“It’s hard to focus on the future when the past is so distracting.”
For me, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was an unexpected five star read. It depicts the tale of a young woman who is the lone survivor on an American spaceship, headed to settle on a new, viable planet. When the mission first commenced, our MC Romy, was not even born. Her parents were the first to lead the ship and became pregnant throughout their time as the leaders. However, some years after her birth, horrible things happened in which resulted in the death of everyone on board, including her parents. Now, she must continue on the mission to the new planet, despite being so very and utterly alone.
This book is so cleverly written, that the ending isn't obvious until it is too late. Therefore, there is not much I can say about this book without spoiling it. Just know that this book fits into so many categories like sci-fi, contemporary romance, and thriller. The book does a great job of getting you hooked early on and making you care about our MC enough to stick through the entirety of the story. You see her go through ups and downs, and I honestly just wanted to hug her and tell her it would be okay. However, little did I know, everything would not be okay at all. I could not put this book down once I started, so it helped that I was reading it for a readathon challenge. I'll do a second posting with spoilers for those who want to read that. For now, I'll do my best though to give a thorough review for the spoiler-free readers.
Despite living alone on a spaceship, Romy finds different ways to entertain herself to avoid completely losing her mind. It isn't always easy, but she knows her mission is important to NASA, so she pushes on. One thing that keeps her occupied is her love for a television show called Loch & Ness. The show is centered around a man and a woman who go on adventures together and eventually fall madly in love. As a fan of romance, she is forever loyal to this show. So much, that she writes fan fiction about the show as well as read others. However, with her spaceship being so far away, much of what she reads or watches is old and often repeated. Our MC in this book is at times naive and pretty much like any other young teen girl. However, she is also intelligent and great at quickly thinking of strategies to get her out of situations. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to have a smart MC for once. She goes through many hardships and growths throughout this book which ultimately matures her by the end and helps her adapt to her situations.
The love interest in this book goes by the name of J; the two meet when NASA decides to send a second spaceship, the Eternity, to catch up with Romy. They would join ships and continue to the new planet together. As their ships get closer to each other, they began sending emails back and forth despite the lengthy time between sending and receiving the messages. They eventually grow a bond, no longer just pen pals but something closer. There is not much known about him for most of the book outside the little questions that they share throughout their time as pen pals. When they ultimately meet in person, it doesn't go as either of them had expected.
The Plot/World Building:
The plot of this book was so brilliantly done because it steers you into a false net of safety. You initially think the book will be about one thing and then it seamlessly shift into something you could not predict. I was blown away by the sheer talent it required to weave this tale. The world-building undoubtedly helped secure the plot so that when it shifts, it makes sense. As you near the end, you start to comprehend why everything leading up to this point has happened. Every so often it can be a touch over-the-top, but as I've mentioned before that I love when my books are over-the-top. What is the point of writing fiction if you can't be a little dramatic with your story? The book compels you to go back and reread certain lines only for you to realize the author was hinting at the reveal throughout the entire book. It's honestly comical in a dark way to go back and discover these creepy things we didn't initially notice because of the beautifully executed misdirection.
There is so much more I want to say in regards to this book. However, I think it's best to go into this book without any knowledge or expectations. Though I should inform you that this book has triggers for both family death and psychological manipulation. Go read the book and then come back to discuss it with me in the spoiler section!