The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
Imprint; 2019; 384 pages
Content Warnings: Parental death, homophobia, racism, sexual assault
About the author: “K. Ancrum, is the author of the award winning thriller THE WICKER KING, a lesbian romance THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS and the upcoming Peter Pan thriller DARLING. K. is a Chicago native passionate about diversity and representation in young adult fiction. She currently writes most of her work in the lush gardens of the Chicago Art Institute.” (Taken from the author’s website.)
Ryann Bird has always dreamed of the stars, but it’s been a long time since she’s believed she’d ever get the chance to be among them. Orphaned, tough, trailer-park bound Ryann is usually deemed a troublemaker, so she decides to act like one, until a new girl comes to her school. Alexandria is angry and keeps to herself, but Ryann soon learns that she has a reason for keeping people at a distance. Her mother went on a one-way mission to space when she was an infant, and Alexandria spends every night trying to catch radio transmissions from the mother she’s never met. After Alexandria is injured, Ryann helps her onto the roof where her anger dissolves and something deeper grows between them as they stare at the night sky.
Ancrum’s writing style is easy to read and incredibly graceful. Her description of the implications of space travel are as scientific as they are philosophical; a three-hundred page unfolding of the feeling one gets from trying to conceptualize just how big the universe is. Like the slow revelation of Alexandria and her mother’s backstory, Alexandria and Ryann’s relationship was one of the most gradual, slow-burn romances I’ve ever read. Their chemistry is organic, warm, and intertwined with mutual understanding and respect for one another. All the characters in the novel are outcasts in some way or another, but each finds happiness in the rag-tag group formed by Ryann. A dazzling, ethereal novel about love, family, and what it means to be human, K. Ancrum’s The Weight of the Stars should not be missed.
PRR Writer, Grace Kennedy