This is the second book I've read from the ABA Shortlist for 2019. There is no favouritism in which book I read first, it's purely based on availability from the school library.
The title of the book is perfect, because it says exactly what the story is about. Imagine feeling like you are the only person floating through the solar system on a mission that you were never meant to be on. With limited experience, Romy, at the tender age of sixteen, is in charge of a spaceship. There is no one else left alive on the ship and she is hurtling through space to an unknown planet. That alone, sent warning bells rattling in my head.
From the beginning, you feel Romy's intense anxiety about the situation. I thought the author really captured how anxiety and panic attacks can ruin your life. There are days within the story where Romy just wants to hide in bed all day and you are with her all the way. You feel her intense loneliness and lack of power over her own destiny. You can't help but think she is doomed. Romy's single source of communication with Earth is by email and that is damaged after a second spaceship is launched to help her finish her mission. Romy finds herself only able to communicate with a boy called J, who appears to be in charge of the other ship.
The book is a modern epistolary novel, told in email form, which is something I love. I miss the old style epistolary novels, but with the invention of social media, authors are using every method they can to keep the genre alive.
And WHOA what an ending! It was EXPLOSIVE! I didn't see any of it coming and I'm usually really good at seeing the earlier signposts and guessing. Romy might be young, but she shows herself to be extremely determined and feisty when it's needed.
I really really really enjoyed this book. So much more than I thought I would, that I actually read it in two days! I've never had much interest in space, but Lauren has left me fascinated by it since reading this one.
If space and science fiction are your thing, then you will love all the books by Lauren James. As Lauren progresses in her writing career, I can see her becoming YA SCIFI QUEEN!
And thank you to Walker Books, I can read Lauren's next book, The Quiet at the End of the World, which is out in March, very soon.