Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.
One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.
Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .
Thank you very much to K. Ancrum for providing a copy of her novel in exchange for an honest review.
The stars are beautiful, but I’d give them up for good just to see your face.
Since I was a child, I’ve always said that if I were given the opportunity to travel on a one-way trip to Mars, I would take it. When I tell my friends and family this, they immediately become distressed, and I understand: what could possibly drive a person to want to abandon their entire life and potential future to travel lightyears away, on a very dangerous journey, to an uninhabited, desolate wasteland?
The answer is simple: the adventure.
My love of all things space and the unknowable universe is what immediately drew me to The Weight of the Stars (although it is a contemporary). And then I found out the main character and her love interest are lesbians. Then I knew I had to read it.
The Weight of the Stars is probably one of the most beautiful novels I’ve ever read. K. Ancrum’s prose really moved me during The Wicker King, her debut novel, but her writing in The Weight of the Stars is stunning. In fact, the whole book is stunning! The characters, the plot, the writing (can you tell I’m obsessed with her writing?) — everything was lovely and sweet, and reading it felt like I was receiving a very big, warm hug and I never wanted the feeling to end.
This book has everything I want in a novel: hate to love romance, sapphic girls falling in love, amazing background characters with their own stories, and the found family trope (which is my favourite).
The Weight of the Stars touched me in irrevocable ways and that is because of the incredible cast of characters. Ryann Bird has my whole heart. Recently, for a special birthday blog post, I talked about my favourite characters and how much they mean to me, and Ryann was on that list. She’s very protective of the people she loves and she will — I’m not exaggerating — cut a bitch if it came down to it. And I love that about her. She is ride or die for her family and friends, who she treats like family too. I absolutely love the relationship between Ryann and her younger brother James; it’s so loving and it’s clear they’re devoted to one another. James is sixteen-years-old and a single father, and together they care for his baby son, Charlie, after the death of their parents. Ryann and James have carved out a life for themselves in their trailer park home, one filled with love and respect, and you can’t help but fall in love with them.
All that I am is a terribly brave small thing, with a terribly brave small life, and a terribly brave love that spans eons.
I don’t say this lightly, but I would die for Alexandria Macallough. From the very first moment she appeared on the page, swearing and later angrily ignoring Ryann, I knew that she would be a favourite character of mine. Alexandria has made it her life’s mission to communicate with her mother, who, straight after Alexandria was born, was sent on a one-way journey out to the furtherest reaches of space with a small group of young women, to document and record their findings, not for science, but for humanity — for all the people not brave enough back home on Earth. Alexandria spends each night trying to receive signals from far past Pluto, but when she gets hurt and ends up in hospital, Ryann takes over and soon they become very tentative friends. Slowly, so very slowly, Ryann and Alexandria, over many nights staring up at the stars, grow closer to one another. It’s soft and beautiful and gentle. I adore these two girls and I adore them even more together.
While you don’t have to read Ancrum’s debut novel, The Wicker King, to understand this book, I still highly recommend that you do because it’s just as glorious as The Weight of the Stars. Especially because we get a little cameo of the main characters from The Wicker King, August and Jack, and their wife, Rina. The three characters are in a polyam marriage and they have a son, Ahmed, who is Ryann’s best friend. To say I screamed and cried when August, Jack and Rina made their appearance would be an understatement!
And the background characters! Bless all of them because they’re all so wonderful! Over the years, Ryann has collected people that most of society would have written off, and her small, interesting group of friends care for her so much and look to her as their leader. There’s Shannon, who’s part of the popular group but still chooses to hang out with Ryann’s crew; Blake who’ a little violent but super protective; Tomas who’s queer and very sweet; and Ahmed, who loves very deeply and is someone the group often goes to for help. This small group of friends are so different from each other but they make it work: they’re all incredibly dedicated to one another, and when they take Alexandria under their wing, they’re loyal to her too.
They stole lightning from the sky so we could fly.
The Weight of the Stars is a gorgeous novel that I could not put down — I actually read it in one sitting. This book will easily capture your heart and you’ll desperately want to read more, even when you find you’ve reached the end of the book. And even though I received a free copy of this book, you can bet your ass I’ll be the first one waiting outside the bookstore on March 12 for my very own physical copy.