ll chat to you soon!

2 thoughts on “The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper – A Review

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