Monday, 9 September 2013

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil (review)

Rating: 4/5 - There whenever you need a pick-me-up
Source: Copy from NetGalley (thanks Peachtree Publishers!)

Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.

Check out my review after the jump!

I’ve actually read Life in Outer Space before but I fancied reading something cute that I knew would be well written so I picked this one up for the second time. Plus I’m a bit of a speed reader and I think I remember reading this one in that kind of ravenous way that I get sometimes where I just devour a book page after page after page. I remembered that it was a cute love story with a likable but bumbling narrator and that there were a billion film references but what I came away with this time was a greater understanding of Sam’s perspective.
So Sam is one of those slightly frustrating people who is really clever, very talented, also pretty attractive but is completely unaware of any of those things. Sometimes people (or characters. They’re not real people Caroline.) use that personality as a facade of modesty, so they actually know they’re talented/intelligent/hot but they pretend they don’t know it. Those people aren’t frustrating, they’re just annoying: “Wow I’m sorry for bashing into you, I totally didn’t realise my biceps were that big. LOL” For more information on this phenomenon google ‘humblebrag’ and prepare to snort liquids out of your nose whilst simultaneously despairing at the fate of humanity.
Sam isn’t like that though, he genuinely doesn’t understand why Camilla, this beautiful, charming girl who marches into his life like a Stormtrooper, would want to have anything to do with him. This refusal to see himself as anything other than the victim in his own life is one problem he has to get over. Another is his paradoxical fear of everything changing, whilst at the same time being terrified that it won’t. He gets picked on by the ‘A-Group’ at school, but when Camilla swoops in and somehow changes that he doesn’t trust it. He daydreams about being a screenwriter with his own Hollywood pad but doesn’t trust anyone to read his scripts. From an objective point of view Sam’s attitude sounds annoying. Just get over yourself Sam, be a man! Or ‘Woman Up’ as my boyfriend and I have started saying. Because women are better. Duh.
The thing is though, it’s not annoying, it’s entirely and completely understandable. Because I feel like this right now. Feli and I have just graduated from Uni, she’s off in China doing her thing, and I’m about to start a new life in London doing an internship that I’m really excited about. But at the same time, I just want to curl up in bed and marathon Buffy, never go to London and beg my mum to make me veggie lasagne 3 nights in a row. Change is good, I know this, but it’s also absolutely terrifying. It’s also not exclusive to teenagedom. Whilst the ages 13-19 are probably one of the times in your life most full of change, they’re definitely not the end. As much as I wish I could tell you I woke up on my 20th birthday with a life that was sorted and a un-mess-up-able 10 year career plan, I really can’t. I suppose that’s why I still read YA, even if in some people’s eyes (cough*mum*cough), I should have given it up already, because life never stops throwing new things at you, and every time it does I still feel exactly like 13 year old Caroline leaving the country for the first time without her parents: scared, alone, and in need of a good book.

P.S. The picture on the graphic is from the original of Halloween, one of Sam's favourite films that he talks about A LOT in the book.

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