Published by HarperTeen on July 3, 2018
A surprising and gripping sci-fi thriller with a killer twist
The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.
Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.
Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone….
Now nominated as a YALSA Quick Pick!
I have never been the biggest fan of science fiction books, which anyone who scans my Goodreads shelves can tell you. It’s not that I inherently don’t like science fiction, it’s more that it has this tendency to be so dry and boring and slog on and on and onnnnn. When I picked up Illuminae last year, though, I realized that there was this whole other genre of science fiction that was actually interesting and I could follow it, it wouldn’t put me to sleep out of boredom. So I’ve been challenging myself to pick up a sci-fi book every now and then, pushing myself ever so slightly outside of my comfort zone full of contemporary fluff and murderous spouses. (I just realized that I read some weird shit).
Thankfully, The Loneliest Girl In the Universe subverted my expectations, and I couldn’t be prouder.
How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend
Our narrator, Romy, is the titular loneliest girl in the universe. She was born on a space station headed straight for a new planet to colonize – Earth II – and after an unfortunate accident killed both her parents, she is the only one that can land safely on this new planet and begin life anew for herself and the hundreds of embryos stashed in statis on the ship. That’s a lot of pressure on a sixteen year old, y’all.
Romy is sassy, and incredibly smart. She can do quantum physics, and yet her favorite thing to do is write fanfics based on her favorite show (sort of like a hybrid between Bones and Zootopia … wow that got weird really fast). This ship singlehandedly relies on Romy to keep it running safely, and she is up to the challenge, daydreaming of what it might be like to have a place to rest her head that’s on terra firma.
So Romy is pretty damn surprised when suddenly she receives notice that NASA is sending out a vessel, designed to link up with hers and transport them both to Earth II. She’s even more surprised when she discovers that the boy in question is 22 years old and insufferably handsome, not to mention he loves her favorite show too and even sends her the new seasons she hasn’t been able to receive!
Unfortunately for our dear, sweet Romy … things are not as easy as they seem.
The Bottom Line
James is so good at making us feel Romy’s emotions. I felt cold, helpless and empty. I felt lonely and afraid and nervous – I felt it all. I even felt her teenage jitters as she began to fall for J, the sexy boy next door … if the boy next door is “next door” as in a space station over.
As the two space stations move closer and closer, and J’s is almost ready to dock and join up with hers, things get stressful. Because in this case, when two become one nothing as amazing as the Spice Girls imagine seems to happen.
When 2 become 1, some shit’s about to go down in space!
If I say much more, I’ll start giving you spoilers which I am vehemently opposed to doing. So let me say this much:
- females are strong as hell
- badass feminist representation
- mental health address is A+
- still unclear on how periods in space work though
- damn nature, you scary
Don’t judge this one by its blurb. I only took off the one star because the ending was a little too “big red new car bow” for me, but not enough to detract a ton. If GoodReads let me do 4 1/2 stars, this book would get it.
“Is no life at all better than the constant fear and fight for survival I face every day? I don’t know. If a life of fear isn’t worth living, then why should I carry on? It’s not possible to be more afraid than I am right now.”