Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.
Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.
Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies … but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.
Although I just finished reading it, Life In Outer Space already has a reserved place on my bookshelf. It’s witty, sweet, funny, and filled with so many references that appealed to my inner geek.
The story is told entirely from Sam’s point of view, whose narration is snarky, intelligent, humorous, and genuine. Despite being a teenage female and having no knowledge of the inner workings of a male brain (no matter how much I wish I did), I never questioned the authenticity of his voice; he consistently read as a sweet, loveable, geeky teenage boy who is clueless when it comes to girls.
While first person narration often leads to underdeveloped supporting characters, Sam’s group of friends are just as fleshed out: Mike, the reserved gay best friend; Adrian, whose lack of social graces make him endearing yet hilarious; Allison, the sweet, shy girl who looks much younger than her age. This group is incredibly tight-knit due to a mix of shared interests and shared circumstances, and all of the conflicts that arose within it were resolved in a realistic manner.
And then there’s Camilla, who is sweet, intuitive, fun, smart, and a bit of an enigma. She’s the daughter of a famous journalist, making her instantly popular at her new school, yet she also harbors a deep love for 80s movies, plays World of Warcraft, and occasionally puts her hair up into Princess Leia buns. As a bridge of sorts between “geek” and “chic,” I was worried that she would fall victim to the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope – especially as she’s only seen through Sam’s awestruck eyes – but Keil managed to give her real depth. Her relationship with Sam is sweet yet awkward, and the slow, realistic progression from good friends to something more is a wonderful change from the instalove that clutters the YA market.
Overall, Life In Outer Space is a fun, heartwarming read about those little changes in life that can end up making a huge difference. I seriously hope that a movie adaptation is in the works since it would make the perfect romantic comedy, but until then, this will hold a special place on my shelf with the rest of my favourite books.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.