I know you’re not MEANT to judge a book by its cover, but let’s be honest here, we all do it, which is totally fine when it’s Life In Outer Space because the story is even more adorable than the cover. Seriously, how effing cute is it? I just want to frame the book and hang it on my bedroom wall because it’s so darn pretty, but then I’d want to read it all the time and I wouldn’t read anything else and I’d fail at my Goodreads challenge and it would be this whole thing.
So, wanna know what I love about this book? Of course you do, that’s why you’re here!
1. The language and dialogue is funny and young and on point.
I’ve seen LIOS recommended to fans of Rainbow Rowel and John Green and I can see why. These authors do have that language ‘thing’ down. You know that thing? I can’t explain it, but…you know. However, dare I say it; I think it’s more authentic in LIOS. *Gasp* *Shock* *Horror* yes I did just say that. But seriously, y’all need to get on the Australian YA authors because they absolutely nail it and don’t get the recognition they deserve.
2. There’s so much nerdy fandom stuff in it, it’s great!!
It reminds me of high school (I pictured good old Croydon S.C. the entire time I was reading it) because I was one of those ‘un-ironically enthusiastic about stuff’ people and, you know, high school was maybe not the best time for our kind but we kill it in the real world.
3. Those ship feelings. ‘nuff said.
4. It’s Australian
I mean…this is pretty obvious because that’s why we’re touring it but still…it is very ‘Melbourne-y’ and there’s a kind of road-trip-not-really-but-they-do-visit-cool-places-over-a-period-of-days. I just like that it’s Australian, not ‘Strayan if ya know what I mean.
5. ALL THE FEELS
It’s a fun read with a bit of romance, but it’s not fluffy or un-important, it still deals with important stuff and it has good characters and the structure is awesome and it has funny chapter titles and it makes you feel all the things and it’s just GOOD.
Life In Outer Space was one of those books that I’d-read-about-was-really-excited-for-hurry-up-release-date, then completely forgot about until I saw it sitting on the shelf in Dymocks. I was actually shopping with Annette at the time and we decided to treat ourselves to one book each (although let’s be real, I was going to buy it anyway). I started it a few days after buying it and ended up devouring it in one day. I loved it. It is a sweet, adorable and ridiculously charming story. It’s not often I read a book that made me laugh and smile as hard as this one did. And it was refreshing to read something that wasn’t too deep and didn’t leave me wrecked with sad feels for days after (not that I don’t love that), or worse; a book that fell short of my expectations and made me feel like I wasted my time on. I’ve re-read it twice since then and it makes me happy, you know? Just really happy.
Set in Melbourne, the story follows our MC Sam Kinnison, Star Wars + horror movie fanatic, and his small group of fellow geeks as they navigate their way through their penultimate year of high school. Sam is happy enough with the status quo, until new girl Camilla Carter walks into the IT office and turns his world upside-down.
I loved Sam’s voice. Melissa Keil hit the nail on the head with a perfect blend of humour and wit, and Sam’s confusion over how the effortlessly cool Camilla was changing things for himself and his misfit friends was very entertaining to read. She is just what Sam needs to shake him awake from his ordinary existence.
I also fell in love with stoic Mike, idiotic Adrian and quirky Allison just as much as Sam and Camilla.
‘Mike is beside me, expressionless and silent, as is his MO in any public setting. With his brown hair and brown clothes, Mike blends in to most backgrounds. I’m half-expecting him to develop the ability to change skin colour as well, like a cuttlefish.’
‘Adrian appears beside me, glaring down the corridor. He has his about-to-open-a-can-of-whoop-arse face on. Objectively, Adrian Radley has zero cans of whoop-arse to open.’
‘On my other side, Allison Winfield is doodling on her loose-leaf with a chewed on Hello Kitty pencil. She looks sideways at me and grimaces. She grimaces a lot. I don’t always understand why. But in spite of the Hello Kitty, I know that a habitual grimacer is one of my people.’
Some of my favourite parts:
– Sam’s method in his determination to get to the bottom of Mike’s ‘downward spiral’ (which is, of course, inspired by a movie) in the last quarter of the book. I was laughing my head off.
– The explanation of the Extremely Gay Weekend. Hahaha
– Sam and Camilla’s speeches to each other at the end of the book (yes, it’s such a movie cliche, but that’s precisely why it works in this book). Also I’m a sucker for declarations like that, not matter how unrealistic.
Life In Outer Space is everything you could want in a contemporary Aussie YA, so I hope you’ll give this book a go, if you haven’t already and hey, hope you have fun tome-travelling through the story with us!