Loneliest Girl in the Universe
by James, Lauren

The tragic deaths of her astronaut parents strand Romy on a spaceship speeding away from Earth, forcing her to endure a solitary existence before she makes contact with the captain of another ship who harbors a mysterious agenda. 40,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

After her parents and the rest of the crew died, teenage Romy, now the ship's commander, is all alone on an interstellar spaceship headed (hopefully) toward a new Earth-like planet. She passes the time reading and writing fanfic from her favorite TV show and emailing a counselor back on Earth to handle her anxiety. When she gets news that a second, faster ship is coming to accompany her to the new planet, she's thrilled to discover that the commander of that ship, J, is only a little older than her, and their email exchange makes him seem perfect. When unrest back on Earth causes problems for their mission, Romy relies on J even more. At the outset, James' debut seems like a sf character study with glimmers of light romance, but as she skillfully, slowly unspools suspense and dread, as well as a creepy recurring nightmare and the traumatic details of Romy's parents' deaths, it more closely resembles horror. This slow-burn genre-blender has surprising twists and turns, and patient readers will be rewarded by the explosive ending. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

In the mid-21st century, a young white woman tries to complete the mission of her deceased astronaut parents.Romy, the lone survivor on a spaceship heading away from Earth, learned a great deal from her British dad and American mom, enough to help her try to reach the planet they were headed for before they died. With daily messages from her therapist, Molly, reading romance novels, and writing fan fiction, Romy copes as best she can, but the isolation is sometimes too much to bear. When she receives news that another ship has been launched to connect with hers, she is beside herself with happiness. Soon she begins to receive messages from the commander of the approaching ship, J Shoreditch, a young man of 22. Her excitement is soon tempered by a curt message from Molly: "TRANSMISSIONS POSTPONED. WAR ON EARTH." A post indicating the disbanding of the United States spells uncertainty. For a while, it appears she and J share concerns about the war. However, as his ship gets clo ser, Romy realizes she is facing grave danger from her visitor as well as from memories of how she came to be alone on her ship. As much psychological thriller as space odyssey, the timeline of the action is a challenge to follow, but the focus on the mental pressures is intriguing. For fans of speculative fiction with lots of plot twists. (Science fiction. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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