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June 16, 2019

Something Like Gravity by Amber Smith ~ a Review

by MK French

Chris and Maia literally are brought together in a car crash, and can't seem to escape each others' orbits over the course of a summer. Each have their problems to cope with, which doesn't make that easier. Chris is transgender and had survived an assault he survived the year before. Maia is grieving the loss of her sister. Though they weren't expecting it, they do find themselves falling in love in the midst of grief.

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Something Like Gravity
June 2019; Margaret K. McElderry Books
audio, ebook, print (400 pages); young adult
We open with Chris arriving in South Carolina with his parents to visit his aunt; his father has accepted his transgender status, but his mother hasn't and resents him for it. He'd been sure that "girly" things didn't fit him since he was young, but being beaten badly enough to require hospitalization and painstaking physical therapy cemented that he needed to transition. Maia's sister Mallory had been smart, interested in photography and had still wanted to do more with her life before her sudden cardiac death while playing volleyball in school. In comparison, Maia felt lacking, and her sister's former friends all said that Mallory had hated her. Both are outcasts of a sort in a small town of fewer than six thousand people and as neighbors can't help but keep interacting even when there isn't a clear connection.

The flirtation between them is the uncertain, half-spoken sentences that teens often use while feeling out intentions from the other person. Maia, to her credit, isn't immediately turned off from learning more about Chris when she accidentally sees that he wears a binder. It's also wonderful to see how supportive Aunt Isobel is, cautioning Chris not to avoid relationships, but to be careful with his emotions and to be his authentic self. That's something incredibly difficult for teens, let alone trans teens, and leads to the inevitable conflicts when lies are exposed.

An especially poignant quote is mentioned multiple times throughout the story, and the one that actually did the graffiti isn't who you're led to believe it is. The words "meant whatever I wanted them to mean. They meant that anything, everything, only means what you say it means. You are who you believe you are, no more, no less." This is an important truth for any teenager, but especially for those ostracized because of the very things that make them special.

Buy Something Like Gravity at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and golden retriever.

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