As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus. Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
I had seen people talking about this one a bit and I knew it was queer, which was enough for me to want to read it. But then I found out it’s about space. About the family’s of the astronauts who stay on the ground. It’s about space without ever actually going to space. I’m a huge fan of sci-fi, but this sounded just as cool as actually going up into space.
This book is adorable. I loved how it was so cute, while also meshing the real, hard reality of life for the astronauts and their families. Ah, it was good.
I loved Cal. He was real and he was such a great character. He also struggles with wanting to fix everything. He wants people to feel better and for situations to be made right. And wow, did I connect with that a lot. He prides himself on being a rock for everything. He’s the person who can fix everything. He has to figure out that it’s alright to not be alright, that it’s alright to crumble a bit. That it’s alright and things don’t have to be perfect. I loved, loved how his development played out. While it’s not explicitly named, I think he struggles with anxiety and I connected with his struggles so much. The way he thinks about things is so similar to how I sometimes think about things.
I also really loved Leon. He struggles with depression (this is explicitly mentioned!) and while it wasn’t a huge focus, I loved the rep. Leon isn’t sure what he wants to do with his life and he’s coming to terms with that. It’s fine not to know and I loved seeing his thoughts about it and seeing him be alright with that. I liked seeing him figure out, even if it was just a little bit.
I loved Cal and Leon’s relationship. It’s one of the cutest things ever. They are both trying to learn and grow with each other. They mess up, but they want to try. They want to be the best people they can be for each other and it was just so great to see. Plus, they were just so cute. I loved their relationship so much. It happens pretty fast, but it was more of an insta-crush and insta-attraction than insta-love, and I’m more on board for those!
Also, Cal’s mom has anxiety and it’s talked about throughout the book. It was honestly mindblowing, in such a good way, to see an older character struggle with mental illness. It’s so just there and so just fine. She’s learning to cope and she sees a therapist and she doesn’t love parties or social interaction but that’s alright because she tries her best. She avoids things sometimes, but she’s working on it. I’m rambling, but I just really loved that it was part of the book.
It’s weird, but I really liked the family drama. Cal and his family are rocky. But, I liked that they want to work through it. That they want to try their best. It was cool to see a family be less than perfect. They’re just living and they just want to do there best. And I really liked seeing that.
Alright, so space. The ground space aspect was so, so cool. I loved learning more about what happens more behind the scenes and it was honestly no less fascinating than space itself. So many people work so hard to get people in space.
The journalism part of this book was really cool too! Cal wants nothing more than to be a journalist. I loved seeing him so his thing and I loved how that plotline unfolded. I don’t want to say much more because of spoilers, but it was so awesome to read.
Yeah, I really liked this book haha. It actually made me interested in dirt and all kinds of things I thought I thought were boring. I highly, highly recommend checking this one out.
Thank you for reading!