The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is kind of tricky. It sort of hooks you with this science fiction mystery story, but what it ends up being is kind of a thriller.
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 . .
Can I just say that I have never read a book with this premise? I love it. The idea that you have to communicate with someone light years away with such a long delay. Psychological thriller just get me every time. I’m not sure if this falls into that category, but this has all the elements of a thriller. At the same time, in the first half of the book, before it gets real thriller-esque, there were all these little touches I liked – such as the sections of her fandom, how she uses fanfiction to process events in her life, and her favorite tv show, “Loch and Ness”.
(Can this be a real tv show now please?)
While this can certainly be read as a very entertaining thriller, what I loved about The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is how James kind of weaves us into this web. James creates some intriguing situations that seem strange, but also familiar. I’ll elaborate. This idea of another world war is familiar, and so is the idea that the powers at be would not take into consideration the real consequences of their decisions. The isolation Romy feels is unfamiliar to us, as I think I can that most people haven’t been trapped on a spaceship for years, but at the same time some of Romy’s desires are familiar. Romy desires stability. She’s had so many of the people in her life leave, even if they have no choice, but she just wants someone she can count on. I’ve felt like that on so many different occasions.
(At the same time it’s also about the way Romy learns about her parents – who they were as people – and who she is).
I was geeking out hard over the way this book was written. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe counts down the days until contact. There are layers of mystery upon mystery and this book demands to be read. I felt the tension, the creeping sensation in my spine, the feeling in my gut, long before it became overtly bad. And this is what will keep you reading, long after bed. Check out The Loneliest Girl in the Universe on Goodreads.