Book: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Author: Lauren James
Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Sci-Fi, YA
“Love takes so much energy, and it just leads to pain. I think it’s probably best for people to be self-sufficient. If I was strong enough to be independent, then I wouldn’t be so desperately lonely, I’m sure of it. I just want someone who holds on. Someone who won’t ever let me go, whatever tries to tear us apart. Is that too much to ask?”
Absolutely phenomenal. This book drew me in so quickly and really captured my attention, and as someone who’s been going through somewhat of a reading dry spell, that’s saying something. Easily a new favorite.
The daughter of two astronauts, Romy Silvers is no stranger to life in space. But she never knew how isolating the universe could be until her parents’ tragic deaths left her alone on the Infinity, a spaceship speeding away from Earth.
Romy tries to make the best of her lonely situation, but with only brief messages from her therapist on Earth to keep her company, she can’t help but feel like something is missing. It seems like a dream come true when NASA alerts her that another ship, the Eternity, will be joining the Infinity.
Romy begins exchanging messages with J, the captain of the Eternity, and their friendship breathes new life into her world. But as the Eternity gets closer, Romy learns there’s more to J’s mission than she could have imagined. And suddenly, there are worse things than being alone…
I’ll admit, at times this book could be a bit stressful to read, in a good way. From the terrors of her past to the lingering dangers that were always popping up, this book had me feeling tense quite frequently.
Romy is a teenage girl, in a unique and often dangerous situation, who has significant mental health issues. It’s certainly not surprising. She’s been flying through space in complete isolation for five years, all while dealing with the traumatic deaths of her parents. That’s enough stress to weigh anyone down. It’s not often that we get a book like this, especially in Young Adult Fantasy/Sci-Fi, where the protagonist experiences panic attacks, and has severe anxiety, depression, paranoia, etc. I appreciate a book that broaches the subject, and discusses it openly.
Through it all, though, Romy is a strong protagonist. Yes, she is dealing with a lot of trauma and that shows throughout the book, but she’s intelligent and highly skilled, and despite being the lone commander of a ship hurtling through space towards a new planet, entirely relatable. She has a favorite tv show that she writes fanfiction about, she wants to fall in love, she’s curious about new experiences. She has all the traits that one might expect from your average teenager. As a 24 year old, I adored her and this book, but I can see how someone who was a little closer to her in age would find it especially relatable.
In the end, Romy is a character who has experienced true pain and trauma, and lives every day with the lingering effects of it, but despite it all she is strong and resilient.