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Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.
Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.
Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.
*I received a free ARC of Life in Outer space from Peachtree Publishers via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*
Life in Outer Space is a hilarious story about Sam and his nerdy, outcast friends, and their life in highschool. The jocks never miss an opportunity to torment Sam, but Mike, Adrian and Allison always have his back. He’s contemplating moving fast-forward through his life until his forties because everything sucks so much. The popular kids picking at him in school is one thing, but coming home to the big wall of silence between his parents, and his mom’s tears makes it difficult for him to actually be home, too. A self-professed movie-geek, straight A student and great friend, Sam is a fun character to follow through one year of his life – even if I was a little doubtful in the very beginning.
It has been a long time since I’ve been as enchanted by a young adult story as I was with Life in Outer Space. It’s an extremely apt coming of age story, and I think the alien aspect – being Sam feeling as if he doesn’t belong at all and must have come from another planet – is very true. I know many kids his age who feel so out of place it’s almost easier to think of themselves (or other kids their own age) as people from outer space. Sam is a truly endearing character, with his quirks, his strange friends and his hang-ups on movies. He has top five movie quotes for most things that happen in his life. And during lunch break, he and his three friends usually hide out in the computer room.
The humor is ever-present in Life in Outer Space, even in the sad and difficult moments. Sam only wants to survive this year in school, that is until Camilla shows up in his English class. Then she also shows up in the computer lab, and invite herself to his house with his other friends to start a history study group. Camilla is so cool everybody in school wants to be on her good side, and this trickles down to Sam, Adrian, Mike and Allison. The readers get to know Sam and Camilla best, but Mike, Adrian and Allison are pretty well rounded as well. We get to know what they like and not, how they deal with adversity and their way of getting through the days just to be able to get on with their lives. One of the friends is gay, and I was happy to see that this changed nothing at all in their little group – and that his parents were supportive.
I loved reading Life in Outer Space because it’s an honest story about growing up, how difficult it is to discuss feelings, falling in love, making important choices. And the main focus was not on the falling in love part. Friendship is on the forefront, and I felt like this band of nerdy geeks could have totally been my friends when I was their age. I also appreciated how protective Sam was of all his friends, and the way he tried to make sure they were safe even when he wasn’t feeling too good himself. The one thing I had a little trouble with were the absent parents, and also the way Sam thought he had to take care of his mother, and make sure she was happy as well. That’s the mom’s job, not the child’s. However, I could understand the circumstances, and Julie also changed throughout Life in Outer Space.
“You’re a knob, Justin,” Mike murmurs. “What’s that, gay-boy?” Justin says, hand to his ear like he’s deaf and not just stupid.
However – if pressed – my top five all-time greatest movie school dance scenes are: 1. The prom scene from Carrie. Chick goes ape and blows up her school with her brain. How could it not top the list?
I don’t care that Mike is gay. I figure that since there’s little chance of either of us ever touching anyone else’s parts, our relative sexualities are somewhat pointless topics of conversation.
Has anyone ever made a film about homework? Probably. I bet it was French.
The group that she seems to spend the most time around is us. I don’t know what planet she is from, but she is simply immune to crap. And because she has decided that she is our friend, we somehow find that we are immune, too.
“I’m tired of not knowing things,” I mumble. Dad chuckles. “Yeah? Get used to it.” I look at his face. his blue-gray eyes – the exact same eyes as mine – peer back at me thoughtfully. “Really, Dad? That’s your great advice?” He shrugs. “No one knows anything. Anyone who tells you they do… is full of bollocks.”
If you’re looking for a fun YA story, with nerdy friends, movie quotes, music and really great characters, you should definitely get your hands on Life in Outer Space! An added bonus is that all the action takes place in Australia, now I want to visit even more.