I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
Narrator: Joniece Abbott-Pratt
Published by Tantor Audio on April 20, 2021
Genres: LGBTQIA, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 6 hours 54 minutes
Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.
My top thoughts:
Although this definitely wasn’t what I was expecting – what was I expecting, though? I don’t know *shrugs* – I really enjoyed this story of teens basically growing up way too young and finding their way.
What I liked/didn’t like:
This has been classified as Sci-Fi by a lot of readers and I’d say it’s very lightly so – it’s more about a group of teens who have been hit really hard by tragedy, a lot of it surrounding space travel. You have Ryan, whose parents were NASA scientists and died in some sort of accident. So now she’s the guardian for her younger brother – who hasn’t talked since the accident – and his son, Charlie (an infant, born since the accident). At first appearances, they are a rough pair — and their friends appear just as rough — but actually they really grew up too fast and doing their best with the hand they were dealt. Ryan fights too much and has an attitude but she also is really smart and has a way with people.
Which is how she ends up having a teacher ask her to befriend Alexandra, another teen who has been robbed of her childhood. This is the part that I don’t love of the book – not Alexandra, she’s great, stubborn, angry, and also super smart – but the reason she’s all grown. Her mother, just a few months after giving birth – left on this space mission to basically go to the ends of the galaxy and never return. Just to send back transmissions, pictures, audio/video clips, etc. I can’t imagine anyone wanting to do that and especially to leave behind a child. And the company – Scout – that organized the mission of young girls (young so they will have more time to send transmissions, and girls because they tend to live longer) is getting ready to send another mission.
Anyway, the space thing is really just a backdrop to the story of these two girls and their friends navigating life, love, and growing up. I enjoyed watching them fall in love and while I was a little aghast at the Scout part of the story, I also really enjoyed how everything ended. I liked that we got to see them growing into themselves in really great ways.
I listened to this and Joniece Abbott-Pratt’s narration was really great. She’s a new to me narrator, but I really enjoyed the way she breathed life into these characters. She kind of reminded me of Bahni Turpin, another fantastic narrator. So I wouldn’t hesitate to listen to her again. There was one element that started off a little confusing, that probably comes across better in print. There are constant time stamps like – 2 minutes; 15 seconds; 1 day; etc – and with the narration it took me a few times to understand that it was just to show the passage of time. I’m still not sure I get how it enhances the book… perhaps simply because of how it ends? Or maybe it’s just lost in audio translation? Once I got used to it, it was less distracting, but a first it threw me off a bit.
Qualifies for COYER Fall Scavenger Hunt Item #12 – Read a book with a diverse character. There are quite a few in this book – Ryan and Alexandra are POC and also lesbians. There are also a few other LGTBQIA characters in the book, including a poly family.