Genre: Sci-Fi Age Range: YA Star Rating: 4 stars Series: Standalone CW: depression and trauma in a parent
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.
Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.
But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?
Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
THE LONELIEST GIRL IN THE UNIVERSE is a slowly building thriller. I absolutely loved the careful balance of tension, hope and unease that made this such an engaging read.
The start implies that maybe you should expect an unusual mix of quiet but space survival sci-fi (I use quiet to mean no galactic stakes and missing the space battles and defined enemy of space-opera). An old ship on the long haul is the only thing keeping her alive, and space is full of death traps, not to mention the isolation of being alone with a good year round trip to get an answer.
Then the messages from Earth change and the spaceship starts to glitch. It really builds a sense of unease. What does the Earth want? Will the spaceship survive long enough for Romy to meet J?
Then her Romy’s bad dreams bleed into real life, and the psychological aspect ramps up. I almost didn’t want to go to sleep because I was so on edge. It’s so masterfully done that I hardly noticed the slow build until events suddenly happen in frantic succession, and the thriller vibes really pay off. Because it’s been built to subtly, it was hard to define where is switched from the quiet sci-fi to psychological thriller but it wasn’t jarring at all.
This is a book told through multi-media – a mix of more traditional narration as well as the emails sent between Earth and the two ships and Romy’s fan fics. Because they’re all the same sort of format, it doesn’t stand out the way audio transcripts of interviews (etc) can. Instead the sterile emails add to to the atmosphere and the fan-fics give a glimpse into Romy’s deep-seated desire for connection and love.
Read my reviews of other books by Lauren James:
The Watchmaker and the Duke:
- THE STARLIGHT WATCHMAKER and THE DEEP-SEA DUKE (#1 and #2)