The Weight of the Stars is a book that enchants you with short chapters and compelling characters. But it leaves you crying at the end. Seriously. It’s one of those books that is deceptive in how good it is.
Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
(Disclaimer: I received this free book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: sexual assault
The Weight of the Stars destroyed me. The only thing I can liken it to is like by being slowly pulled into a black hole. I orbited around slowly moving closer. I loved Ryann, her small family, and misfit friends. And then there was this tipping point in the story where I just fell into the heart of the black hole. I was completely immersed in the blackness of the f/f romance, the way the story took a twist that wrung my heart out to dry, and the ending. Part of me is still in that black hole wondering what to do next really.
(There are gay and bisexual side characters. Our main character could be bisexual (mostly attracted to girls, but also one guy). A sikh side character and a biracial (half black and half white) character).
Ryann & (Found) Family
Ryann you have melted my heart. I love how tough Ryann is, even though she hides this super soft side of her that is so incredibly loyal. Not caring about school, Ryann is fiercely protective of her friends no matter what. She excels in breaking down people’s walls and bringing them out of their shell. Come save me Ryann. Talk about a girl who could demand my heart and I would gladly give it to her. Even more so, she is incredibly loving and while she is willing to bleed for you, you feel like you desperately want to have her trust. Ryann is like the biggest, baddest, meanest mama bear.
But even more so, every one of these characters is dynamic and complex. I loved them all. Whether it was Blake’s stand off attitude, but theater heart. Or Ahmed’s charm and tenderness. James’ silence that speaks volumes. Or even Alexandria’s tough exterior that is just so good at pushing people away. They are all cinnamon buns I want to wrap up in a nest of blankets.
Found family is an incredibly strong theme in this book. Whether it be through unconventional living situations, like Ahmed’s two dads and one mom, or Ryann’s brother and his kid, or even just these strong friends. The family we choose, who we stick behind, are the ones who keep us together. They call us on our mistakes and pick us up afterwards. They know when we need advice, when we need to get out of our own head, or when we’re missing the best opportunity we’ll ever get. Sometimes at the end of the day love is really all we need.
Talk about slow burn romance. And I am so here for it. I fell into it completely. My heart nearly breaking at the missed connections, the simmering sparks, and the bursts of tenderness. Each and every second is like exquisite torture. There is bonding, lies, and secrets all spanning a gulf. And the question we ask, at the end of the day, when all the cards are on the table, is can we breath this gap? Talk about a yearning that I could feel through my fingertips.
While some of the more science fiction elements don’t enter the story until the ending, it comes in full force and it will take your breath away. I’m not sure if this is when the story really explodes for me, but the book snowballs. And with this new injection of space you are propelled into a new universe of feeling and depth. At the end of the book, another important question that The Weight of the Stars brings up is the price of space exploration. At what cost do we send people into space and what exactly do they have to give up?
And finally the writing. Not only does The Weight of the Stars have short chapters that make the book fly by, Ancrum’s writing is gorgeous. You easily get into that game of trying to get to the end of the next chapter. Each one draws you in stronger and faster than the previous one. Paired with Ancrum’s writing and you get a wining combination. There are lines that are so stunning, so elegant, so paired down, that you need to take a moment to appreciate them. Whether it is from sheer beauty, or just plain spoken wisdom, this book is littered with my highlights.
It’s a story about acknowledging that our dreams have weight. That sometimes we have to sacrifice, but that love can triumph. It’s about seeing the good and the bad in each of us. The selfishness, the lies, and the good. The Weight of the Stars will make you do just that. It will make you see these sides of people, their dreams, their loves, and acknowledge the extreme joy and wonder of existence. It is introspective, touching, and moving. And it’s also about seeing the potential for pain in love, the knowledge of leaving, and the beauty in the moment.