The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

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When I found this book I thought it was going to be a space romance novel like the movie The Space Between Us. This story, written by Lauren James, was far from it. James studied chemistry and physics in the UK which influenced the space element of the book greatly. The story was inspired by a physics calculation she had been assigned. The story is about a girl named Romi who was born in space and has to carry out a space mission. Her parents are dead and she is alone in the universe as shown by the title. She finds out that a newer ship is coming to join her for her journey, but bad things come along with it. James did a wonderful job of creating a realistic portrayal of living in space. The details she thought of like the fact that messages between NASA on Earth and the spaceship The Infinity would have a lag of a couple hundred days made it seem more real. The mission of the spaceship was to find a new planet in the Alpha Centauri star system that could sustain life. The ship was equipped with eggs and frozen astronauts that would be the new population on this planet. This aspect reminded me of many space movies like Passengers. The author did a good job of making the aspects of space travel and the logistics of the trip realistic. Although there are many space books and movies this story had many unique aspects. The story is told from Romi’s perspective. Her character is an average teenage girl that likes watching TV and chocolate; except for the fact that she is stuck in space alone and hasn’t had human interaction in 5 years. Some of her ideas about relationships and love are peculiar which is as to be expected since she was born in space. The author introduces Romi’s backstory in small increments adding to the suspense of the story. She often talks about the dead astronauts haunting her dreams which is unclear to what she is referring to at first. Eventually, we find out there was a problem with their pods and Romi’s mother had to kill them because they were waking up brain dead. This caused her to go crazy and kill Romi’s father. This was a lot of information to handle at once since ti was presented near the end of the novel. The plot is logical even though a lot of information is withheld from the reader. Jeremy Shoreditch, the commander of The Eternity, is a character that is hard to figure out. When he messages Romi in the beginning, he seems like a great guy that might even have a romantic interest in her. Soon we find out that he is psychotic and everything he tells Romi about himself is an elaborate lie constructed by studying her and reading her fanfiction. He creates a fake war on Earth and cuts off Romi’s interactions with Earth. He poses as the UPR(United People Republic), which took over the U.S., and hacks into her ship and makes conditions for her awful. The reader nor Romi realizes that it’s fake and made up by Jeremy. The climax of the story is when she realizes these messages from the UPR are coming from Jeremy’s ship, but his ship has already caught up to her. The ending of the story gets a bit convoluted with many things happening at once. Romi’s mother who she thinks is dead is awoken and tries to help Romi fight Jeremy, but ends up getting killed. We find out that Jeremy’s reasoning for going on the space mission is that he plans to kill Romi since he believes she is the reason his parents are dead. In the end, Romi survives, but she is still alone in the universe. This ending was both good and bad because it didn’t have an unrealistic happy ending, but it was also upsetting that Romi had been manipulated the whole time. Her character development was drastic as she transitions into the heroine of her own story. She realizes that she has a mission to complete and then the book ends.  It was upsetting not being able to see if she ever made it to the new planet or not. This also makes sense to the plot, because the purpose of the story isn’t about the mission it’s about Romi’s character development. Overall, the story was very engaging and written very well. I would recommend this for anyone that likes sci-fi books or is looking for a different kind of book to read. This book had many plot twists in it making it more interesting than the generic romance novels I read.

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