Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Published: February 4th, 2020
Genres: YA, LGBTQIA+ romance, contemporary
My Rating: 4 Stars
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.
Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.
This was really cute and pretty much exactly what I was expecting. I needed a book where the plot was exactly what I thought it was going to be. It was just a cute fun romance with a little bit of mystery.
A few years ago, there was a show about the first astronauts and their families, and I loved it. This book has a lot of that nostalgia feeling of the 60s space program, which I really, really loved. I kind of wish there was still that kind of excitement around space exploration because imagine what we could be doing out there if people were as excited about the idea of it as they were in the 60s.
I think this book also does something really fun with internet fame. The narrator, Cal, is a video blogger who does live streams of news content. He’s internet famous, and he got that way because of how he covered the early stages of the selection process of the astronauts going to Mars. How Cal creates and cultivates his internet audience is a large part of the book, but it doesn’t overwhelm the book. I think it would have been easy to make so much of who Cal was about his internet fame, but he’s a teenager who happens to have a popular blog. It does play a significant roll in the overall story, but the story doesn’t revolve around it.
The characters in this book are all well rounded. The parents have complex personalities– I mean they’re astronauts but they aren’t just astronauts. They all have something else they care about. I think with a lot YA parents are forgotten or one-dimensional. In this one we get to see that just because the parents are over 30 doesn’t mean they stop having lives and interests. Cal’s parents, especially, are shown as people who have a small but significant arcs within the story.
Cal and Leon are incredibly cute together. I liked their growth separately and together. Cal, I think, learns a lot from being with Leon and his growth is apparent at the end of the book.
Overall, this is a cute one y’all. I needed something familiar but different. I think the space angle of this love story makes it just different enough. There’s a whole story line about reality television that I found creative and interesting. For me, it was worth the hype. I’d recommend you pick it up.
Until next time Internet,