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March 14, 2024

In the Orbit of You by Ashley Schumacher ~ a Review

by MK French

Nova had once been friends with Sam, and didn't understand why he had bruises and cuts he didn't talk about. Before he moved away, they promised to find each other when older. Now they meet again in high school, but Sam has forgotten about that old promise and is now following The Plan set in front of him: get a college football scholarship, date his girlfriend Abigail, and never show that he might want something else. But a schoolwide personality test matches Nova and Sam at 99%, putting them back in each others' orbits.

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

book cover of young adult romance In the Orbit of You by Ashley Schumacher
March 2024; Wednesday Books; 978-1250886040
ebook, print (320 pages); YA romance

After an opening where we see the little versions of Nova and Sam, we see their teen selves. Nova has moved around so much due to her mother's job that she's been in multiple high schools and tried on different personas. She's going to be in this particular high school for two months and plans to coast along since she doesn't know what she wants for her future despite increasing pressure at school to figure it out. She recognizes Sam right away, but he has a picture-perfect life. As much as he doesn't enjoy it, he's determined to follow through so that no one thinks he's ungrateful for the opportunities given to him.

Trauma hits people in different ways. Sam was the recipient of physical abuse and did whatever he could to avoid rages by being agreeable, and it carried through into his life afterward. He became what he thought would make other people happy, even if it wasn't a life that he was pleased with. "It looks good on paper" or "I should be happy with this" became his goal, and he avoided any kind of confrontation. His girlfriend Abigail is a sweet girl, and very much not the kind of popular girl that excludes others. She tries to loop Nova into their circle, for however long she'll be there, and tries to get Sam to talk. Sam and Nova both realize that the emotional connection between them could jeopardize his relationship with Abigail and are determined not to do that. Of course, things never go according to plan, with literal acts of nature continuing to push Sam and Nova together. 

The book follows many beats of romcoms, but still dealt with serious subject matter and never once downplayed what happened in the book. I liked that they both acknowledged how awkward it was, and that they weren't trying to sneak around and hurt Abigail for their own benefit. Emotions can be sticky, tangled things, but it only hurts people to keep them bottled up. Once everyone was able to speak freely, it allowed them to grow and be who they needed to be.

Buy In the Orbit of You 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 a golden retriever.

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