Weight of the Stars
by Ancrum, K.






After a horrific accident brings loners Ryann and Alexandria together, Ryann learns that Alexandria's mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.





K. Ancrum grew up in Chicago Illinois, under the illusory rigor of the Chicago Public School system. She attended Dominican University to study Fashion Merchandizing, but was lured into getting an English degree after spending too many nights experimenting with hard literary criticism and hanging out with unsavory types, like poetry students. Currently, she lives in River North, Chicago, and writes books at work when no one is looking. She is the author of The Wicker King and The Weight of the Stars.





*Starred Review* Ancrum follows her devastating thriller, The Wicker King (2017), with a sf sophomore novel that is as bright as it is stellar. All tough-girl Ryann Bird desires is to soar among the stars. However, such dreams are impossible for orphans like her. Trapped in a trailer park, Ryann falls prey to the toxicities of her environment. Then she meets nerdy, aloof Alexandria and extends an offer of friendship. Alexandria rejects Ryann, however, until Alexandria suffers an accident and the two girls are thrust together, despite now despising each other. Ryann quickly learns that her and Alexandria's meeting may have not been by chance; sometimes the universe has grand plans and places certain people in your orbit. Alexandria desperately listens to radio signals every day for a transmission from her mother, who is an astronaut undertaking a one-way voyage to the edge of the solar system. Ryann must lift injured Alexandria onto the roof to listen, and as the two girls begin to lean on each other, their friendship burgeons into a more powerful bond. As before, Ancrum plunges readers into a story with a lush, dark atmosphere; heartbreaking circumstances; bright, new love that blossoms from ugliness; and vividly real, magnetic characters. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.





A high school senior discovers common ground with a new friend and develops a deep connection that changes her life. Ryann Bird is the primary support for herself, her brother, and her nephew following her parents' accidental deaths. They live in a trailer park, but she attends school in an affluent neighborhood where she maintains a tough exterior. A teacher asks her to befriend new girl Alexandria Macallough, whose mother volunteered for a controversial one-way trip into space sponsored by a private company, SCOUT. The girls' relationship has a rocky beginning, including an incident in which Alexandria is seriously injured. Seeking to make amends, Ryann involves her friends in a scheme to break into SCOUT to retrieve the messages Alexandria's mother has sent through the years. As the plan proceeds, Ryann faces her attraction to Alexandria as well as the sacrifices she has made since her parents died. This is an unusual story-both in plot and how the narrative is track ed-that touches on sexual identity, friendship, nontraditional families, and the price of human space exploration. The characters' resilience and vulnerability are deftly handled. Ryann and her family are white, while Alexandria is biracial (half black/half white). An observant Sikh secondary character with a Muslim given name and polyamorous parents is presented without sufficient backstory. For readers who are drawn to the unconventional, this will be a satisfying read. (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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