Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Gravity of Us (Phil Stamper)

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Rating: 3 Pfoten

”Look, I’m sorry you won’t be able to play on social media anymore, but this is real life.”
I choke back a laugh. “Real life? I have to give up my journalism, plus my entire life, because a reality show says so. You really think what I do is less ‘real’ than StarWatch?”

I think in many ways “The Gravity of Us” was different than I expected it to be and after thinking about it for a while and letting the book sink in I decided to give it 3 stars. Don’t get me wrong, 3 stars is still good and when you look it up in my rating system it will say that the plot and the characters were good but that I had some minor issues with the book. Which is exactly what happened in here. I really enjoyed the book but there were also some things I can’t overlook and need to address in my review. I have no idea if other people already did that but since this was Phil Stampers debut I’ll just add my two cents and hope that if he ever stumbles upon this review it will help him to write even more amazing books in the future. Because when it comes down to it “The Gravity of Us” was really good and a great debut. =)

So this said let’s talk about the awesome things in the book! First of all I’ve to say that I loved to get an inside look into press work. We didn’t just get a good glimpse at what it means to be an influencer/journalist on social media but also an idea of how big TV channels handle the stories they talk about. I really liked the ambivalence of a social media channel that is focused on telling the truth and trying to give people an inside look at the scientific facts vs. a TV show that only aims to get the hottest gossip and the highest click rate. And I’m not gonna lie, John Farrow and his Shooting Stars show really made me angry. It’s the perfect example of how inhuman people can become if they only see dollar signs. (view spoiler)

”I start taking note of everyone’s expressions: crisp, practiced, perfect. Are they all that good at faking it? Or do they actually buy into all this? I’m looking for a flaw, but I can’t find the reality behind the show.”

The second recurring theme of the book I really enjoyed was the background history of space travel and all the science that was a part of the story line as well. Whenever his father spoke about NASA and the history of space travel you could feel his enthusiasm and what it meant for him to be a part of this Mars mission and project. I found this to be very interesting and as someone who only heard the legends of the moon landing but never really knew about all the details – like for instance the fact that there was an entire village for the astronauts and their families – this was super intriguing. “The Gravity of Us” got me so curious that I decided to dig a little bit deeper into the history of space flight and to find out more about it. It’s definitely an interesting topic to dive into. =)

”But with Leon, the burning in my chest has never been so perfectly bright. So clear.”

As much as I enjoyed the focus on media, science and history I still have to say that this was probably also the reason why some of the other topics of this story fell kind of flat. For instance the love story between Leon and Cal felt very insta-lovey and didn’t have a lot of substance. I’m aware there’s only so much you can do when you want to write a believable relationship in a 300+ pages book, but those two were just going way too fast for my taste. Plus Cal never asked Leon if he was okay with revealing their relationship like that and consent (especially when all eyes are on you and you belong to the LGBTQ+ community) is very important. Another topic I would have liked to read more about was the mental health representation (anxiety & depression). It was broached with Cal’s mother and with Leon but Stamper never really dug any deeper. It was mentioned on the surface but in the overall story it was more like a footnote than an actual rep. I mean they both got help and therapy which is a good thing, but considering how severe the anxiety of Cal’s mom was I found it a little bit unrealistic? I know I’m probably a bean counter now, but I think that if you bring up a topic you also have to dare to address it and to dig deeper. Then again this is probably personal preference and I’m sure a lot of other people didn’t see it as an issue.

”I’m the one who does the fixing. I’m unfazed, unbothered. My resolve is a freaking rock.
But the rock is breaking. It’s cracked and worn, and I know it. But if Dad comes home and things get okay again, I can handle it.”

Which brings me right to the characters. I know Cal had a lot on his plate but I still can’t get over the fact that he basically ignored his best friend from the moment he became part of the Mars mission. I mean Deb was his bestie and went through so much but he didn’t even think about her? It’s something I really couldn’t relate to because my besties know about everything that happens in my life. (I’m being a bean counter again, aren’t I? *lol*) Anyway! The last thing I need to mention is the relationship between Cal and his father. I still don’t know how I feel about it because there was such a massive shift in where it started and where it ended that I have no idea if I liked it or not. I mean at the beginning of the book I couldn’t understand how Cal’s father could disregard his son’s life and social media presence so much because fathers should always support their children. But at the end of the book I realized that Cal and his mother didn’t support the dream of Cal’s dad either. They didn’t even believe that he would be able to become a part of the mission and when he did they were angry at him for uprooting them from their lives. So yeah, I understand both sides and I don’t know on which one I would stand. I guess it’s good I don’t have to choose sides because it worked out well for everyone in the end?! *lol*

4

All told “The Gravity of Us” was a really good story and I read it pretty fast. It’s was an enjoyable read I could pick up whenever I felt like it and no matter how long it took me to get back to the book, I never lost the thread. XD I loved the science, space travel history and the social media angle and I’m definitely looking forward to Phil Stampers next book! He’s an author to watch out for and I’m sure his next book will be even better! =)

Allgemein, Bookish Fox Knowledge

December Wrap-Up

Wrap Up

I’m really trying to be positive now that a new year has just begun so I’ll say it with all the joy and enthusiasm I can muster: December sucked. *lol* Big time! XD If I thought I wasn’t reading a lot in November, I’m almost ashamed of how little I read in December. I actually only manged to read two books and the only reason why „The Lost Apothecary“ fell into this month too was the fact that I FORGOT to add it to my November Wrap Up. Which says enough about the state I was in those last couple of months. *lol*

Like seriously! How could I forget to add it to my Wrap Up? Anyway I said I’d have a positive attitude in 2022 and I’ll try my best! So here I go! I’m typing this after spending two weeks in the blissful bubble named „home“ and I regret nothing! I only went out to go grocery shopping and to go for walks and I met my family and friends three times in total. I spent Christmas with my family, my sister’s family and my parents. Then I visited my aunts and uncle on Silvester and I met one of my besties. That’s it. (Mind you, technically speaking my country is still in some sort of lockdown because of Omicron) So if you’re asking yourself what I did on all those other days:

I cleaned my flat, I played with my kid, I did the laundry, I cooked for my family, I took naps… an indecent amount of them tbh but I was so exhausted I just needed them, I watched Netflix, I listened to BTS and watched some of their videos, I READ (Yes, I actually managed to finish two books I had on my „currently reading“ since August 2021), I edited videos, I wrote blog posts and reviews, I came up with about a gazillion ideas that need to be turned into practice and I just unwound from all the stress I had those last couple of months. Plus I started to do something against my allergies and asthma and I hope the therapy will work. In short: I enjoyed my vacation and I hope this energy will last until July because it will be the next time I can go on vacation.

So on that happy note let’s jump right into my monthly Wrap Up, shall we?! XD

Books read: 3 (3 books & 0 webcomic, 3 books… that’s gotta be the worst reading month ever)

Pages read: 915 (It was so bad I didn’t even manage to read 1.000 pages. *lol*)

Average rating: 3,67 (It seems like my December was pretty average as well.)

Books that were on my reading list: 0 ( 0 from 2019, 0 from 2020 and 0 from 2021. Umm yeah… what can I say? *lol* Mood reading is a thing? XD)

December Reads:

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The Lost Apothecary: 4 Pfoten

I really enjoyed reading this book and even thought the story was pretty simple I still wanted to know what would happen next. Also this book got me in a moral dilemma because on the one hand I pulled for the apothecary but on the other hand I couldn’t condone her actions. *lol* Tbh I still don’t know how I feel about the apothecary but I think that’s exactly why this book stuck with me and was so good to read. Also the cover!!! Look at this gorgeous cover. ❤

The Gravity of Us: 3 Pfoten

When I finished the book I was certain it would be a four paws read but then I had time to think about it and in the end it turned out to be 3. Don’t get me wrong, this book was great and had a lot of things I loved to read about: science, the history of space travel and social media and media in general. There were some things that felt slightly off though and they are the reason for my 3 paws rating. If you know me, you know that 3 paws is still a great rating and only means I had some issues with the book. This said I’m definitely going to read Phil Stampers next story! =)

Mexican Gothic: 4 Pfoten

I’m so glad I finally managed to read this! „Mexican Gothic“ was a book that had me intrigued from the moment I picked it up and I really loved the atmosphere in this book. I mean High Place is always surrounded by fog, stands next to a cemetery and the house is old and falling apart. Not to mention the weird Doyle family that inhabits it and is pretty hostile towards our MC. (And that is the understatement of the century. *lol*) So yeah, if you’re a scaredy fox like me I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.

Rankenzeile

How was your December? Did you read many books and were you more successful at finishing them than I was? *lol*  Which books did you read and did you enjoy them? Do we have some in common? How were your Christmas holidays? Were you as asocial as I was? (I don’t regret it, for once I really needed time for myself and away from others) Did you get books for Christmas and if yes which ones?

Talk to me and let me know! 😉

And as always take care and stay healthy and safe!

*hugs’n’kisses*

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The Sassy Library Fox