Something Like Gravity

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

An intersting YA LGBTQ+ love story. Lots of unanswered questions when it came to Chris, which I would have liked a lot more clarity on. Enjoyed the characters and overall story. The writing was "iffy".
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I really wanted to like this book because the synopsis of it sounded amazing but i was only able to get to about 30 % of the book. I just couldn't connect with the characters. I will give this book another go in the future because I loved the synopsis so much that I want to be able to love the book just the same.
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Unfortunately, Something Like Gravity wasn't for me. I'd picked up this book because of the trans rep, and not only did I find that the rep was potentially harmful, neither Chris nor Maia's stories were particularly captivating to me, and I was bored for most of the book. 

The book is told in alternating perspectives from Chris and Maia, two teenagers living next to each other in a small town. Both Chris and Maia are dealing with two very life-changing events, which is what brings them together: alienated from the rest of their community, they find comfort in each other because they understand what it's like to be alone without knowing the history behind it. That they don't know each other's histories is, I believe, the driving point behind their relationship, and it also makes their whole conflict possible: namely, both characters keep secrets from each other throughout the book. 

Personally, I found Chris and Maia both to be quite frustrating during the book. I did sympathize with both of them, however: both are going through a lot, and it makes a lot of their behaviours understandable. Both of their storylines reflected each other in a very poetic way, which I liked: it definitely lent more weight to the story. 

I was, however, definitely the most disappointed by how Chris was written. I'm not transgender, but a lot of the content surrounding Chris made me really uncomfortable. There's a couple ownvoices reviews that echo these thoughts here and here and I suggest you read those because they say it better than I could ever. But there is a scene where Maia spies on Chris as he changes, which is how Maia finds out that Chris is trans, and I feel like that's such a common yet harmful trope which was really uncomfortable to read about. Both Chris and Maia are hiding things from each other, but Chris being trans is treated with as much gravity as Maia lying about her hobbies, and it felt very wrong to me to equate the two. In addition, I'm just ... tired of reading about queer pain in contemporary novels, and tired of queer identities being held as hostage, so to speak. I know that the author is a lesbian, but she's cis and so is Maia, and I felt like Maia acted like Chris being transgender was something she used against him. Which isn't something I particularly enjoy reading about. 

This is also a very character-driven novel, which meant that because I wasn't too into the characters, I was not into the plot, either. Amber Smith's writing is beautiful, and I've heard a lot about her previous books -- so I was disappointed that I couldn't get into the rest of the book like I wanted to. 

I feel like Something About Gravity had a lot of potential behind it, but I didn't find either of its main characters particularly interesting. In addition, the portrayal of Chris as a trans person played into a lot of harmful plotlines and tropes about trans people that made me really uncomfortable.
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I really loved this book and the message it sends. If you get a chance I highly recommend this book you won’t be disappointed
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Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith is a contemporary novel all about first love. The characters are dynamic, and the topics are hard-hitting. This is a perfect novel for fans of Becky Albertalli to add to their summer TBRs.

This book tells the story of Chris, a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time, and Maia, a girl who has recently lost her sister. Both characters deal with hardship, and the story is ultimately about their self-discovery and journey to find their place in the world. I enjoyed the use of dual narration, as it is interesting to experience their first meeting and their view of the world from differing perspectives. As well, this is one of the few books I have read in which the main character is transgender, and this representation is so important. I can’t speak to the book’s accuracy myself, but while the author is not transgender herself, I feel like the book does a great job conveying the plot and addressing related topics with sensitivity.

❀ WELL-DEVELOPED CHARACTERS

Both Maia and Chris are developed characters, and I enjoyed reading both of their narrations. Maia has just lost her sister, and she is obsessed with recreating Mallory’s photos I could really sympathize with her as the depiction of her grieving process is quite emotional. Personally, I liked Chris more than Maia because I didn’t agree with some her Maia’s decisions. Chris is a very patient character, and he doesn’t tell lies, unlike Maia. He is realistic, and watching him fall in love is so wholesome. I adored Chris, and I would definitely read a companion novel about him.

❀ BALANCE OF SOFTNESS AND SERIOUSNESS

One of the book’s strengths is the way it handles topics like assault and grief. There is a nice balance of softness and seriousness, and the mix of emotions brings a lot to the plot. Chris’s assault is not the main focus of the book, and I enjoyed how this event is not just used for the sake of adding a problem to the story. Instead, it highlights intolerance and brings awareness to the issues that the LGBT community continues to face. Ultimately, these hard-hitting topics are well-executed and thoughtfully written.

Something Like Gravity is a book that is both cute and meaningful. There is great representation, and the main characters are complex. As well, the book discusses more serious topics, and it does so in a delicate manner. This is such an important read, and I would recommend it.
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This coming-of-age story was both heartwarming and heartbreaking in turns. It focuses on Chris and Maia. Chris is a young transgender man who has moved from Buffalo, NY to Carson, NC for the summer. He has been struggling at home, having survived a serious assault the year before, and needs a change of scenery, some place he can figure things out. 

Maia lives in Carson, and is dealing with her own tragedy. Life in a small-town doesn't change much from year to year - everyone knows everyone else's business, except for Maia, things HAVE changed and they will never be the same. 

One fateful day, Chris and Maia's paths collide, almost literally, and this interaction starts a chain of events in motion that neither of them expected. 

This is a story about finding yourself, about reinvention, and about love. It is also a story of loss and of healing, of closing one door and opening another, and the lesson that even when things don't work out the way you hoped, that doesn't mean that they can't still be ok. 

Amber Smith writes with such heart, and emotion, that you can completely picture the story playing out in some small town somewhere as you read. It is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit, the power and strength that comes from embracing your truth, and that there is no such thing as "the right time". This book will touch your heart whether you are a teenager or an adult.
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I have mixed feelings about this book, because on one hand, I think it's so important and everyone should read it. But on the other hand, I had a few things to critique about it. I thought this book was going to be the kind of contemporary that would make me bawl my eyes out. It wasn't. 

To start with some things I don't like... Some paragraphs were just boring to me. When Chris was talking about space or when Maia was talking about Mallory, I'm sorry but I was bored. It's so funny because there are two instances in the book where both Maia and Chris ask the other "Am I boring you?" And the other is like, "No, not at all!" and I'm here reading like "I don't care about space!" Obviously, people who are interested in space might find it interesting, but I thought it was a failed attempt to sound deep. Also, I'm the kind of person who thinks everyone needs to see a therapist, especially when someone traumatic happens in their life. So, there were so many times where I just wanted the characters to see somebody, to talk to somebody, to communicate their feelings! But again, this is sort of a little joke of mine, yelling at the characters saying "Please see a therapist!! It would really help!!"

Maia was not that strong of a character in my opinion. I hated how she had no personality, and I was so excited when she mentioned liking Grease because it was finally the one time that she mentioned liking something. Even now, besides Grease, going tubing, and being a vegetarian, I really don't remember anything more about Maia's personality. Even in real life, people who don't have many dreams, interests, or passions kind of bore me, so Maia really was not interesting to me. Also, Maia turning everything around on Chris and telling him he lied too for not telling her he was trans is so akin to that scene in Love Simon where his friends get mad at him for not telling them he was gay lol. I hate hate hate everything about that trope. Also, Maia's story seemed a bit unfinished to me

But CHRIS on the other hand. Man, do I love that boy so so so much. One of my OCs is literally exactly like Chris (except his passion is marine biology), and I love my OC a lot, so of course I was bound to like Chris. I just think he's an amazing human with such a kind soul. I really don't think he did anything wrong throughout the whole book. You can argue that he wasn't treating Cole all that well, but I kind of don't blame him for wanting space. I mostly only liked reading from Chris' point of view, and I think the fact that he is trans was written so well. I know the trans friends I have that have struggled with a lot of the things Chris has struggled with that my cis people probably don't think about, and I think a lot of people will learn a lot from Chris. A lot of the time in books with trans protagonists, they are used to teach cis people about being trans. Chris was not like this and had his own passions, interests, personality, etc. I absolutely adore him. 

One scene that I really loved that nearly made me cry was when Chris finally talked to his mom at the end. Their whole conversation was sweet, relatable, emotional, and raw. One of the best scenes in the book. 

Also, off topic but the dog... I saw it coming... it still hurt. 

Overall, I think this book brings a great, rounded, new story that we don't really see in YA fiction. We need more trans characters, period. But, I like how in this novel, the trans character wasn't created for the purpose of educating cis people. I like how Maia was fine with Chris being trans (and didn't completely cut him off like I've seen in many other books with trans protags). I like the theme of timing, if you can fall in love at the wrong time vs the right time and what that means for the characters. As a person who has written three novels that take place over the summer, I know first hand that summer loves are hard to carry on into the rest of the year, and I like how this book wrapped up their relationship. But there were a lot of boring parts, and I wasn't as invested in Maia's story as I was Chris'. Still a good read, but not my favourite.
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