cover image The Gravity of Us

The Gravity of Us

Phil Stamper. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0014-4

Cal is a young queer man with a plan, building a following on social media and preparing for a future as a journalist, but his whole life turns upside down when his pilot father is chosen as an astronaut candidate for NASA’s Mars mission. After his white family relocates from Brooklyn to a small town near Houston, Cal determines to adapt to his new life as best he can, tweaking his reporting to work alongside NASA’s publicity department, necessarily appearing on the reality television show that follows the astronauts and their families, and making friends—and more than friends—with fellow “Astrokid” Leon, a brown-skinned gymnast. Stamper thoughtfully handles Cal’s struggles to fit in with the other astronauts’ “perfect families, fancy parties, and petty gossip,” the stress of the mission, Leon’s depression, and the spotlight of public attention. Despite the dramatic backdrop, this quiet debut is a openhearted novel that shows a realistic, imperfect queer relationship and a young man growing to know and to be true to himself even when everything is shifting around him. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Brent Taylor, Triada US. (Feb.) [/em]