Chris is on the verge of exploding, living with his aunt because he is too much of a burden for his parents. Maia is struggling with the unexplained death of her sister. When Chris moves into his aunt’s small town, everything feels uncertain, except when he finally begins to open up to Maia, the girl he’s always been waiting for. Acclaimed author Amber Smith explores the complexity of love and simultaneously breaks down the boundaries of love and gender in her latest novel: Something Like Gravity.
The book begins with Chris and Maia—stuck in the same small town, bogged down by their past, and uncertain about their future. When a party goes awry, the two are bonded together and forge a friendship that goes even further. But everything comes into question when Chris reveals his biggest secret: the fact that he is transgender. Both concerned with his parents’ less-than-perfect reaction, Chris welcomes the love and judgment-free love that Maia has to offer. With both tragedy and a bitter-sweet love story, Smith tells another raw and achingly real story about teens navigating the darkness of the world.
Something Like Gravity was a refreshing LGBTQ read, one that I highly recommend. It focused on the stigma around transgender teens and the difficulties they face that often go unnoticed. Amber Smith’s story opened my eyes to the struggles of the community and helped me with both empathy and understanding. But the truly fantastic element of the novel is that it doesn’t focus on the “coming out” aspect of Chris’s story; it goes much deeper than the typical “coming out” YA novel. I think Smith delivers a story that pushes boundaries and challenges readers, which is something well-needed in YA fiction. Something Like Gravity is not only entertaining and sugar sweet but also thoughtful and moving in all the best ways.
Chris and Maia suddenly feel heard and understood. Living with people and families that seem to be against them, the two find solace in their shared pain and the hope they have for the future. Told with authenticity and charm, Smith captures the lives of two very different and interesting teenagers dealing with identity, family, and first love.