cover image The Astronaut and the Star

The Astronaut and the Star

Jen Comfort. Montlake, $12.95 trade paper (372p) ISBN 978-1-5420-3260-5

The fun, original premise of Comfort’s debut—which pairs a NASA scientist with an up-and-coming film star—will draw readers in, but it takes some time to warm to the hard-edged heroine. Determined astronaut Regina “Reggie” Hayes has worked hard to be the first woman on the moon, but a disastrous media interview removes her from the short list of candidates for the upcoming mission. In hopes of rebuilding her reputation and proving herself a team player, she volunteers to train actor Jon Leo for his role in a space movie. A bit clumsy and, at first glance, not the brightest bulb, Jon is a cheerful puppy dog of a hero. His sunny disposition slowly grows on icy Reggie as they spend time together in a simulation moon base. Jon isn’t put off by Reggie’s cruel barbs—though some readers will be—and finds her intelligence and ambition highly attractive. Indeed, it’s refreshing that Reggie is the more professionally successful person in their relationship. Much needed backstory and character growth comes in the final quarter as the arrival of Reggie and Jon’s families offer a better understanding of what shaped them, making their romance more believable. This will win over readers who stick with it. (Mar.)