Review Blog

Oct 18 2017

The loneliest girl in the universe by Lauren James

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406375473
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Space Travel; Trust; Science Fiction; Loneliness. Imagine you are the only person in your universe (apart from someone who is only contactable via email and even then your responses may be separated in time by months or years) . . . imagine the loneliness!
In this incredibly interesting Science Fiction book, the central character, Romy, is a survivor on a Space exploration vessel which is on its way to establish EarthII. Her story is further complicated because she has never even set foot on Earth, as she was born in the spacecraft The Infinity to her astronaut parents who were commanding the interplanetary vessel which was stocked and prepared for an extraordinary amount of years of travel away from Earth. The craft was populated by many people and waiting embryos, all in suspended torpor ready for something new - a brave new world. Romy has been raised to be independent and resourceful and well-versed in all things scientific and technical. Disastrous circumstances have left her alone, living with her own grief, but in a position of great responsibility. Into this lonely existence, filled only with technical tasks, learning how to solve intensely difficult Mathematics and Physics problems, watching film files and writing her own fan-fic (fiction from fans that creates storylines into her favourite Film fiction) is an interruption of the romantic kind. Another spacecraft is on the way to connect with The Infinity. Initially just a voice in a text, but eventually a meeting as the newer vessel travels at greater speed to make contact with Romy's own travelling spacecraft. The complications of a possible human encounter raise all sorts of teenage dilemmas as Romy's imagination takes hold. Will this meeting in space be all that she wants it to be? Is there something not quite right about what she is about to encounter?
Lauren James has a background in STEM subjects and this is a perfect book to recommend to those who love Science Fiction and a sprinkling of science related information in a science-rich context and setting. (A genuine STEAM book, with the addition of the Arts!) Understanding the relative shrinking of time between the two converging vessels is important in understanding the loneliness of Romy which is expressed through her email conversations. With a mixture of the Sci-fi, romance and thriller genre for teens, this is a wonderful book to recommend. It certainly causes the reader to think about what space travel might be like, and what it might mean for the future, and it places scientific knowledge into fiction in a really positive way.
Carolyn Hull

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