'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 29 January 2018

Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

Set in 2067, Romy is an almost 17 year-old who was born on a NASA spacecraft during an historic mission manned by her parents. Their mission was to travel to a different star system which would take almost fifty years to reach. They were  to inhabit an alternative planet to earth and guarantee the survival of the human race.

However, due to unexpected events, Romy is the only surviving crew member on this large spacecraft - The Infinity. Romy is extremely intelligent and has been taught almost every aspect of running the spaceship by her father since she was little. The only contact she has with NASA is via emails, which although received daily, take two years to transmit each way.

She is thus informed that a newer spacecraft has just been launched to follow Romy to the new planet. The other much faster ship will meet up with Romy's spaceship in one year and can send and receive emails faster.

Romy is so excited she can't think straight. At last she will have human contact again. The commander of the new ship, twenty-two year-old Commander J Shoreditch, or J, starts to email Romy and as his ship moves closer over the year, their email communication is transmitted with less and less delays. J and Romy develop a great relationship based on shared interests and experiences and Romy falls for J. She's counting the days until they meet.

As their meeting date draws closer, anomalies arise within Romy's ship and she becomes suspicious. Her contact with NASA has also been cut off due to a computer glitch. Suddenly, Romy finds herself using all her intelligence and wits to work out what's going on. The answer is terrifying and dangerous. Romy is now fighting for survival.

Packed with suspense, action and a thrilling ending, this has to be one of the most clever and well researched books I've read in a while. After a slow-paced fascinating beginning, the pace galloped along and my heart was racing more than once - I could feel the adrenalin surging through my body. The shocking twists and unexpected events had me reading this book in one sitting.

Lauren James uses a variety of narrative devices to deliver a riveting story. Emails, countdowns, fan fiction, and clever calculations which add weight to the passage of time in deep space. Her excellent research makes the reader feel they are on the spacecraft alongside the protagonist. A superb, unique and intelligent YA novel.

Title: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Publisher: Walker Books, $16.99
Publication Date: 1 September 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781406375473
For ages:12+
Type: Young Adult Fiction