‘The Gravity of Us’ skillfully integrates romance and an intricate plot


Andrea Butler

“The Gravity Of Us” by Phil Stamper comes out Feb. 4, 2020.

Getting astronauts to Mars.

Discovering the unknown.

The joy of space exploration.

For many people, this seems to be just a faraway dream of the future, but for Cal Lewis Jr, it’s a reality he never expected to be involved with himself.

In the young adult (YA) book “The Gravity of Us” by Phil Stamper, Cal has everything figured out, from streaming to his half a million followers daily, to going to school to pursue a path as a journalist. When his dad is accepted as the twentieth astronaut in the Mars program, everything he ever worked for goes down the drain, and he will even lose some privacy, being a member of the Shooting Stars show that films the astronauts. It’s what got people interested in the space program, and ultimately, got NASA the money to send people to Mars.

Luckily, there are a couple of other teenagers where he needs to move, and one of them is very much Cal’s type. When things start to go south, Cal must decide whether or not to take a risk that could jeopardize everything, including his newfound love.

First off, the integration of a comprehensive plot and a romance was done well. Both aspects added to the other in a way that built up anticipation and climax, instead of one detracting from the other like many other YA novels I’ve read.

I also really liked how even though the couple was queer, that wasn’t what the plot centered around. Sure, that scenario has its implications, but the plot centered around the prickly situation that Cal was in, which made the book about a young man who discovers himself and a sweet romance, which has been done less than purely a love story centered around the problems of the character’s sexual preferences.

Another aspect I thought was done well was the negative sides of human nature that exhibited themselves in the side characters. Sometimes, people are way too generous to make sense for their current station, and it was nice to see some characters cared about themselves before the protagonist.

Additionally, the author touched upon aspects of being a teenager that people often ignore.

The only part that threw me off was the fact that Cal was technically in his senior year of high school, but there was no mention of a school in his daily life when he relocated. It didn’t detract from the result, but it was a bit confusing.

All in all, I enjoyed “The Gravity of Us,” thanks to all the elements blending in a way that created a complete story with a satisfying ending. 

The Gravity of Us” will be released on Feb. 4, 2020, and is available in both physical and electronic forms.

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