Meet Me in Outer Space was a sweet story about realizing that sometimes our best plans change. That it’s worth it to make detours.
Smart and unflinching, this #OwnVoices debut contemporary novel stars an ambitious college student who refuses to be defined by her central auditory processing disorder.
Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn’t visible, it isn’t obvious, and it isn’t something she likes to advertise.
And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.
Edie finds herself caught between getting the help she needs and convincing her professor that she isn’t looking for an easy out. Luckily for Edie, she has an amazing best friend, Serena, who is willing to stitch together a plan to ensure Edie’s success. And then there’s Hudson, the badly dressed but undoubtedly adorable TA in her French class who finds himself pulled into her orbit…
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
What touched me the most about Meet Me in Outer Space is how much Edie’s mind set mirrored my own. She is single minded about her future, focused on getting through her French 102 course so she can go to Paris. But what she doesn’t plan on is meeting Hudson, her TA in French, who charms past her defenses. But we need to open our hearts and realize that sometimes a distraction isn’t a bad thing, that not everything is black and white.
This #ownvoices story also touched me in how Grace weaves Edie’s central auditory processing disorder into the story. When Edie mishears people, the text doesn’t correct her and tell us what they said, we have to get into her mind and experiences. So when we witness just a slice of what Edie goes through, it hurts us even more the ableism she suffers where people think she is making her medical condition up or not acknowledging it.
A theme in the book is about being like everyone else, or standing out. Her disablility means that while others do not only see Edie’s disability from her physical appearance, Edie feels like it distinguishes her from others whether it be their treatment of her or the way she has to beg for additional help. So a part of the book is Edie struggling with asking for help and her own relationship to her disability.
While I was drawn to Meet Me in Outer Space because of the #ownvoices nature of the story, I ended up really enjoying Edie’s romance with Hudson. She struggles to acknowledge that she can change her dream. That what we originally thought were distractions, don’t have to be that way. It doesn’t have to be love versus career, you can have a future in which both are present. That the person we think we are can change. Our career, our dreams, doesn’t have to be all we have. I think this is something I’m still struggling with to be honest, so reading Edie’s journey was really emotional for me.
About the Author
Melinda Grace wrote her first piece of fiction in middle school, but didn’t write a complete story until an introduction to creative writing course at SUNY Oswego, where she earned a BA in human development. She went on to earn a MS E.D. in counseling and currently works as a school counselor. When she’s not guiding the youth of America, she’s planning her next vacation to Disney World, laminating anything she can get her hands on, and binge watching Netflix. MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE is her debut novel, publishing March 2019.