Saturday, January 3, 2015

|Review| Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Title: Life in Outer Space
Published February 1st, 2013
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating: A-
Goodreads summary:
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.
Can I get a hallelujah for Aussie YA?! AMEN!! I'll be honest, I should have hated this book for the stereotypical, cliche, trope-y beginning but Keil really moves away from the cliches by turning them upside down and what's left is this charming, geeky contemporary YA book that I cannot recommend enough.

First, lets discuss that fabulously cute cover. The title and cover fit the book perfectly and I love when that happens! Those two characters on the cover? That's Sam and Camilla, down to Camilla's red boots! How awesome is that? So do yourself a favor my friends and purchase this gem of a book because it's a keeper and the perfect cover is perfect. Make sure it's the Australian edition and not this disgusting excuse of a cover:

Isn't it just so shitty?
Now that I've discussed proper annoyance over that thing that is not an acceptable cover I can start telling you why Life in Outer Space should be high on your TBR.

This is not tour average contemporary YA. Sam is a horror movie nerd. Not a nerd in the sense that we are told he's a horror movie nerd, but we see he's a horror movie nerd because we get to know Sam and horror movies are such a big part of his life and a big part of the book. We get constant analogies and references and it was SO fun. We book lovers understand nerdy obsessions which is why Life in Outer Space is a nerds' dream. Besides horror movies, there are Lord of the Rings, Doctor Who, Star Wars AND Dirty Dancing references! How much of a win is that? Plus there are a lot of gaming references so again, this book is a geektastic, nerdtastic dream.

Besides Sam, we have his group of friends Mike, Adrian and Allison. These three were pretty complex and they make the novel more well rounded. We see Sam and his love for movies, his passion for writing movies, what's going with his parents at home, what's going on with his group of friends, especially his best friend Mike who's acting super distant, and on top of that, what to do with Camilla who enters his life so suddenly and flips it over. Because we get to be in Sam's head and live with him in every aspect for his life, it's so easy to love Sam and this book. Plus, these six characters were not perfect, they made mistakes and annoyed each other but they were close and always had each other's backs in the end so the friendship aspect of the book was nice!

Sam's life before Camilla was on pause. He was miserable at school and he only looked forward to  graduation and moving on to bigger and better things. But when Camilla comes along, she hits PLAY and Sam starts enjoying the moments while also freaking out at the same time over the changes happening. This is something that was so well done because I personally had a period in high school where I only looked forward to graduation, I lived on pause and just cared about life after graduation instead of enjoying the now. There is such a big difference between going through the motions and actually living and Keil nails that aspect. Nails. It.

Now Camilla, I loved her! After finishing the book I came upon a review that said Camilla is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which I can see where this is coming from because Camilla is quirky, good at many things, and helps Sam out but Camilla stood up on her own. She wasn’t one dimensional and existed just for Sam. She was her own complex character and for once I liked the dynamic of the girl being the popular one. 

Like I said, the book took cliches and really kicked them in the balls. It wasn't just a "wah wah, I'm not popular and the popular jocks and pretty brainless cheerleaders hate me". This book has so much heart and honesty while being quirky at the same time. It was like a snapshot of teen life and includes a little bit of everything. You will laugh, you will cheer for Sam, his friends, and Camilla and you'll wish we have more contemporary YA like this one. Once again, Aussie YA wins.

Recommended for: besides EVERYONE! (duh), anyone looking for a realistic book that's not heavy on drama (yeah, realistic doesn't have to be a soap opera!)

Rating: [A-] I can't see any contemporary YA fan NOT enjoying this quirky and honest book.
I start this Monday by falling flat on my arse.

Adrian appears beside me, glaring down the corridor. He has his about-to-open-a-can-of-whoop-arse face on. Objectively, Adrian Radley has zero cans of whoop-arse to open.

I guess some people enter your orbit and get stuck, and there's nothing either of you can do about it.

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