Friday, 13 September 2013

ARC Review: Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Title: Life in Outer Space
Author: Melissa Keil
Publisher: Peachtree Publishers
Release Date: 1st August, 2013
Buy: Amazon

Goodreads Summary

Sam is a geek movie-buff with a ragtag group of loser friends who have been taking abuse from the popular kids for years. But when the super-cool Camilla moves to town, she surprises everyone by choosing to spend time with Sam's group. Suddenly they go from geek to chic, and find that not everything boils down to us and them. With their social lives in flux, Sam and Camilla spend more and more time together. They become the best of friends, and Sam finds that he's happier and more comfortable in his own skin than ever before. But eventually Sam must admit to himself that he's fallen in love. If he confesses his true feelings to Camilla, will everything change again?

I am going to start off by saying that I actually thought there would be some sci-fic element in the book. It wasn’t until I was almost done with the first 3rd that I realized it was contemporary. So yes, this book wasn’t what I expected it to be but that didn’t really affect my rating.

My journey with this book has been very interesting; I went from loving it to hating it to liking it. So it’s safe to say my feelings were all over the place.

The beginning of this book had me laughing so hard it hurt. I really thought this book would be one of the best things that ever happened to me until well Camilla entered the picture. I realize this happened right at the beginning and I didn’t immediately start despising the book, it was a slow decent down the hill.

Sam was (initially) a fun character, he had the whole cynical teenager thing going on and I found that I could relate to him quite a bit. There were times where I’d get super excited because there were situations where I would have made the exact same decisions as he did (I got excited because… it meant that I wasn’t completely insane).  I loved that when Camilla first came, she didn’t really interest him (unlike most YAs where there will be some drooling involved) he was too busy worrying about how things were changing.  But that was about it, once he and Camilla became friends, she became the center of his universe and it didn’t seem like he cared much about his other friends.  I didn’t like how he reacted to the situation with his parents but I do understand that it was a realistic reaction and for that I am glad. Although I do have to say it bothered me that he didn’t interact with his mom more often, their relationship could have been explored a lot more. I don’t mean that they had to be a lovey dovey pair of mother-son but I do believe that the author could have done a LOT more with their relationship.

I never did quite warm up to Camilla. I think at first I didn’t like her mostly because I resented her (yes this is a first for me too). I’ve traveled quite a bit as well (although not as often as she does) but I have never adjusted as well as she did. I mean she comes in and everyone readily accepts her, yes it could have something to do with the fact that her father was a celebrity but still! It seemed a tad bit unrealistic. Further on, it just seemed like she was too perfect, like some of the dudes you see in YA. She was pretty, everyone liked her but she hung out with the losers, she was on every single committee but she had stage fright. Doesn’t that seem a little too picture perfect? Oh and the usual clich√© she didn’t like moving around, she wanted some stability in her life (funnily enough that isn’t true for me, I love moving).

Mike was the character I fell in love with (just my luck, he is gay, if things continue going this way; I am going to be the 50 year old cat lady). He was… PERFECT! I don’t mean to be contradictory; I just mean he was a perfect character to me. He was the best best friend ever and well I am not even sure Sam deserved him. Adrian and Allison were also great characters.

 It’s just sad that with such great secondary characters, the author still couldn’t manage to make me like Camilla and make me fall in love with Sam again. What’s worse was that I WOULD have loved both Sam and Camilla had they not been destined to be a couple. If this book had been focused on friendship instead of a budding romance it would have been so much better for me. Camilla’s role would have been redefined and I would have loved her.

Did I mention the parents yet? Why? Why were 3 out of the 4 parents portrayed as idiots and arsehats (that word always cracks me up :P)? Why does YA always do that to parents? You want a damaged character? That can be done without having bad parents. Of course one out of the 3 do get better so that does count for something.

I also found that things took a positive turn too easily. After one thirds of the book, they were going to parties while in the beginning of the book they were still getting bullied. The transition was WAY too fast and too easy for that matter.

Overall I think this book was destined for a lot better things but just didn’t achieve the level it could have.  I do recommend it to people who love contemporary.

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