The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

I don’t talk about it a lot here on the blog, but I am a huge nerd about space, specifically NASA and manned missions to space. When I used to work in TV news, my favorite thing was covering the space shuttle missions. I always held my breath during every take-off and landing, as yesterday’s anniversary of the Challenger disaster reminds us that space travel can still be extraordinarily dangerous. But it can also be truly wondrous. I loved watching the live feeds from NASA, and seeing the camera shot from the outside of the shuttle show the ground getting smaller and smaller, until suddenly you see the curvature of the Earth, and then the vast blackness of space. Ah. It gives me chills just thinking about it now!

Anyway, that’s probably part of why I loved Phil Stamper’s The Gravity of Us so much. Not only is it a delightfully charming LGBTQ coming of age story, but it also pays tribute to the wonder of space travel, and the brilliant minds behind exploring space and other planets. In a lot of ways, it felt like a love letter to NASA.

The concept of this book is what hooked me, but it was the characters and the heart of the story that really won me over. Look for The Gravity of Us in stores February 4th. Here is the official synopsis:

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

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