The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum
“I do like fights and it has been a month or two,” is Ryann’s response to Tomas when he asks her to beat someone up for him. It’s a good quote to sum up Ryann. She’s tough and she’ll do anything for her friends. She’s also a leader with the power to attract and connect those that don’t belong anywhere else. She’s the Peter Pan to the Lost Boys. When a teacher specifically asks Ryann to look out for a new girl in school, she vows to do it. Even though this girl looks and acts really, really pissed off. And like she’s not looking for a friend. Turns out, this girl is the infamous Alexandria Macallough, child of SCOUT space traveler, Effie Watts.
See, 18-ish years ago, a private company sent a small group of people to space, outside of the Earth’s solar system, to collect their observations in the name of science and art. When these space travelers agreed to leave the Earth, they also agreed to never return. That’s why SCOUT made sure the women they selected for the mission were eighteen (old enough to make the decision) and without family attachments. Unfortunately, SCOUT did not realize that one of their travelers had become pregnant. They hid Effie’s pregnancy from the press and, months later, once she was launched in space, delivered Baby Alexandria to her father’s family (like Effie, he was a teen). Separating the child from her mother forever. Ever since Alexandria was old enough to know the story, she has tried to contact her mother through radio waves, building myriad contraptions and sitting on the roof of her house every night to catch transmissions. This is where Ryann and her gang find Alexandria the night Ryann decides to befriend her. Unfortunately, Alexandria is startled then angry then ends up falling off her roof, landing her in the hospital. Eventually, this is the catapult that leads to Ryann and Alexandria’s friendship and, eventually, more than friendship.
The Weight of Stars defies genres. It’s realistic with an almost magical tone then waxes near-future science fiction. The beginning is a bit slow and for a while, readers will be unsure of the story’s direction. Is it about finding your people? Is it about the family you make instead of the family you’re born into? Is it about overcoming diversity? Is it about pursuing your dreams regardless of the challenges ahead? Is it about falling in love? Is it about space travel? The answer to all of these questions is YES. Helpfully, the chapters are super short which will keep readers turning pages. Once the space story hits, everything comes together and it’s emotional and thought provoking and swoony. The ending had me in tears. The imagery is a WOAH. The cover is a WOAH. I loved this book.