Life in Outer Space (Character Gift Exchange)

There’s nothing better than being completely charmed and surprised by a book.

When I first opened Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (a book I’ve had sitting on my shelf since May — I’m terrible), I had no idea I would fall for it so hard. It’s set in Australia (yay Aussie writers!) and tells the story of Sam and his friends. Sam is a total film enthusiast (kind of a Dawson but not as melodramatic) but sort of flies under the radar at his school. When the worldly and super gorgeous Camilla moves to town and becomes a part of their friendship group, Sam’s boring life transforms into quite the opposite. The friendships, the romance, and Sam’s thoughts (he’s hilarious) made this book so hard to put down. I loved all of it so much.

Since Camilla and Sam are such vibrant characters, I kept asking myself: what would they get each other for the holidays? So this is what you are going to be seeing today. I hope it gives you more insight into these awesome (genuine) characters and inspires you to pick up Keil’s book. (I’m pretty much want to gift this to everyone I know.)

Life in Outer Space Gift Exchange Sam to Camilla

Fujifilm Instax Camera | Bon Voyage Journal | Difference Between White & Saffron Dress

With Camilla moving around so much, she really wants some stability. Early in the book, the author talks about pictures she has up in her room and she’s hoping this is a way to show her dad that she really wants to say in town this time. I kept thinking how much these Instax pictures would look on her wall, especially with the new connections she is making with Sam and his friends.

The journal serves two purposes: Camilla travels a lot to see her mother but she also writes her own songs. I feel like she would be old school about it and write it in a book, instead of on a phone.

And the dress? Sam is too cute and seems to always notice what Camilla is wearing and how her hair looks. (She wears Princess Leia buns at one point, and he basically goes nuts inside.) There’s a yellow sundress that is mentioned a few times in the book, and who ever has enough yellow dresses? (I like the belt!)

Life in Outer Space Gift Exchange Camilla to Sam

Movie Monsters Guitar Strap | Give Empires a Chance T-Shirt | Star Wars Mad Libs |Film Listography | Slasher Movie Book

I feel like Sam would be so fun to shop for if he was my guy (or even just my friend). He wears vintage t-shirts, he loves movies, and during the book, he gets into music. Boys can be so hard to shop for but because his hobbies equate to an endless collection of things. I’m sad though because I saw a shirt called “future screenwriter” in a museum last weekend and I can’t find it online. Boo!

Honestly, I think Camilla is probably one of the most thoughtful and adventurous gift givers and I can only imagine what she would really do for Sam for the holidays.

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Hope you enjoyed this little feature today! If you are looking for a solid YA with a male POV that covers divorce, changing friendships, high school antics, popularity, and being scared shitless of falling in love? Life in Outer Space is where it is at! Be sure to check it out. Promise?

Life in Outer Space on Goodreads | Amazon

Estelle: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List by Amy SpaldingThe Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding ( web | tweet )
Publication Date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 352
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: California, family, theatre, moving, starting over
Format read: ARC from NetGalley via Publisher (thanks!)

Summary: When Devan’s father dies in a car accident, she is shipped off to Los Angeles to live with Reece Malcolm, the mother she never knew and the best-selling author that she has carefully collected facts about over time.  Getting used to living with her mom is one thing, there’s also fitting into her new performing arts high school (she’s a singer and actress), making new friends, and crushing on a guy that continues to puzzle her.

Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better book to be released on my birthday.

A main character who is an extreme theater geek (I was dying over all the references from classic Broadway to Troy Bolton a.k.a. Zac Efron), and a story that did an amazing job of balancing the lighthearted moments with the more serious ones?

Perfection!

Devan grew up in a house with a father who didn’t understand her interests or really talk to her and a stepmother who wouldn’t give her the time of day. When she discovered her mom was bestselling author, Reece Malcolm, she began compiling a list of facts about the woman who said very little to the media. So when Devan’s dad dies suddenly and she is sent off to live with Reece in Los Angeles, she’s not exactly sure what to expect. Can things really be  worse than the way they were before?

But she does know what she wants. She wants a warm mother who is going to wrap her in her arms and hold her, let her cry about her dad, and apologize as much as she can about never contacting her once in her sixteen years. Instead, Devan gets someone very standoffish, who clearly knows nothing about kids, and who is not going to easily indulge why she’s been so absent or what exactly happened between her and her father all those years ago.

Reece may make fun of Devan and openly admit that it weirds her out how much her boyfriend (Brad) wants to do “family things” with her yet she, no questions asked, gets Reece an audition at a great performing arts high school, takes her on shopping sprees (Devan loves fashion), and is pretty laidback when Devan starts to make plans with new friends. I really liked how atypical their relationship was. Because, gee, there is nothing normal about their situation or their relationship, and I’m glad no one was putting on airs about what their shared DNA should mean.

So on top of this new shiny (and frustrating) home life, Devan is also thrown into a new school. She’s mega-talented and takes this talent really seriously, and while not everyone is very supportive at first, Devan does get folded into a circle of friends (who have layered storylines as well) pretty immediately. (So unlike her last school.) I really liked her weighing how suddenly she should trust new people and let them in. She still had so,  much to figure out in her personal life… it wasn’t like she could just confide in anyone immediately. Even with boy situations, the author makes nothing black and white and that was so entirely REAL high school for me.

Amy Spalding writes The Reece Malcolm List in an incredibly intelligent way with flawed characters, intricate details, and a true love for theater. At 16, Devan may not have known everything about life — in fact, she often wavered between incredulous actions and wise observations about the world. Life isn’t always the happy song that musicals portray, not everything falls perfectly into place. And it takes time for people to let their guard down and to understand who they truly are. It’s like this ongoing journey, even for an adult like Reece who is hard to love and hard to get close to.

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