Publication date : March 19th, 2019
Publisher : Imprint| Macmillan
Genre : Young Adult | Contemporary
Page Count: 384
Synopsis : Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page. (From Goodreads)
*I was sent an Arc of this book by the author in exchange of an honest review*
CW: physical fight, bullying, injuries, hospital, sexual assault, pretend deafness, mention of suicide.
I’ve been sitting on my thoughts for the past week trying to figure out what to say about this book. And then I’ve be been sitting in front of my screen for an hour and a half trying to figure out what to say. And yet. I’m still not sure. The Weight of the Stars is the kind of book that sticks with you for a long time, possibly forever. You find yourself thinking about it and the lingering feelings you have from it at the most random times in your day and you just have to pause and soak it in. That’s how good it is. That’s how much it made me feel.
Ancrum’s writing is raw and beautiful, it got a strong grip on my heart and took it on a trip across the emotional spectrum. The dialogue is super well written – real, genuine and funny when it needed to be. The book is also written in short chapters that read like journal entries which makes it really easy to fly through. I could have read it in one sitting if not for real life obligations. There also something about it that makes it read like a movie in muted tones and desaturated colors and that aesthetic fits it perfectly.
It’s also the type of writing that gives you food for thoughts and I think that’s what makes the book stick with you – there are some parts that are evergreen, the author assigned the quotes to certain situations in the book but once you remove them from context, they can apply to whatever situation in your life you need them to apply to, and they make you feel seen. They feel like home. And I think that’s why the book is a new favourite of mine, it felt so tender and soothing on my soul, it’s like it wrapped me in one gentle hug to tell me that whatever I’m going through, things are gonna be okay.
Don’t get me wrong, what I say above doesn’t mean that the book is fluffy. It’s not. The Weight of the Stars isn’t pretty or neat, it’s messy and full of teenagers who mess up and do not have their shit together, kids books tend to run away from portraying because they can’t be packaged prettily to be put into neat boxes. It’s also so unapologetically Black and queer, it made my little heart sing because this is the kind of book I didn’t know I needed until I read it and now I can’t imagine my life without it. Also, it’s SUPER NERDY!!! And all about space.
The Weight of the Stars centers a group of people who by all account should NOT be friends but through Ryann (the MC), her persistance to befriend people, to take them under he wing and help them get their shit together, they became a family linked by everything but blood. They’re all SO different from each other but they somehow work, they show up for each other whatever they need, communicate, get mad but make up 2 seconds later. Their banter is amazing and their teasing relentless, but they’re not scared to call each other out when they think something is wrong. What I liked, is that, not only did the author develop their friendship as a group but one on one friendships as well, Ryann has a different bond with each one of them.
Our main character is Ryann, a Black butch lesbian who is a bit of a trouble student the teachers have a soft spot for. She’s seen as harsher than she is because of her appearance, her motorcycle, and the way she carries herself (as well as the…uh…brawls she gets into)…okay maybe she’s rough around the edges, BUT she’s a softie who loves helping people and only attacks in retaliations. She also has a bit of a savior complex which can lead to misguided actions for the right reasons: for example, at the start of the book, she thinks she needs to get Alexandria (the LI) angry to get her to open up, which leads to some bullying (called out) that goes too far.
At heart, Ryann is a caretaker. After her parents die, she takes care of her -one year- younger brother, his baby son, her friends and whoever else needs her help. and she does so without ever expecting anything in return from anyone, or expecting anyone to take care of her. She prioritizes her loved ones above her needs and wants.
Alexandria, the love interest, is a walking talking scowl. She’s closed off and doesn’t trust anyone because of things she’s been through in the past being known as The Uninaut’s Daughter after she was the newborn star of a scandal so she keeps everyone at arm’s length. But once we got to know her? I absolutely adored her. She’s strong, fierce and honest, she also doesn’t look it but she has a lot of love to give. Hers and Ryann’s relationship is very rocky to begin with as it starts with the aforementioned bullying, but once Ryann makes amends, they have a tentative truce where they bicker, which slowly evolves into a meaningful friendship and then a romance towards the end. The romance is the mother of all slow burns, and they’re so so soft for each other, it made my heart burst. I had tears streaming down my face towards the end of the book.
As a side note, for those of your who read the author’s debut, The Wicker King: Ahmed, one of Ryann’s best friends is the son of the three main characters in that one. I still haven’t read it myself but I am now DYING to. Especially after loving The Weight of the Stars SO MUCH. I just need everything K. Ancrum writes. Thank you.
That’s it until next time.
Did you read The Weight of the Stars? If so, what did you think?
Hope you enjoyed, write to you soon.