Cover Image: The Gravity of Us

The Gravity of Us

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Member Reviews

This was really disappointing. I didn't care about any of the characters at all. The plot wasn't very engaging either. It felt a bit like K Ancrum's The Weight of Stars (which i didn't like) but with social media and reality tv (which i also don't like). Also the writing was just boring? And kinda basic? The whole time I was reading I was like i dont care i dont care i dont care i dontcareidontcareidiontcare!!
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I usually don’t enjoy books about teenaged boys, but this book is wonderful. I love the focus on Cal’s dreams and his changing life, versus focusing solely on his love life. The science, the truth, behind this story brings it to life in a way a lot of YA novels avoid. The fact that the book features an LGBT+ main character is refreshing. It’s wonderful to read about a driven young man that doesn’t conform to societal norms, who’s mind isn’t focusing on sex, who follows his dreams, and who supports his family even if he doesn’t want to. There were times I was sitting on the edge of my seat, times I wanted to cry, times I yelled with joy, and the peaceful, exciting hint of a happily ever after.
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look out, adam silvera! phil stamper's debut novel is coming in HOT in 2020, and you'd better watch out!

stamper's novel "the gravity of us" follows up-and-coming social media influencer cal as he is forced to move away from his home in brooklyn to houston so his father can compete for a spot on nasa's next mission to mars. devastated that he has to give up his home, his friends, and his upcoming internship at buzzfeed, cal sees no way in which his life could get better, especially when he finds out he will not be able to vlog any of his experiences in houston due to an nda his dad signed. but when he meets leon, the son of one another member of the space mission, maybe cal has new appreciation for houston -- and the life he can make for himself there.

from the first few pages, i knew this book was going to be special. cal as a character is hilarious and naive about so many things, but i saw a lot of my 17-year-old self in him. everything seems like a big deal all the time, both the good and the bad. and i appreciate that stamper was able to communicate this period of adolescence so perfectly.

i especially loved the tension between cal and the starwatch team, as it was a strong critique of news media. having just finished binging 'the morning show' on appletv+, i had all these newly realized thoughts about the news industry, and it was nice to delve into another side to this issue with new characters and a different set of challenges.

this story is special, and these characters are ones i will remember going forward. please check this book out when it is released in february!

mega thanks to netgalley and bloomsbury for the free copy for review!
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This was such a cute story. It was a quick read, with interesting characters and a compelling plot. I did find the StarWatch recaps to be a little hard to follow, but I think that was because of its an arc, and not the finished copy. Besides that, and a few instances where it felt like the author could have spent more time elaborating on what was going I found that I really enjoyed the story, and almost wished it had been a little longer. Also, Leon and Cal are my favorite couples ever.
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The Gravity Of Us is an excellent story with many elements that will engage readers. The prevalence of social media in the storyline will feel relevant to students as will the developing romance and the exploration of mental health. The space travel aspect is fascinating and makes this story unique. Highly recommended.
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I was very skeptical when I first started reading this book, simply for the fact that the whole space thing wasn’t my usual preference. I truthfully requested it because I love anything gay (LGBTQA+). Once I got I into it, and learned more about the story behind the space mission, I was intrigued by the journalism aspect, and Leon and Cal’s relationship. Learning about Leon’s truth as well as Cal’s feelings for Leon and the whole mission in general, I loved who they were as characters in the story. My only reason for rating it 4 stars, and not 5, is that I felt like Leon and Cal’s relationship was not only predictable, but it became eminent too quickly. More of a build up would have been more probable, rather than all this occurring over the span of a few weeks. Overall, it was a great book, and Phil Stamper, I adore you!
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Oh, this book! This book bordered on perfection, in my mind. I was a kid who grew up obsessed with the space program of the 1960s, much like Calvin Sr., and I loved that this book allowed me to be transported to an alternate present in which like-minded people were trying to recapture the excitement of space exploration. I loved the diverse cast of astronauts, and the ways that their families' experiences mirrored, in some ways, but greatly diverged from, in other ways, the families of the astronauts of the 60s. But most of all, I loved Cal, Leon, Kat, and Deb. I loved how their experiences of friendship and new love felt so true to the current moment, and I loved how much I rooted for all of them from the moment I met each of them. 

I love how this book tackles mental health issues without feeling preachy, and that it centers a queer romance without being about "coming out." As someone with depression and anxiety, I love how authentic the narratives around each felt, and the growth that Cal experiences over the course of the book as he learns to be present for the people he loves with these mental illnesses without trying to "fix" them was handled so well -- I think the book will be a great resource for those who are themselves learning how to best support a loved one dealing with depression or anxiety. But also I loved how many times the book made me giggle, sigh, and squeeeee with delight, because apparently I am a hopeless romantic!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the characters. The author also dealt with the subject of mental health very well and crafted flawed characters that felt realistic. My one main issue was that the romance was a bit rushed, a little too insta-love, but it didn't detract from the story in my opinion. This book also got me out of my current reading slump, so I'm very grateful for that.
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NASA + gay brought me to this book. 

Lots to like beyond that though - especially want to plug the
thoughtful navigation of mental health issues (and how they play out in relationships), family dynamics, and just transitions in general. Also lends itself to feeling relevant with the social media slant of the MC. 

I had a tinge if diappointement overall (maybe my excitement of space and gay stuffs was too high and not fair though). I also was slightly disappointed in the MC voice and the love story pieces felt like attempts to write love but didn’t quite give me the feels I was hoping for. Maybe I’m old and it was solid teenage voice for both of those critiques or maybe it’s just not the MC for me, though? I can easily see that being the case.

All that said, the plot idea was my favorite part. Fun and engaging concept and I would definitely still pass this on to students! 

3.5 for me. 

Thaks to Netgalley and the publishers for a copy of an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I love a good YA LGBTQ+ novel, and one that has to do with the media attention surrounding "public" figures and reality shows can't go wrong. The novel follows Cal, who is forced to give up a Buzzfeed internship and a popular live streaming channel because his father is selected to potentially go to Mars. So he has to leave behind his best friend, his hopes and his dreams in New York and go to hot and humid Houston to be part of a media circus. But here he meets Leon, a fellow child of an astronaut and the child of the man who is father is competing against. 

The novel touches on mental health issues and that there is no quick "fix" to being happy and whole. Anxiety is real and it shows it well. The relationship dynamics in this novel are interesting (particularly the parents), but I felt that the two main characters got together a little too quickly, especially given all the media attention surrounding them. That being said, them getting together quickly just meant there was more of their interactions to view. I also liked how the portrayal of social media is used positively, lately most depictions of social media use in novels seem to exacerbate the issue and make things worse. 

The novel also touches on feeling powerless, because you can't fix everything, and you especially can't fix other people and you certainly can't save them. All you can do is try your best and not regret the choices you made along the way.
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his was so beautiful and thought-provoking!!

Cal is a successful social media journalist with over half a million followers. But he doesn’t just make wry or cynical observations, or talk about the latest trends or restaurants in his Brooklyn neighborhood or in NYC. He really uses social media to make a difference, and played a huge part in getting younger people interested in the last presidential election. And people noticed—he landed an internship with BuzzFeed he can’t wait for.

But his whole life is about to be turned upside down. Call’s father has just been selected as an astronaut for a possible NASA mission to Mars, so the agency is relocating all of the astronauts and their families to Houston, to try and recapture the camaraderie of the early days of the space program.

Cal isn’t prepared for the media frenzy surrounding the space program, and although he’s technically not supposed to do any more social media broadcasting from Houston, he can’t resist putting his own spin on things, which puts him in the middle of a battle between NASA and a trashy media program that somehow has gotten an exclusive to cover the astronauts.

Life isn’t all bad, though, as Cal meets Leon, the son of another astronaut, and they fall for each other quickly and intensely. But Leon has his own struggles to deal with, and when Cal realizes he needs to use his online fame to right some wrongs, he doesn’t realize how that might put other things at risk, including his relationship with Leon.

Can we save those we care about or do we have to let them do that themselves? What are our obligations to those we love?

Phil Stamper’s book is so good, full of the flush of first love, the emotional struggles many have to deal with, and the excitement of getting to explore unknown territory. I have been trying to get an ARC of this for a while so I was so excited to finally get it. His writing is fantastic, and this story is compelling from start to finish. It's always nice to find a story where the characters' sexuality isn't cause for scandal or emotional crisis, it's just another aspect of their lives.

NetGalleyand Bloomsbury USA provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

This book publishes February 4, 2020.
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This was a pretty standard YA contemporary romance with a shift to feature LGBTQ characters and an interesting backdrop within the NASA program and the reality show drama. However, it was pretty predictable and nothing in particular jumped out at me. The ending felt like everything wrapped up nicely with a little bow and all of the problems were solved, even if it didn't feel entirely believable or realistic. Cal was kind of frustrating within the story - his constant need to fix everyone around him while ignoring their thoughts or feelings was a bit off putting and his treatment of Deb, his friend in NYC, was disappointing. His subsequent character growth was a nice change, but again felt predictable within the story. The writing was solid and the story was enjoyable however, and if you are a big fan of YA romance stories, I'd say this one is worth giving a shot.
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In this contemporary (slightly speculative?) YA novel, Cal and his family move to Texas for his Dad to work for NASA. He is a Brooklynite with an avid social media following and a dream of becoming a journalist, which doesn't initially jive with the move to Clear Lake.

I found the premise of this book interesting, if a bit kitschy. A reality show! NASA! A pretentious, social-media-famous teenager! Instalove!

Okay, those last two things were things I didn't like about the book. First, I found Cal overly pretentious and annoying and I never felt a connection with him, not even in the end. I especially don't like in YA stories when technology plays heavily and the teen things every adult is totally inept - it feels stale because that is not my experience with teenagers. (Also the character describes everyone's clothes... a lot. It was never said he particularly likes fashion so I didn't understand.) Overall, he just felt very two-dimensional to me, and all the other characters felt one-dimensional, even Leon.

I wasn't sure why they felt a connection immediately, I never felt like this was explained. (In an aside, I think the ARC I had had missing parts, so maybe that was part of the problem?) And neither of them treated the other very well. Overall, their relationship just felt very underdeveloped.

Overall, it was a fun book, but it suffered from some issues around characterization and believability to me.
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Cal's a social media teen journalist with over half a million followers and a summer internship at Buzzfeed until his father comes home and announces that he's been selected as the newest astronaut on NASA's mission to Mars and the family's moving from Brooklyn to Houston. The hype surrounding today's astronauts resembles that of the 1960's, only this time it's reality programming with 24/7 coverage everywhere. When Cal meets Leon, the son of another astronaut, there's an instant attraction. And when Cal discovers some secrets about the upcoming mission, he has to get to the truth without hurting his family or his new relationship. A charming YA love story set in Houston - I loved it!
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3.5 Stars - Although the romance felt a bit rushed - it was still sweet and I appreciated Leon's character so much.  Stamper did a fantastic job of tackling a difficult topic like depression in a way that was not only sensitive, but a testament to what many teens may be feeling themselves.  This is also a fantastic commentary on the power of social media and reality television - something that is certainly relevant today - providing an excellent opportunity for teen readers to draw parallels and discuss.  Ultimately, a great addition to YA collections.
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I can not recommend this book enough!! I’m a big fan of the newest YA books that feature LGBTQ characters where the plot doesn’t entirely revolve around that premise. These teenagers simply have relationships and friendships as their hearts lead them. The romance was also not the key plot of the book which I really appreciated. The NASA subplot was fascinating, just enough information to keep the casual reader interested without being overwhelming with details too hard to understand. Each character was developed well, aside from the main characters dad - I do think it fell a little flat to have him so uninterested in the main characters life at the beginning, so dismissive, then suddenly be to happy family father at the end.
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Cal dreams of being a journalist and he’s well on his way to a promising career. It’s his senior year, he has half a million followers on his FlashFame app, and has an internship for Buzzfeed lined up. Everything is going as planned. That is until Cal’s dad is accepted into HIS dream job, with NASA, working on a highly-publicized mission to Mars. Now Cal must leave NYC and go to Texas, abandoning his plan, and become part of the image of the “perfect American family” for the cameras that are watching their every move. 

Expecting to hate every thing about the move, what Cal doesn’t anticipate, is meeting Leon. His mom is another astronaut on the mission with Cal’s dad. Soon, he finds himself over the moon and falling hard for Leon. When ulterior motives are exposed in the program , Cal has to decide how he’s going to shed light on the truth, and how to avoid hurting those he cares about the most. 

This was a very cute book and easy to read. I did see some say they didn’t like Cal’s character and found him selfish. I completely understand that, but I also got his point on a lot of things. I remember being that age and feeling the rebellion and angst against my parents. As you get older you realize all the crap you put your parents through and reading this at 26 it makes me laugh. I think Cal has great character development throughout this book, especially considering everything. It’s nice to see an ambitious character at such a young age. Also, I’m all for the gay love in this book 🌈 I think it’s very important to normalize different sexualities in books and TV shows for the younger generation. It has to feel good to read this and think “hey, these people are like me.”
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This book was so sweet and good and all the wonderful things. Space and love and great family dynamics. It was perfect.
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