Book Review: The Gravity of Us

Phil Stamper

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

published: 14th May 2020
spoilers? not really


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.

I hadn’t yet thought about coming back, really, because I never thought about leaving.

Galley provided by publisher

Is there anything sadder than when one of your most anticipated reads turns out to be a massive “it’s not you, it’s me” book? That is, unfortunately, what happened with The Gravity of Us.

The book follows Cal, who is uprooted from his life in New York City after his father is accepted into NASA’s Mars landing program. In Texas, he meets Leon, the son of another astronaut, and falls in love (very fast, if I may say, but hey. It’s in the blurb, I can’t really complain).

First things first: I really didn’t like Cal all that much. My initial impression of him was that he was kind of a brat, and that didn’t really change. Sure, after about a third, he became less selfish and all (or it was less obvious), but that first impression stuck. So, you can see why I might have had fun. But also, he’s 17, he’s kind of entitled to be a bit immature at times, and I think part of that is just me having a few years’ life experience on him, part of that is just that I wouldn’t react in the same way as he did. So yeah. Don’t let this point make you decide not to read the book.

Because it is a pretty cute book. I definitely liked the cast (barring Cal, as discussed) a whole lot, and it did keep me interested throughout. Even if Cal’s compulsive meddling sort of frustrated me (but you can see where that comes from, not-so-stable home life, arguing parents, you get it). Leon and Kat were probably my favourites, though I actually liked Cal’s dad a lot (somewhat perversely as well, given that he wasn’t the nicest guy). I definitely wanted to see more of Cal’s relationship with his dad – a lot of that development feels like it happens off the page, and I wanted more from it.

As for the rest of the book, sure everything feels a little, shall we say, unlikely, as in, you sort of have to suspend some disbelief at times (or I did, at least). But hey. It’s YA lit. I’m here for a good time not a serious time.

And also space! What’s not to like.

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Gravity of Us

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