Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.
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 was really impressed by this book. I’m not generally super interested in space, but the concept sounded so cool, that I really wanted to read this book. You can imagine my pleasure then when I was accepted to review an e-arc. I was delighted! I couldn’t wait to start it, and once I was reading it, I didn’t want it to end!
I want to talk about the things that impressed me. The first thing that impressed me was the writing. It was of high caliber and not once did I think, “this writing isn’t good”, in fact, it had so much depth and range that it was part of the reason that the characters came alive for me. This is Stamper’s first novel, but his talent shows through. I was hooked from the first page.
The characters were another item that impressed me. I loved that they were all different, that there was personality behind them. Even the secondary characters came alive to me. There is much to love about our protagonist, Cal. Cal, a seventeen-year-old is a social media journalist, and his personality was wild. And totally believable. Leon and Kat as well were great characters. Deb was too. I liked all the teens in this book, and at no point did I think, “really? They’re doing this?” Instead I thought that their reactions and responses were like teens – or what I remember being a teen was like.
To go along with the characters I thought giving Cal a “job” was a great idea. Not only because it gave some conflict in the book (such as a teen can do just as much important work as an adult) but because teens are just as business savvy as adults. It gave Cal great depth.
This book also dealt with different issues that happen in real life. Family relationships was a big one. We see all sorts of different family dynamics in this book, and it plays out well. There are a lot of different ways that it could go, but again, it all worked for me.
Romantic relationships was a subplot in this book, in this case is was a lgbtq+ relationship, and Stamper handles it so deftly and wonderfully, you can’t help but fall in love with the adorable relationship he sets up. I think the ups and downs of it was done well, and I loved every minute of it.
Friendships too, were dealt with. There was no one size fits all model in this book, but it did briefly explore the different depths of friendship, which I really appreciated.
This book also tackles depression, but again, it was done well.
I don’t want to reveal any of the amazing plot points, but you will be rooting for Cal throughout this book. You will fall in love with him and his story.
A fantastic book and so beautifully written!