Title: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Published by: Walker Books
Publication date: 7th September 2017
Pages: 290, paperback
Genre: YA, sci-fi, romance
‘Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?’
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 . . .
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe has been one of the most-anticipated 2017 releases for so many people in the YA community. I too, was dying to read this – I loved Lauren James’ The Next Together, and her newest book sounded just as amazing (as well as having quite possibly one of the most beautiful covers ever). I will say now that I really did enjoy this book, but unfortunately not as much as I was expecting.
For a large part of the book, I found the romance between Romy and J a little silly – yes, it was very cute at times, but given that Romy was out in space all alone, I kind of wanted her to have some sort of adventure. However, most of the book just focused on her email exchanges with J, and it felt a little underwhelming. That said, I loved the ending of the book. There is a plot twist (which I will not be going into) and, though it felt a little random at first, I did feel the story pick up pace a lot, and I became much more gripped.
There is a very well-developed mystery element to this story which I enjoyed – Romy’s backstory, and what happened to her parents is kept from the reader for so long, and I thought this added an edge to the book, and really made me want to keep reading. I also loved the whole drama with Earth and communications – I was really scared on Romy’s behalf at several points in the book! I thought Romy was a very well-written, relatable character: she writes fanfiction, she’s pretty much one of us. I thought she had excellent character development, and really came into her own in the last third of the book.
I found the email aspect of the book quite confusing, although honestly, I found that if I just ignored the dates on the emails I could just about get my head around it. After that, I found it a really interesting way to show a relationship forming; of course, many YA stories have the protagonist and the love interest communicating via email or text, but the time difference is a very unique idea, and I found it super interesting to see how it affected them as they got to know each other and the book’s plot unfolded.
I know that this book tackles important themes, such as loneliness and grief, but I suppose that all just went over my head a little. Still, I liked this book well enough, and I do think that I would have enjoyed it even more, had my expectations not been so high. I have yet to hear of someone who didn’t like this book (and most people have absolutely loved it), so I would urge to try this book, and then see what you think of it yourself!
I received an ARC of this whilst doing work experience at Belgravia Books (thank you!). This does not affect my review.