The Loneliest Girl In The Universe by Lauren James
Publisher: Walker Books
Release Date: September 7, 2017
Summary: 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 . . .
My Rating: ★★★★☆ ½
My Thoughts: The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is more than just a sci-fi! Its a thought-provoking, atmospheric read (set in space) that blends elements of mystery (& maybe thriller), explores loneliness, and delivers a unique plot sure to keep you hooked till the very end!
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe has been on my TBR ever since last year! Both the summary & beautiful UK cover had me eager to read this book!
So, with the recent release of it here in the US, I felt it was time to finally give this book a read and I really loved it!
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe follows 17-year old Romy Silvers (the first human to ever be born in space) who is the only one aboard The Infinity, a ship developed by NASA to travel to a distant habitable planet (called Earth II) , in hopes to ensure long-term survival of humans outside of Earth!
As it turns out, since she was around 11, her fellow crew members and parents had passed away and has taken charge as the captain of The Infinity, planning to continue the mission!
I love how character-driven this book was! With Romy all by herself in the vastness of space, she spends her days watching her favorite TV show, Loch & Ness, writing fan fiction, messaging her NASA therapist on earth, Molly, & ensuring the stability of The Infinity!
One day, Molly announces to Romy that The Eternity (a far advanced ship) has recently launched and will join her as she reaches Earth II, which will save years if she were still flying on her own (she is both thrilled & a little nervous to be meeting someone else in so long)!
However, Molly soon tells Romy that the political climate will soon make it difficult for them to communicate as often as they did, so she finds solace in communicating with J, the 22-year old commander of The Eternity!
Now as their back and forth communication brings them closer together, Romy feels a little less alone as she waits days upon days for their ships to join together, so they can finally meet in person.
But, things soon get difficult when J & Romy get messages from a new authority, that now taken over much of the world called, The UPR!
Romy questions this new authority & its incoming orders + maintenance requests, wishing she could still be in contact with Molly! She questions what its motives are and if it plans to compromise her mission.
She faces difficult memories of her past, connects with J, & is determined to finally reach Earth II in peace, and not be so lonely anymore!
Where to start!! Loneliest Girl was a phenomenal book! As a fan of sci-fi audio drama podcasts, this book checked all the boxes! Space, mystery, intriguing plot, great cast of characters, unique world-building, I could go on & on!
While reading this it reminded me of one of my all-time favorite sci-fi audio drama podcasts, Girl In Space!! If your a fan of this book, I definitely recommend checking out this podcast!
There’s so much I want to cover in this review! To start: Setting!
What made this book so unique, is for starters, the setting! With this novel set entirely in space, I loved how James was still able to develop the world-building and really give you a sense of time in this book through the very beginning with an online article, technology and connection that Romy has with earth!
In addition the setting of space really built this immersive atmosphere that really makes you feel your out in the vastness of space with Romy aboard The Infinity!
The plot itself is great, its told through Romy’s POV and has emails (between her & Molly, J, NASA, & The UPR) throughout a majority of the chapters! I never could have guessed the major plot points (though I had many theories), there’s also a mystery-thriller vibe that was weaved into the story makes it such a page turner! There were many twists & turns I did not see coming!
I also really enjoyed how James took the plot in surprising directions that had me unsure of what would happen next! Nearing the last quarter of the book, the pages were just flying by as I wanted to figure of what was going on with all the mysteries that continued to build!
Throughout the book we are also just rooting for Romy to make it to Earth II & finally accomplish the mission her parents & crew members left behind!
We also get backstory to Romy, her parents, in such perfect moments of the story where there’s enough to understand what happened, but also just enough to keep us guessing for other secrets Romy has yet to share!
This is such a character-driven novel as we see the loneliness that Romy has dealt with for years after the loss of her parents & fellow crew members. We then begin to question whether the ghosts of the past Romy believes still haunt her, are actually there or if its just the aching loneliness that has caught up to her.
It was so interesting seeing the world through her eyes as she’s never been to Earth before, but its so clear she wants to forge those connections with other people and I just loved reading from her 1st person POV so much!!
I also loved how this novel really makes you think, whether its in regards to the future & technology, space travel, the difficulties and truths of loneliness, & so much more!
Additionally, The Loneliest Girl In The Universe manages to not only blend sci-fi & near future sci-fi, but also mystery, thriller, and also explores mental health!
My only minor issue is that when all the answers are finally revealed, it did feel a bit rushed and I hoped for a little more plot nearing the end!
Aside from that, I really loved this book and as a Sci-Fi standalone (which I don’t see much of) was so well done!
I loved joining Romy on her adventure through space!
The Loneliest Girl In The Universe is character-driven YA Sci-fi that blends mystery, thriller, and so much more! Its a story with many layers to it, that are explored through the great characters and setting! This is a story sure to leave you hooked till you reach the last page! Highly recommend it!