Saturday 30 December 2017

{Review by STELLA}

Lauren James’s The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a gripping teen read. What seems to be a teen romance via remote communication has complex psychological layers and a thrilling climax. Romy Silvers is sixteen and alone in space. The crew has died, her parents are long gone. Romy, born in space, on her way to Earth II, keeps in touch with NASA through a series of daily audio communications from Molly - messages that takes years to get to her. When she receives a message saying that Earth is at war and communications will have to cease, Romy’s link to any world outside the confines of The Infinity - her spaceship - are dashed. When another spaceship is launched, it seems like Romy won’t be quite as lonely as she feared. Romy strikes up a friendship with J via email. J’s spaceship, The Eternity, high-tech and faster than Romy’s, is due to reach her in a year. The novel opens with a countdown, 365 until The Eternity reaches The Infinity. As the days count down and J becomes a greater presence in her everyday life, Romy finds herself increasingly enamoured by J. Is it possible to fall in love with someone you’ve never met, who is travelling through light years to reach you? Romy is fascinated by Earth and keen to finally meet someone from Earth and to have someone to share the responsibility of the mission with. On The Infinity are hundreds of embryos in deep freeze ready for the new planet. Romy’s job, as the sole survivor, is to keep them safe until they reach Earth II. This is a fascinating read on several levels: the idea of being in deep space, isolated and bored - the days are scarily similar; the romance that is flourishing - is it real?: the psychological impact of what has happened; the reason why Romy is alone - you’ll have to read the book to find out -  raises questions about the pressure of responsibility. This is fast-paced, charming (Romy will be a hit with most readers), and quietly disturbing - the edgy climax moves the book from a space romance to a thriller of compelling motives. 

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