Loneliness can feel like floating away when your only friends are the stars and the voice of a person you’ve never met.
Romy Silvers is the only survivor on the spaceship speeding away to Mars to establish the first human colony on Mars. After a mysterious incident, the space-born baby of a pair of astronauts shares her experience as she navigates the biggest experiment NASA has ever made. But, the lonesome nature of almost her entire life is suddenly interrupted by the news of another spaceship that’s catching up to hers, to finally join her in her crusade across space.
Sooner than she realises, Romy is falling in love with the boy in the other spaceship. But, what does she really know, when their only way to communicate is through messages that take months to arrive from one another?
The pacing of the story seems to be a little slow at first, as Romy introduces us with plenty of details about what her daily life on the spaceship is like. Nonetheless, when the action starts rolling: it snowballs. You will definitely struggle to put down the book as the mysteries unfold and unwanted truths seem to come to life before her.
I personally found this story quite interesting and original, despite the fact that sci-fi films and books seem to be focusing especially on daily life on space and the exploration of human nature. However, James’ novel feels really fresh and light for readers of almost all ages.
Romy is one absolutely amazing character that so many props are due to. She’s real and raw. She’s independent but so incredibly desperate to have someone reach out. She may sometimes seem a bit pathetic, but wouldn’t we all be so if we ever experienced what she did? In my book, she deals with everything in the best way her super defined personality ever would. And she rocks while doing so, honestly.
And, well, since this is only narrated by Romy, I would’ve liked to experience other narrators, surely. Yet, I do understand that the nature of the story itself and how it unfolds before the reader acts PERFECTLY precisely because we’ve only ever experienced Romy’s world. We really do come to bond with the protagonist in this novel and feel her in all of her emotions- yes, even the cringey fangirling moments, because she is just a teenager after all.
Let’s be honest here. The whole book is pretty much set in a spaceship. I don’t know aero-physics. But, the things sounded like they made sense. Right?
Jokes aside. Lauren knows how to convey the sense of closeness with the environment Romy finds herself in throughout her entire life, and while the tension keeps growing and your heart quickens with the action and mystery, the walls of the aircraft almost feel like they are closing in on you as well. Basically, the entire setting is absolutely perfect for the way this story was crafted.
Lauren James style in this novel is clear, straight-forward and properly reminiscent of how teenagers actually talk. Even if they’re astronauts. We do get a mix of formats within the novel, as we get to hear voice-memos, read e-mails and listen to Romy’s inner monologue. This helps with creating a more realistic and believable storytelling and receiving experience overall. James is attentive to plot more than to minimalistic details that just help create a clearer image. Every seemingly extra detail we receive actually helps the reader with understanding Romy’s experience as the only surviving crew member in her ship.
As I previously mentioned, many contemporary sci-fi stories seem to be focusing on human nature and our relationship with outer-space. On the opposite end of the scope, we have Lauren James who, indeed, focuses on isolation, but more than so, focuses on a thrilling coming of age story in the middle of the universe. An orphan who’s piloting Earth’s hope for planetary colonization whilst trying to learn how to interact with other humans and what love really is.
YOU MIGHT LIKE «THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE» IF YOU LIKE:
-Films: «The Maze Runner» (2014) & «The Fifth Wave» (2016).
-Books: «Ender’s Game» by Orson Scott Card & «Children of Blood and Bone» by Tomi Adeyemi.
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