As Far As You’ll Take Me by Phil Stamper

GoodReads Summary:
The author of The Gravity of Us crafts another heartfelt coming-of-age story about finding the people who become your home–perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli
Marty arrives in London with nothing but his oboe and some savings from his summer job, but he’s excited to start his new life–where he’s no longer the closeted, shy kid who slips under the radar and is free to explore his sexuality without his parents’ disapproval.
From the outside, Marty’s life looks like a perfect fantasy: in the span of a few weeks, he’s made new friends, he’s getting closer with his first ever boyfriend, and he’s even traveling around Europe. But Marty knows he can’t keep up the facade. He hasn’t spoken to his parents since he arrived, he’s tearing through his meager savings, his homesickness and anxiety are getting worse and worse, and he hasn’t even come close to landing the job of his dreams. Will Marty be able to find a place that feels like home?
As Far as You'll Take MeReview:
I was given an eARC from NetGalley and the publishers in exchange for an honest review. As Far As You’ll Take Me follows Marty as he moves to London, lies to his parents, makes not so great choices, and finds a place where he really feels like he could be happy.
Marty has told his parents he got accepted for a spot in a music school so that they would let him travel to and stay in London for the summer. The truth is that he bombed his audition and didn’t get accepted. But he has a plan to go anyway and get a job. He plays the oboe and is hopeful that he will be able to find a job so that he doesn’t have to move back to the mid-west to his hometown filled with people that don’t approve of a big part of who Marty is, his sexuality. So, Marty stays with his cousin Shane and meets Shane’s friends. Marty immediately feels at home in London and gets swept up in the excitement of trying new things and seeing the sights of London. He also gets swept away by Pierce.
Pierce is where the problems start. Marty is excited to have his first boyfriend, but this leads to Marty dropping most of his other priorities. I really didn’t like the romance, but that was sort of the point. It wasn’t a good relationship. This was a story centered on Marty as he tries new things, makes mistakes, learns from those mistakes, and grows so that he will try do the right thing in the future. I think Marty’s growth was natural and really well done. He does, understandably, dumb things. But when he realizes his mistakes he makes the needed apologies and asks for help.
I think this is an important story. It’s about a young man that’s discovering who he is, what he wants, and how to get there. He doesn’t always make good choices, which is the reality for many people in their formative years. I do want to specifically mention that Marty struggles with food and body image. So, at one point he’s barely eating so that he can lose weight quickly. It was very unhealthy and he knew it, but I wanted to mention it because I know that can be a triggering topic for some.
Overall, I didn’t like this as much as Stamper’s first novel, but I still enjoyed it. It’s a great story for young adults learning how to make their way in the world. I think many people will really adore this book.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper

GoodReads Summary:
As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.
Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.
Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.
The Gravity of UsReview:
I made the best decision ever and chose to listen to the audiobook for this story. The audiobook was incredible. There is one narrator that tells most of the story. These are the parts of Cal’s story. But there are also some interludes where we get bits and pieces of the TV show that surrounds NASA and this is narrated by several different people. It was so well done and I enjoyed it so much.
I really liked Cal. He knew what he wanted from life and he was doing his best to go get it. But also, he’s still a teenager so he has to listen to his parents. I really liked how passionate he was about being a reporter. He has a large following and pushes the limits of his life to continue giving his loyal followers content.
I also really liked how Cal’s views changed after moving. He was desperate to move back to Brooklyn as soon as he moved. But the longer he was there the more he made friends and ended up liking his new home. I think what it comes down to is Cal really showed growth. He made great new relationships (though he neglected his old one which I didn’t like.) He also eventually took the time to understand his parents more and I loved this aspect. Cal resented his dad a little for uprooting the family, but once Cal realized how important being an astronaut was to his dad, he tried to understand and be more supportive.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Cal. There were great new friendships. I loved the romance. The boys were sweet and I loved how they communicated. There was also anxiety and depression representation. I really liked this story and I will definitely be reading more by this author.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.