Life in Outer Space
Author: Melissa Keil
Published August 1st, 2013 by Peachtree Publishers
Goodreads Summary: Sam is a geek movie-buff with a ragtag group of loser friends who have been taking abuse from the popular kids for years. But when the super-cool Camilla moves to town, she surprises everyone by choosing to spend time with Sam’s group. Suddenly they go from geek to chic, and find that not everything boils down to us and them. With their social lives in flux, Sam and Camilla spend more and more time together. They become the best of friends, and Sam finds that he’s happier and more comfortable in his own skin than ever before. But eventually Sam must admit to himself that he’s fallen in love. If he confesses his true feelings to Camilla, will everything change again?
My Review: Loved this book. A perfect combination of Spinelli’s Stargirl, a John Green book, and a rom-com. Loved the voice, quirks, characters, and plot. A sleeper title from 2013 that you should read.
A couple things I really loved about this book:
- The characters are such good people. Although they evolve, they never were kids I wouldn’t want my son to hang out with.
- A romance-y book from a boy’s point of view!
- Camilla is so cool yet so uncool and just shows how the labels and cliques and such of high school are just so stupid. Oh, and that you cannot judge a book by its cover.
- The writing, music, and movie references. Just a bit of geeky, but not too much.
Ricki’s Review: Can be viewed here.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I think first and foremost, this book needs to be in libraries so that kids (and adults!) can get their hands on it. In the classroom, it can definitely be used as for a mentor text. I think it is perfect for an example of character development and voice. The characters in this book are so strong and there are lines and passages throughout that show the characters’ personality. There are also parts that deal with writing poetry/music and would be great passages to talk about writing with students.
Discussion Questions: How does Camilla change the dynamic at Sam’s school? And how did she change Sam and his friends?; (During) Why do you think Mike quit karate?; How does Melissa Keil use music and movies to help move the plot? Show character’s personalities?; How is Sam’s parents’ issues affecting him?;
We Flagged: “She is wearing a yellow dress that looks like it belongs to a 1950s housewife, and a pair of flat red boots. Her hair is longer than I’d imagine would be practical; it’s parted in the middle and hangs in brown waves almost to her waist. She peers around the room impassively. She doesn’t look terrified. She doesn’t look insanely overconfident, like Adrian that time in year seven when he performed a song as his book report for The Outsiders. Mike and I mark that event as ground zero for the downward social spiral of our group.” (p. 11)
Read This If You Loved: Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Paper Towns by John Green, Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell