“Hey. Ryann Bird needs a pencil.”
The girl didn’t even turn around. She just sat ramrod straight in her chair and said very quietly. “Ryann can bring her own pencils to school. Just like everyone else.”
It was deafeningly quiet. Mrs. Marsh cleared her throat meaningfully.
Ryann Bird has lost her mother and father in an accident. She now lives in a trailer park with her younger brother James and the baby Charlie. It is tough to hold everything together, but she tries. Then a new girl arrives at school and things change.
This YA book is about sudden hardship in life and how you go on living without losing your humanity and your hopes. Ryann’s mother was a mathematician working for NASA, and Ryann dreams of space. However, she is not good at mathematics and doesn’t see, how she can get the money to go to college. Then she makes friends with the new girl and her life takes on a new aspect.
The late film critic, Roger Ebert once said “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.” That also goes for books.
Going to space is an important part of this book, so of course it is a science fiction book – and it shows a possible future in space that is not at all glamorous. This is an important take on what exploring space without faster than light travel could mean.
What this book is about, however, is friendship between teenagers of different social classes, ethnicity and sexuality. How it is about it, is a work of wonder and beauty. There are no tired cliches here. No cardboard standard teen punks, but beautifully drawn characters. No easy solutions.
These young teens love each other, and K. Ancrum lets us know that – without getting maudlin or resort to standard romance tropes. This book is a wonder and the author has you cheering, laughing and crying for these fantastic people.
The Weight of the Stars makes you believe that there is still hope for the earth and the people on it, if these teens are a measure of the future. This book should be a favourite in the award-season to come.
It is really beautiful. Read it.
I was lucky to find this book at all. I read a blurb by Seanan McGuire:
“The Weight of the Stars is one of the most gentle, gracious, and, overall, kind books that I’ve read all year … It’s a YA romance about girls and stars and friendship and mercy and loss and regret and what we owe each other and what we give away to lift each other up.”
As I love nearly everything Seanan McGuire has written I had to read this book. In the September 2019 issue of Locus the book got a great review by Colleen Mondor, where she had another Seanan McGuire blurb for the book:
“This book is starlight on broken concrete, it’s flowers on a broken rooftop, and it’s a masterpiece”
Trust Seanan McGuire (and Colleen Mondor) – read this book.