Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publication Date: 19th January 2017 by Corsair (first published 24th June 2015)
Format: Paperback edition sent to me for review / blog tour by Corsair
Ethan is an exceptionally gifted young boy, obsessed with physics and astronomy.
His single mother Claire is fiercely protective of her brilliant, vulnerable son. But she can’t shield him forever from learning the truth about what happened to him when he was a baby; why Mark had to leave them all those years ago.
Now age twelve, Ethan is increasingly curious about his past, especially his father’s absence in his life. When he intercepts a letter to Claire from Mark, he opens a lifetime of feelings that, like gravity, will pull the three together again.
Let me start by expressing how much I loathe physics. Whilst I feel as though it should be interesting (and definitely is to others), I personally find it exceedingly dull and cannot stand it at all. It was a happy day when I completed my GCSE in it.
That being said, I loved this book. ‘Why is physics so relevant?’ you ask. Well, Ethan talks about it non-stop, and the kid knows what he is talking about. Referring back to GCSE, this book taught me more than sitting in those lessons ever did, and was far, far more enjoyable too. It wasn’t tedious to read at all, and I know you’re probably wondering why I requested it – I didn’t realise how much physics would be included – I’m so glad I did though.
The same can be said for all of the medical jargon that features throughout the book. Considering I know nothing about neuroscience (I mean, I do an English degree) I genuinely felt as though I understood what the doctors were saying as it was written in such a way that a complete novice could enjoy and appreciate. I particularly loved this about this book, as it could have been so exclusive but actually drew me in, despite my pretty solid hatred of physics and my complete ignorance of neuroscience. Not only that, but I fell in love with the story, so all around I’d say it was a success.
This story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and the characters are all wonderfully complex with their own contradictions and flaws. One minute I’d find myself sympathising with a character, and the next I would hate them, they had so many hidden sides. I loved the changes that occurred throughout; changes in character, in relationships, in situation. It kept me hooked right until the very last page and left me wanting more.
The writing was also beautiful. I’ve already said how a complete science-phobe (yes I made up a word) can understand this book because of the way it is written. Simplicity is the key with this book, but that greatly contradicts the big ideas that are featured throughout, in physics, medicine and family.
The main focus of this novel is without a doubt family. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book so totally engrossed with the idea of family and what it means when it is broken and the effects that one person can have on so many other people, so many years later. Ethan, who seems so simple at the beginning, grows throughout the story into a mature, deep character with a huge heart and it is through him that we can witness the complexity of all of the characters and their relationships.
Overall, I loved this book. It was effortless and beautiful, and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Yes, it can be quite heavy on science at times, but at the same time it doesn’t feel that way; it just grabs your attention and makes you want to continue reading on and on. It truly encapsulates the effect that a broken family can have on the child’s universe and it broke my heart just before it stitched it back together again.
Rating: 4.5 / 5 stars.