I have been in the mood for a really good YA romance for a while now, but they just kept alluding me. That is, until I received Amber Smith’s newest book Something Like Gravity. The cover caught my eye, of course, but then the description: “for fans of Love, Simon and Eleanor and Park, a romantic and sweet novel about a transgender boy who falls in love for the first time—and how first love changes us all” I crossed my fingers and hoped it wouldn’t disappoint and it definitely did not.
Chris is our main character who has recently come out as a trans man. He suffered a horrific assault at the hands of his peers, and is understandably still reeling. Maia is a cisgender female from a small southern town who is struggling to find herself after her sister has unexpectedly died. Chris and Maia’s families are both integral to the story, and we catch glimpses of them throughout. Where I was a little disappointed was in both Chris and Maia’s friends. Their characters felt very flat and one-dimensional. They were necessary for the story but felt really bland. Smith somehow gives us just enough development that we fall in love with these characters but still leaves us wanting more. The perfect literary balance.
The writing style is very fluid throughout even with switching between point of views. This could have just been a light and fluffy summer romance novel, but it goes deeper. There are secrets, pain, trauma, misunderstandings, soul searching, and imperfect relationships. I was surprised by how sensitive the romance was and how important personal growth was to the story. I want more books like this. The pacing is good, and Smith writes in such a way that the pages essentially turn themselves. There were a few times when Smith pleasantly surprised me with a plot development choice.
Is there anything sexier than CONSENT? No there is not, and Smith proves that to us within these pages. Consent is and can be sexy, I hope other authors follow suit. As far as I am aware, this was not written in Own Voices so I hope that it is an accurate depiction of a FTM point of view. I myself have never had this experience so I cannot be sure, and it does give me some pause.