Cover image for The gravity of us
Title:
The gravity of us
ISBN:
9781547600144
Physical Description:
314 pages ; 22 cm.
Geographic Term:
Summary:
Cal Lewis's volatile father has been picked to become an astronaut for NASA's mission to Mars. This means leaving Brooklyn-- and Cal's career plans as an aspiring journalist-- to move to Houston, Texas. Now life is a media circus, and Cal and his parents struggle to be the "perfect American family." He meets and falls head over heels for Leon, whose mother is also an astronaut. As the frenzy around the mission mounts, Cal suspects secrets are being kept from the families that could change everything. --
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Summary

Summary

" I'm so starry-eyed for this wise, romantic gem of a book." - Becky Albertalli, bestselling author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

In this smart, heart-warming YA debut perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, two teens find love when their lives are uprooted for their parents' involvement in a NASA mission to Mars.

Cal wants to be a journalist, and he's already well underway with almost half a million followers on his FlashFame app and an upcoming internship at Buzzfeed. But his plans are derailed when his pilot father is selected for a highly-publicized NASA mission to Mars. Within days, Cal and his parents leave Brooklyn for hot and humid Houston.

With the entire nation desperate for any new information about the astronauts, Cal finds himself thrust in the middle of a media circus. Suddenly his life is more like a reality TV show, with his constantly bickering parents struggling with their roles as the "perfect American family."

And then Cal meets Leon, whose mother is another astronaut on the mission, and he finds himself falling head over heels--and fast. They become an oasis for each other amid the craziness of this whole experience. As their relationship grows, so does the frenzy surrounding the Mars mission, and when secrets are revealed about ulterior motives of the program, Cal must find a way to get to the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.


Author Notes

Phil Stamper grew up in a rural village near Dayton, Ohio. He has a B.A. in Music and an M.A. in Publishing with Creative Writing. And, unsurprisingly, a lot of student debt. He works for a major book publisher in New York City and lives in Brooklyn with his husband and their dog. This is his debut novel.
www.philstamper.com
@stampepk


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7 Up--In a debut novel with credible teen and adult characters, plotting and themes cover a lot of territory. Cal is a Brooklyn teen and a social media phenomenon. When his passenger-pilot father gets the call from NASA to join a Mars probe program, Cal and his mother, who suffers from severe anxiety, have to move with him to Houston. In their new neighborhood, peopled by other astronauts and their families, Cal forgets his best Brooklyn friend while he crushes on new neighbor Leon, who is battling depression. Meanwhile, Cal's media expertise puts NASA's affiliation with a reality show to shame. While all these parts work in their moments, the overall effect feels a bit like bingeing on a television series in which important messages are relayed cleverly at a surface level. VERDICT Given the important issues raised--media responsibility, NASA and politics, friendship and romance, mental health--this has something for a lot of different teen readers.--Francisca Goldsmith, Library Ronin, Worcester, MA


Publisher's Weekly Review

Cal is a young queer man with a plan, building a following on social media and preparing for a future as a journalist, but his whole life turns upside down when his pilot father is chosen as an astronaut candidate for NASA's Mars mission. After his white family relocates from Brooklyn to a small town near Houston, Cal determines to adapt to his new life as best he can, tweaking his reporting to work alongside NASA's publicity department, necessarily appearing on the reality television show that follows the astronauts and their families, and making friends--and more than friends--with fellow "Astrokid" Leon, a brown-skinned gymnast. Stamper thoughtfully handles Cal's struggles to fit in with the other astronauts' "perfect families, fancy parties, and petty gossip," the stress of the mission, Leon's depression, and the spotlight of public attention. Despite the dramatic backdrop, this quiet debut is a openhearted novel that shows a realistic, imperfect queer relationship and a young man growing to know and to be true to himself even when everything is shifting around him. Ages 13--up. Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. (Feb.)


Kirkus Review

Gay romance goes interstellar in this quirky coming-of-age tale.After extensive experience as a social media reporter, high school student Cal, an aspiring journalist, has his dream internship with Buzzfeed tantalizingly within reach. Meanwhile, his father, a commercial pilot, applied to become an astronaut for an upcoming NASA mission to Mars, but the chances of being chosen are one in a million...and then it happens. Suddenly, Cal's life is turned upside down, and he finds himself ensconced in a Houston, Texas, suburb far away from his beloved Brooklyn neighborhood and best friend, Deb. Surrounded by picture-perfect NASA families, Cal worries that he and his parents are outclassed and out of their depth, especially since being part of a space-themed reality television show called Shooting Stars is part of the deal. When Cal meets Leon, a handsome brown-skinned gymnast and fellow astronaut's son, he begins to hope that this unexpected journey might be a new beginning. In his debut novel, Stamper crafts a sweet fish-out-of-water tale that also shrewdly explores the intersection between social class and modern media culture. Cal's mother's anxiety issues and the arguments over how much is too much to sacrifice for one man's dream humanize the story and help demonstrate the sharp divide between the life shown on camera and the one lived offscreen. Cal and his family are white.A charming and satisfying first novel. (Romance. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Seventeen-year-old Cal is in the catbird seat; his broadcasts using his FlashFame app have hundreds of thousands of followers, and he has been promised an internship with BuzzFeed, no less. Unfortunately, that all gets called into question when his pilot father is selected as an astronaut for NASA's Orpheus V project, requiring the family to move to Texas. It would seem that Cal's journalistic ambitions and desire to report on Orpheus V would be well served by this, but a channel called Star Watch has a contract with NASA for exclusive coverage of the project. A defiant Cal broadcasts anyway, despite a cease and desist order. And then he meets Leon, the son of another astronaut, and it's love at first sight. Their relationship is not without its glitches, however, and readers will wonder if the two teens can stay together. Ratcheting up the suspense, it appears that Orpheus V will lose its funding unless Cal and his broadcast can come to the rescue. Yes, Stamper's debut is not without its wishful thinking and improbabilities, but it manages to remain rooted in reality, thanks in part to its well realized characters and innovative premise. The result is a sweet-spirited romance that will capture readers' hearts and imaginations.--Michael Cart Copyright 2010 Booklist