Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont (AUS)
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: Australia, film geek, falling in love, friendship, parents
Format read: Review copy, originating with Mandee at Vegan YA Nerds.
Summary: Sam has three best friends, loves films, and wants to be a screenwriter. He’s totally okay with flying under the radar at school but not so okay with his parents, who are constantly fighting lately. When new girl Camillia shows up at school, he doesn’t think anything of it (except well, she’s gorgeous) until she becomes a part of their group and one of his closest friends. His life shifts from routine to unexpected with Mike’s mysterious behavior, his feelings for Camilla, and all those other changes that come along with high school.
If Sam saw my movie collection or knew that I barely got through the first Star Wars film, he wouldn’t make fun of me. Instead he would politely suggest we watch it, fill me in on all kind of behind-the-scenes facts, and make it a totally enjoyable experience, I’m sure. Enthusiasm like his can only be infectious and in Life in Outer Space, it totally is. While I felt a little out of my element with all Sam’s film references at first, I caught on and found myself totally enjoying them (and laughing too).
I think I might actually be a little bit in love with Sam. His love of movies reminded me of Dawson (I hope you know who this is) but he was never obnoxiously confident or super melodramatic. He internalized a lot, and I think that made his character completely endearing. Because he legit has no idea what to do when his best friend Scott starts acting super weird and distant, and he’s even more at a loss when he starts to fall for the person everyone wants to be friends with, Camilla.
Keil does a great job of introducing so many elements of life in one book: parents having problems, friends falling in love, the fear of what to do after high school is over, absent parents, not being afraid to try new things. It’s actually amazing how much is seamlessly (and thoughtfully) woven through this Life in Outer Space. It’s a true snapshot of life and all the messy feelings that come along with it.
There’s also this loyalty amongst friends that you don’t see too much in books these days. Sam is the guy you want in your corner. Even if it takes him a little time to react and confront someone, he truly cares about his friends and their well-being. You can tell that Scott, Adrian and Allison felt the same way; they all had each other’s backs and weren’t afraid to be honest with each other when they needed a good dose of it. Growing up is tough on friendships, and that was so apparent here.
Life in Outer Space is a book that I wanted to buy all of my friends (especially the ones who would love all the Star Wars jokes and horror movies). It had so much charm, so much heart, and reminded me why I loved to read so much and how sometimes book characters feel like your friends. This is not one to miss.