What would a YA book look like if instead of being written for angst-ridden teen girls it was targeted for adults who wish they were angst-ridden teen girls? It would look a lot like The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett.
Jamie Allenby wants some alone time and to achieve this end, she leaves the over-crowded Earth and takes a job on a far-away planet in one of the most remote areas she can find. But then a virus plaque hits Earth wiping out most of the population and suddenly Jamie comes realize just how alone she actually is as she tries and tries to make contact with any other human beings. Finally she receives a strange message. It’s distorted, but she realizes that it means someone is still alive on Earth and reaching out.
Conveniently, a ship is passing through and picks up Jamie and she and this motley assortment of what’s left of humanity work their way back to Earth and they discuss and plan for their work to renew life on Earth, but they don’t all agree on how best to move forward – some cling to old ways even though there’s nothing left to cling to. Others want to reach out in new ways, but all can’t quite grasp what that might be and they can’t agree on the different possibilities. Jamie struggles to comprehend the massive elimination of humanity.
This book is full of pathos, angst, and reflection – three traits common in certain popular styles of YA fiction but not really quite so enjoyable here. Did I mention there’s a lot of ‘reflection’ here? The entire novel seems to have no focus other than to reflect on “what if you wanted to be alone and actually got what you were wishing for?”
A book that is going to be about reflecting on loss needs to have something to keep the reader interested, which boils down to a strong character. But Jamie tends to wallow in self-pity even though she puts herself into whatever situation she finds herself in and then complains about how terrible everything is. We probably all know people like that and probably don’t enjoy being around those people, and typically we don’t like reading about them very much either.
Looking for a good book? The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett is a slow-moving story about one woman coming to comprehend the end of all humanity and is probably only for readers who enjoy reading about others who have problems worse than their own.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Space Between the Stars
author: Anne Corlett
hardcover, 512 pages