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The Weight of the Stars

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Ryann Bird dreams of traveling across the stars. But a career in space isn’t an option for a girl who lives in a trailer park on the wrong side of town. So Ryann becomes her circumstances and settles for acting out and skipping school to hang out with her delinquent friends.

One day she meets Alexandria: a furious loner who spurns Ryann’s offer of friendship. After a horrific accident leaves Alexandria with a broken arm, the two misfits are brought together despite themselves—and Ryann learns her secret: Alexandria’s mother is an astronaut who volunteered for a one-way trip to the edge of the solar system.

Every night without fail, Alexandria waits to catch radio signals from her mother. And its up to Ryann to lift her onto the roof day after day until the silence between them grows into friendship, and eventually something more . . .

In K. Ancrum’s signature poetic style, this slow-burn romance will have you savoring every page.

An Imprint Book

384 pages, Hardcover

First published March 19, 2019

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About the author

K. Ancrum

10 books1,464 followers
K. Ancrum, is the author of  the award winning thriller THE WICKER KING,  the interstellar lesbian romance THE WEIGHT OF THE STARS and the upcoming Peter Pan thriller DARLING. K. is a Chicago native passionate about diversity and representation in young adult fiction. She currently writes most of her work in the lush gardens of the Chicago Art Institute. 

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5 stars
1,441 (34%)
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3 stars
852 (20%)
2 stars
270 (6%)
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70 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,233 reviews
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews63.9k followers
May 19, 2020
I feel like calling books like this "quiet science fiction" ? though that's probably not a real term. What I mean is a story that is character driven, introspective and existential, with science and space being the motivation for the setting, but not the vehicle for the story itself.

In this book we're following 2 teenage girls, a slow burning hate to love romance, family hardships, and the desperate lure of space travel.

Ryann is used to acting out and not expecting a lot of herself. She's from a trailer park on the wrong side of town, and knows her hopes of space travel are out of reach. Enter Alexandria, left behind as a baby by her mother on a one way trip to the edge of the solar system. This unlikely duo, along with one of my favourite friend groups of all time, navigate their circumstances and come together in powerful ways.

The tone of this book was stunning, it had sharp writing, and knew just how to torture its reader with the teetering emotional and physical state of these character's respective realities. Highly recommend for fans of Come Find Me by Megan Miranda, Midnight at the Electric b Jodi Lynn Anderson, and I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi.
Profile Image for chai ♡.
321 reviews156k followers
August 11, 2022
I'm just a person with an intensely detailed and romanticized infatuation with SPACE and FICTIONAL CHARACTERS and this book just knew exactly which buttons to push. Ancrum returns with a lovely, charming, and profoundly moving story that blends the splendor of nostalgia, the fervor of youth, and the the deep sadness of growing up with an absentee parent with whole passages of unbearably tender musings on space and the universe. I finished this book and wandered downstairs in a dream, gripped by an inexplicable desire to go outside and lay on a patch of grass, under the cold of the stars.
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,095 reviews17.7k followers
March 30, 2022
description

All joking aside, this book was wonderful. @KaylaAncrum so kindly offered me an arc of The Weight of the Stars literally months ago, and my reading slump sort of destroyed my reading plans (oops), but. It. Was. Worth. The. Wait. Well-written, existential, and so so deeply human. And the last twenty pages are singlehandedly my favorite thing I’ve read this year.

Here, we’re essentially following three lead characters:
➽Ryann Bird, trying to raise her brother James and James’ adopted child Charlie. She really likes rescuing people
➽Alexandria McCallough, black & biracial, the daughter of an astronaut sent to die in space
➽Ahmed Bateman, Ryann’s best friend and the child of Jack, August, and Riya

This actually took longer to grow on me than The Wicker King, as it’s definitely just a little more slow burn, but I ended up binge reading it. Kayla Ancrum is so good at getting you invested in characters in very brief moments. Ryann and Alexandria fall in love and the romance is just… can we talk about tenderness? I'd like to talk about tenderness.

What’s interesting here is that the book sort of starts off as a contemporary romance, and then dives into being sci-fi, but its tone works because the focus stays deeply humanistic. We know these characters and we care about these characters, and so the story becomes one about the people involved in these great space missions, rather than the great space missions themselves. It’s a story about the great void of space, but it’s really a story about two girls with seperate trauma falling in love; these things can coexist because that is how our world works, as broad conflict merged with small interpersonal griefs.

The ending is... amazing, and the mixed-media element of the last ten pages or so (you’ll know if you’ve read it) is stunning, and made me tear up. The final two pages honestly tore me into a million pieces in a good way. I don’t think I can actually explain why, but the last pages made me feel such a deep connection to the world as it is, to the point where I started crying choking sobs.

There’s a little decision in here, the decision to have Jack and August and Rina as loving parents who still have their issues but are Good and Healthy people, that is just so wonderful and so revolutionary, on multiple levels. These are characters who we’ve seen go through some really dark shit and now we’re seeing them on page as really good parents and that’s so important. And I think that’s what ultimately makes this book and The Wicker King so special – there’s this fundamental sense of hope to everything in this world. both of these books go dark, but still constantly position love and human connection as guiding forces, and winning forces.

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Profile Image for emma.
1,868 reviews54.4k followers
July 11, 2020
Anyone know if the program in this book, in which young people are recruited to spend their lives traveling through space in a rocket, is anywhere close to existing in real life? Because I’m interested.

I’d like to be vaulted out of the atmosphere, if possible.

Did this drag for me in the middle? Yes. Did the friendships and characterizations kind of stray away from what I would call “realistic” or even “pleasant and/or believable to read about”? Indubitably.

But overall, this was such a creative and unique read. And really beautifully written.

That’s all I have to say.

Can I get off this planet now?

Bottom line: I will think about this book a lot, both because it’s a good book and because it’s existence-departure goals.

------------

my 100th read of 2020 😎

and it was a good one!

review to come / 4 stars

------------

how to make me want to read a book:
- mention stars in the title
- that's it

(thanks to the publisher for the ARC. oops)

---

i am spending this month reading books by Black authors. please join me!

book 1: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them
book 2: Homegoing
book 3: Let's Talk about Love
book 4: Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People about Race
book 5: The Sellout
book 6: Queenie
book 7: Red at the Bone
book 8: The Weight of the Stars
Profile Image for may ➹.
494 reviews2,069 followers
May 10, 2020
4.5 stars

I was just looking for a good time and instead I ended up crying myself to sleep at 1am because of this book, and K Ancrum knows exactly what she’s done and I know she’s out there smiling to herself!!!

The Weight of the Stars is about a girl named Ryann, who is struggling through her last year of high school while having to take care of her brother and his son. Alexandria is new to town, and she instantly intrigues Ryann, to the point where it gets her in trouble.

But there is more to Alexandria than what Ryann initially thought, and their flat-out hostility towards each other transforms into friendship and later romance.

At the surface, this book is about these two girls, but beneath that, there are underlying themes of what your place in the world is, taking opportunities you never thought you’d get because of who you are, and loving unconditionally—your friends, your family, your romantic partner, and yourself.

“Four light-years from the second largest pulsar, past the black dust and the white. In a small circle of golden light, made by a careful teenage star, I found you […] No matter what I did or said, there you stood. Like a fixed point, and the Earth moved around you.”

I can’t think of any other way to start this review off than by saying: This book is absolutely stunning. There’s truly something special about the way K Ancrum writes; it’s simply and subtly beautiful, without any flourishes or embellishments. It’s as if she’s put in no effort at all and yet somehow the most gorgeous lines have stemmed from her mind.

From the very beginning of this book, you could tell that it was going to be 1) a tearjerker, 2) beautifully written, and 3) impossible to put down. And it was all of those things and more.

One of the strongest points in this book is the cast of characters. They are all so endearing and written in such a complex way, and I easily fell in love with them. One of my favorite tropes of all time is the found family trope, and the found family in this was so intriguing and lovable.

And not only is there found family, but there is blood family as well, specifically between siblings. The love between Ryann and James? So, so beautiful. There’s one scene in particular that made me cry because of how much I felt for Ryann as an older sister myself, and I think their relationship was portrayed beautifully.

Love is not about holding people where you want them. It is about doing what’s best for them because you need them to be okay.

Ryann: beautiful black butch lesbian, who loves her friends and family fiercely and would do just about anything for them. in love with space and the idea of being able to travel across it. seems tough and rough but also just very soft
Alexandria: new girl in town whose mother went on a one-way trip in space and has been lonely her whole life, catching radio signals from her mother every night. irritable to Ryann at first but then becoming something more
James: Ryann’s brother whose trauma caused him to stop speaking. he has a beautiful little baby that he is an amazing father to
Ahmed: Ryann’s best friend, who is the Sikh son of three parents in a polyamorous relationship (if you’ve read The Wicker King…you know who they are!!!)
Shannon: the traditionally popular girl that shouldn’t fit in this little band of misfits but somehow does anyway
Tomas and Blake: I don’t remember these two particularly well but they were cool (look I’m sorry I have horrible memory)

“You looked like… the whole world was built just so that you could walk on it. Who could look away from that? Who would want to?”

And of course, the romance in this book is no less beautiful than everything else. I loved Ryann and Alexandria’s relationship so much to the point that it made me cry. The way they found each other and learned to let each other go, the way they helped each other learn how to heal, the way they gave a piece of their heart to each other without even knowing—all of it was absolutely beautiful and heartwrenching.

There is also another romance featured in this book that was just so powerful, the one shown between Alexandria’s mom and dad in the form of transcripts. God, my heart broke over and over for them, and I was full-on sobbing at one point because of how much it hurt to read their story, however brilliantly it was written.

Unsurprisingly, the space aspect was another huge reason why I fell in love with this book. Just like any other gay out there, I have a slight infatuation with space and the idea of millions of stars and galaxies out there, though sometimes the sheer size of it makes me dizzy.

The way space is written in this book is mildly terrifying, but also wholly beautiful. It’s a place to get lost in yet also to find yourself, whether in its glorious beauty or its vast emptiness. Reading about space in the way K Ancrum had described it made me feel this sense of calmness, the knowledge (or belief) there are a million worlds out there and here I am, existing on this one.

“All that I am is a terribly brave small thing, with a terribly brave small life, and a terribly brave love that spans eons. All that you are, is the tether to that love—as timeless and brilliant as the night sky.”

The only reason I docked off a half star was because in the beginning, I didn’t really connect to the book and characters as much. The amount of my love for the rest of the book made me realize that the beginning wasn’t that great for me!

I truly believe that this book is a book everyone can find something to love in. It’s a contemporary with that little dash of magic that always accompanies the idea of space. It’s a story of love in all its forms—platonic, familial, romantic, and even self-love.

Most of all, though, it’s the beautiful narrative of a girl who didn’t fight for herself until the last moment, and the people who helped her see it was okay to stand for herself, and the girl who promised she would come for her and she did.

(And of course, GAYS IN SPACE.)

:: rep :: almost all-POC and/or queer cast, black lesbian poor MC, sapphic LI, black bi poor major side character with selective mutism (?), side polyamory rep

:: content warnings :: alcohol and drug use, mention of parental death, mild violence, mention of suicide, mention of homophobia (challenged)


Thank you to Macmillan for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This did not affect my opinion in any way.

All quotes are from an advanced copy and may differ in final publication.
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,743 reviews5,283 followers
January 1, 2020
All Ryann wants is to travel through space, but that’s not happening for a girl living in a trailer park, taking care of her brother and his baby—so she spends her time befriending the “misfits” at her school and trying to stay out of trouble. When Alexandria shows up, she wants nothing to do with Ryann and her friends, but Ryann’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when that challenge is a girl known far and wide for being the only daughter of a famous astronaut who went to space and never came back.

If you’ve seen my review of The Wicker King by this same author, you already know how much I adore her as both a writer and a human being, so when I was given the opportunity to read and review The Weight of the Stars, I could barely stand myself. She told me this book was a WLW love letter to her queer-lady fans, and I remember thinking, ‘Would it be humanly possible for me to do anything other than love this?’

“I know the weight of this and I know the price.”

Thankfully, if you hadn’t already guessed, that answer was a big resounding NOPE, because here we are, and I am positively smitten by yet another incredible, poetic, melancholy, queer-as-hell K. Ancrum story. The atmosphere is incredible, the narrative voice stunned me over and over, and the characters are, just as I expected, nothing short of delightful.

Sometimes the only way to pry your arms away from tightly holding yourself together is when you’re given a reason to hold up your fists. Fighting for yourself is another way of loving yourself.

First and foremost, there’s Ryann Bird, the main character, who I realized within basically half a chapter that I wanted to protect at all costs because how could I not?! She’s this incredible butch girl (which, WOW, can we please see more butch girls in YA?!), she’s tall and strong and powerful, and she seems super rough around the edges but she’s a total puddle of soft, warm goo inside. I could honestly write this entire review and never mention anything besides how much I love Ryann Bird. Also, like, she’s unapologetically kind of violent but only when the situation really deserves it, and I will always live in total support of viciously protective #squadmoms.

So there they were: sitting in the ruins of the best that they could build. And it would always have to be enough.

Of course, there’s also her little found family: James, the younger brother who stopped speaking after a trauma, who has a sweet baby he cherishes and takes such good care of; Ahmed, her best friend, a soft and goofy Sikh teen (whose polyam family made me SCREAM?! more on this in a moment); Shannon, the popular girl who shouldn’t “belong” in their group but somehow perfectly does; Blake, the self-tattooed quiet one; Tomas, the gangly mohawked queer boy who is so cute and reactive and lovely. And, finally, there’s Alexandria, who is so prickly at the beginning that I couldn’t decide if I wanted to slap her or stare at her lovingly (*insert “you’re doing great sweetie” gif here*), because honestly, she has every right to be prickly.

“It’s almost like they can’t breathe without each other. I don’t even know what would happen if one of them died. The magnitude of it is terrifying.”

Finally, that thing I said I’d come back to? Well, you don’t have to read The Wicker King before this one, but you SHOULD, because a certain very precious and strange and sweet little emo trio shows back up, except a couple of decades have passed and they’re all grown up and married and parenting together and wow, this is the polyam rep my heart has been dying to see. It felt so good to see them all again and I literally screamed into a pillow when I realized we were going to spend time with them on page and just… *wistful sigh* I don’t even know what else to say besides gushing incoherently.

“Who are you supposed to be? Some kind of… Native American, Revolutionary-era, pirate… dominatrix?”

Oh, and honestly, the diverse rep in this book? Just wow, K is a queen and I will cherish her forever. Almost everyone in this group is either a person of color or queer or BOTH and it gave me so much life. I love that, while so many other authors are out here still just throwing in a Token Gay™, K’s like, “Nah, let’s just have a Token Cishet™ instead.” What a powerhouse.

“I just want to be good to her. While I can.”

The closest thing to a “complaint” I had is that there’s a big plot point which I won’t spoil, but it had me glaring at a couple of characters and internally screaming, ‘Why would you do this to me?! To yourselves?! WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS?!’ But, then I remembered that this was a K. Ancrum book, and I knew I was signing up for some variation of heartbreak when I first opened it, and really, it was all good and beautiful enough to be worth the agony, so like I said: does it even count as a complaint? Nope.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to K. Ancrum for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Kayla Dawn.
291 reviews901 followers
June 26, 2019
God, I really really wanted to love this..

"The Wicker King" is one of my favorite books and my hopes were so high for this one.. I was sure Ancrum would be one of my new favorite authors.
But I just didn't enjoy this one. Neither did I care for the plot nor the characters.. and the writing style felt way different than it did in Wicker King.

I don't know. I'm sad now..

(But everyone else seems to love it so far, so maybe I'm just weird lol.)
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,877 followers
December 29, 2019
Damn this book! Such a good read but it completely wrecked me. I’m emotionally and physically exhausted but in a good way. I wanted to end the year by reading a few books that have been on my to read list all year long and I’m so glad I picked this one because this book was excellent. Ancrum writes really well and I was completely sucked into the book. I read past 3am and had to keep going until the end, I could not put this down.

It’s interesting that the older I’m getting the more I appreciate YA. I never used to be a YA fan but maybe I like reliving the good parts of high school. Actually, what I think it is is that good YA can really make you feel and I love good books that do that. This book is the perfect example of that and it was crazy emotional. My eyes are so red from crying that people are actually asking me if I’m okay. I went through half a box of tissues but I loved every second of this.

This is actually a slight enemies to lovers (and I mean that in YA terms) romance. The romance is really slow burn and I loved how the characters relationship progressed as the book went on. It is a YA rated romance but I absolutely believed in them as a possible couple and I was rooting hard for them.

I was also really impressed by the characters themselves. There is a great cast of characters all around with everyone being well imagined and important to the story in their own right. Ryann who really is the star of the book is fantastic and the kind of kid you would want to be friends with if you time traveled back to high school. Ancrum has a very strong YA voice and I was really impressed.

This ended up being one of the better books I read all year. I had my fingers crossed but I didn’t expect to be this moved, this emotional, and connected to the characters. I hope Ancrum will write another wlw story again because I would read it in a heartbeat. This book is so easy to recommend. If you are looking for fantastic YA book look no further, this is the book for you.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
1,745 reviews6,670 followers
May 12, 2019
This young-adult novel featuring high school seniors shows the heavy weight of mistakes, both inherited and self-made. It portrays palpable emotions such as grief, protectiveness, anger, hope, and love, and it does this all with a beautifully diverse cast of characters.

As for the rating, this novel started out as a 3 for me (mainly because I wasn't quite sure where it was trying to go), the story progression later on had me at a high 4, but that author's note...OMG, a solid 5. K. Ancrum can deliver everything with her writing. So much talent ♡

This non-spoiler excerpt from the author's note is all the review you need.
"I filled The Weight of the Stars with teenagers throttling their trauma instead of drowning in it because you deserve to see your peers being strong.
...
Please look at them and know you too can seize your failure by the neck and look it in the eyes. Know that you can gaze at the you that was and say, "I love you. You can be more than this."
Know that you can step forward, even when everything in you is screaming to keep looking back.
You are evolving and growing.
You deserve to."
OMG...everything ♡

My favorite quote:
"Figure out what kind of person you want to be."

Profile Image for nat.
71 reviews269 followers
July 8, 2021
Here I am, getting nostalgic enough about my favorite books to finally write reviews for them. The Weight of the Stars was my favorite book of 2019, and despite how much I had talked about it last year, I don't think I've even ever mentioned it in a descriptive manner in like... 7 months. And I don't really know why, either? Because this book is so amazing, brilliant and special, and as my old one-line review said, "I LOVE THIS BOOK PLEASE READ IT."

This follows a Black lesbian named Ryann, and it's understatement to say I loved her. She's terribly succumable (no that isn't a word) to basically bringing any outcast or loner she comes across into her friend group of people who definitely should not fit well together by any means. And yet, their dynamic is so lovable, and among my most favorite character relationships / friend groups in a book. And in the timeframe of this book, someone new Ryann brings to her group is Alexandria, a grumpy sapphic Black girl who I love with all my heart. Ryann's and Alexandria's banter at the beginning of the book (or the lack of it, lol) is to die for, and when they start getting closer - revealing things about themselves to one another and then into kissing territory? I was all here for it.

Ten million light-years from now
bathed in the radiation of
a time without time
are the bones of a girl who loved Ryann Bird.

In the dust left over from our supernova
atoms spread farther
and wider than hope
are pieces of the heart of the girl who
loved Alexandria the Great.


But characters and romance aside, this book is also just written so beautifully. I'd been wanting to read K. Ancrum's books for a while before getting to this one, this being my first read of hers, and could recall being so wowed at how good the writing was. I wouldn't call it necessarily 'poetic' (what I feel what comes to mind when the writing of a book is remarked upon as being beautiful), like think the writing of Anna-Marie McLemore's, but it just has a satisfyingly minimalist feel to it. Sure, it's not overly florid or descriptive, but it just has the tendency to hit you in all of the places, and while I was recently rereading the first few pages of this, I couldn't help but smile at how good the writing was. Also, I absolutely loved the format in which this was written with, and its eccentrically styled chapter headings & variations of the shades on the edges of the pages.

Also, I adored how this was wrapped up. The ending made me tear up, and I wasn't even expecting this book to conclude the way it did? Despite that, I was still so in love with it while reading it and when I finished the last page, I was left with this feeling of loss. Not necessarily in the morbid or depressing type either, I was just in awe of all of the beauty this book entailed from front to end. I was completely entranced by it too—I finished it in six hours, which is to say the least, definitely not something that's usual of me to do, and was left wanting so much more.

To close this review, I'll simply say I really do hope you pick this up. I heard so much about it before and during the time of its release, but unfortunately never really see anyone reading it now, which makes me so sad. (Also, I just realized I pretty much read this exactly last year ago - 1 year and 9 days, which makes this even more due for a reread now!!)

content warnings: sexual assault, mention of suicide
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,520 reviews8,988 followers
July 11, 2020
Ugh I dislike writing negative reviews of books by queer BIPOC authors so I’m gonna try to make this one quick. I appreciated the nonproblematic representation in The Weight of the Stars, ranging from the Black lesbian romance to the polyamorous parental relationship to the prominent Sikh character. Reading the author’s note, I liked how K. Ancrum cared for characters and how they represented people confronting their issues and overcoming their problems through love, knowing their worth, and connection.

I unfortunately just did not like the writing or the character development in The Weight of the Stars at all. For the first 120 pages, I felt so confused by the plot – why is this group of characters throwing rocks at Alexandria? Then, why would Alexandria’s father allow one of the characters who threw rocks at her daughter into his household so easily, as well as into his daughter’s room? Also, why and how did Alexandria and Ryann become friends after that incident? Beyond the first 120 pages, a lot of the main plot events occurred through telling and not showing, which manifested in long bits of dialogue that explained backstory as well as the current ongoing conflicts. Finally, I felt that Ryann and Alexandria’s characters were lacking in complexity. As another character put it, they both have an angry surface, a nice core, and yet I didn’t feel or see the emotional nuances of their connection with one another, their grief processes, or their evolution throughout the story.

Ancrum’s book The Wicker King looks similarly enticing from its description yet I’m unsure whether to read it after my experience with this novel. Any thoughts on that quandary are appreciated. I hope I can get to a five-star book soon as I haven’t read one for about over a month now.
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,301 reviews27.9k followers
March 28, 2020
DNF at 205 pages
I knew I was taking a risk by putting a young adult book in my five star predictions.. but I’m still really shocked I didn’t love this. I think my problem is that I went into this with false expectations and I didn’t really understand what this book is even about going in. I thought it would involve more sci-if and space elements. It’s really just a moody coming of age story in a futuristic setting and sometimes they mention astronauts and space stuff.

I didn’t connect with any of these characters. I just didn’t care, they all felt so cliche and like stereotypes to me. I couldn’t tell apart the voices of all of Ryann’s group of friends. The chapters were so short, which I usually love but it made it hard to connect to the characters or the story. The writing just wasn’t for me I guess - and I got tired of reading scene after scene of teens partying and doing drugs and trouble-making.

The romance in this book was fine, it was cute but since I couldn’t connect at all to the characters I just didn’t care much about that either. The only reason this book gets two stars as opposed to one is because I love the diversity in this book: the f/f relationship, m/m relationships and a polyamorous relationship that’s also super interesting and different to read about. But other than that this felt like the standard YA book that I just don’t understand the hype about it and don’t connect with the characters. 😐🙃
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews192 followers
July 24, 2019
The Weight of the Stars is the kind of novel that reminds me of the power of quiet books. There are no grand revelations, surprises or explosions; just two girls, their friends, and the stars - and yet it feels so wide, carrying so much weight sometimes in just a paragraph, so much emotion in the unspoken moments.
It does feel like looking at the stars.

This is a story about Ryann, a queer butch girl, who falls in love with Alexandria, a biracial black girl whose mother left to live in space and never returned to earth. It's a story about them and their friend group, a group of teenagers (many of which queer and/or people of color) just trying to make it work despite their trauma and the general unfairness of life. It's about humanity, and the ways we look at space. It's so many things, and I won't lie, just like The Wicker King, it's such a strange book. It will either speak to you or not make much sense, but I'm sure that in either case it will be unlike every other thing you've ever read.

The romance felt also very different to me. Not only because it's f/f, even though that's always something I look for, but because Ryann and Alexandra's relationship it isn't... soft, unlike most f/f romances I know, especially in YA. It's angry, it's raw, it's deeply beautiful.
The friendships are far softer, though not always, but I loved them too. Of the side characters, Ahmed was my favorite, and I was living for the cameos of the characters from The Wicker King (so, Ahmed's three parents. Who are happy and in love. Polyamory rep and Sikh rep!)

Just like with the previous book, there are some mixed media aspects to this. I'm not only referring to the way chapters are structured - extremely short, with a time in the place of a title - but also to some things that happen near the end. I thought that part was beautiful; I thought it was necessary, because one can't think about space and not be aware of their own smallness, one can't think about space and not be aware of being just a part of a whole - one can't think about space without thinking about humanity.

I loved most of this book. However, I don't see it as a full five stars. Because I liked these characters, and cared about them, and yet I didn't understand them, and something got lost along the way.

I think I know what happened. A big plot point in this book is people being separated because they decide to live the rest of their lives in space, away from earth. I think I was supposed to feel that mix of wonder and grief and longing for infinity they felt, and at times I did, but mostly I couldn't. I am the kind of person who sees the meaning of life on leaves, and feels so strongly about plants that is afraid of them. I... have roots, and the idea of leaving it all behind, the plants of which I want to learn the names of or the combtooth blennies or even the polychaetes living in polluted waters - I don't think I will ever be able to understand that decision.

I understand that not everyone sees things like I do, but I was so caught up in how horrifying I found even only the idea of teenagers deciding to leave the earth to live shut off in a box floating in nothingness, so away from life, that the ending landed with half the impact it could have had.

It still made me feel so much, and for that, I will always remember it positively. [4.75 stars]
Profile Image for Romie.
1,094 reviews1,270 followers
January 17, 2020
I don't know how to talk about this book without saying, first and foremost, that it's such a beautiful one. such a brilliant one. such a unique one. it's so different from what I've read in the past, especially when it comes to f/f relationships.
it's a book that broke my heart, again and again. it gave me a group of friends, lonely people coming together and forming a family, helping one another no matter what. it gave me a commentary on loneliness and humanity, and what it means to go after something bigger than yourself.
I came to care so much about these kids. so much. also, this book features characters from The Wicker King and oh my heart. it made me so happy. so happy. (4.75)
Profile Image for mina reads™️.
544 reviews7,017 followers
December 12, 2019
I haven’t cried while finishing a book in so long but I’m sobbing over this one...I don’t know what to do with myself right now

The Weight of the Stars is a YA title about a young girl named Ryann Bird who dreams of space travel, however a career in space seems unattainable for a young girl who lives in a trailer park. No parents to speak of, just her taking care of herself, her younger brother James and James’ son. One day she meets a girl named Alexandria and Ryann is desperate to integrate the moody new girl into her friend group.

Sprinkle in achingly beautiful writing, stunning friendships, interesting sci-fi elements and a beautiful slow burn romance=this masterpiece.
I really love Ryann, she’s this tall, butch queer girl willing to fight for her friends or give hugs and emotional support in equal measure. And Alexandria was a furious biracial girl with difficult circumstances and a sad past but the relationship she formed with Ryan 😭💖💖💖

I picked this book up slightly on a whim and finished it in a single sitting. I laughed, I cried like crazy and was genuinely floored by the unique yet beautifully poetic writing style. I’ve never wanted to hold a group of characters in my arms and tell them everything is going to be okay like I wanted to with these characters. They have my heart.
Profile Image for Silvia .
642 reviews1,427 followers
March 19, 2019
I was kindly sent this book as an advanced copy by the author for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.

Okay let me tell you about this book and not because technically I kind of have to review it but because I just really need an outlet for what I'm feeling after finishing it.

THIS BOOK is very different from The Wicker King but it's also very similar. But kind of not. I'M ALREADY NOT MAKING SENSE HERE but I'm really trying.

The Weight of the Stars throws you in an initially seemingly familiar contemporary YA setting. You have a MC, Ryann, who is a bit of a troublemaker and doesn't have a typical teenage home situation, you have the new girl at school, and you have Ryann's group of friends who don't belong anywhere so they all belong together. And yet the way everything is presented already announces itself not to be so typical after all, starting from literally every character's backstory.

By far one of my favorite thing was the found family element in this and all of the different bits of representation we are presented with. We have a mostly (all?) queer cast, a teenage single father with PTSD and selective mutism (I'm not sure if the terminology is correct but this is what I found googling it), a Sikh teen with three parents (two dads and a mom - if you've read The Wicker King I'm just going to say that............you already know his parents), and of course our main f/f couple (I'm not sure exactly how they identify but Ryann says she's mostly attracted to girls but once had a brief crush on a boy).

While The Wicker King takes you down a spiral where you have no control over your thoughts and feelings and then slowly brings you back to the surface (not a soft surface, but a surface nonetheless), The Weight of the Stars fools you into thinking you have more room to breathe normally when in fact what you should be doing is taking deep breaths in preparation for a final oxygen-less plunge into space.

There comes a point in the novel where you have to let go of your own plane of existence and fully embrace that you're not in control, and your point of view and your perspective don't matter anymore. This blank state is all I can recommend when you read the last 30% of this book. Just, don't let gravity keep you grounded is all I'm saying.


TWs: alcohol and drug use, mention of death of parents, teenage pregnancies, mild violence, hospitals, mention of attempted suicide, mention of homophobia (the d slur)
Profile Image for jade.
489 reviews309 followers
February 20, 2020
“all i am is a terribly brave small thing, with a terribly brave small life, and a terribly brave love that spans eons.”

… i really, really wanted to love this. spoiler: i didn't.

this is a story of a bunch of kids who fuck up and don't always get it right; who love each other deeply, but have their own unique way of showing it. there's broken families; there's whole ones. there's rawness and violence, and hugs and pinkie promises.

coming of age with trauma and space themes. sounds right up my alley.

however, the prose and the characters' inner motivations didn't connect for me.

its short, staccato chapters are easy to read and fast-paced, but they didn't allow me to linger and truly get to know the characters. though wonderfully diverse (we stan a poly family!), the first few hundred pages made me feel like i was watching cookie cutter characters shallowly interact with each other.

you've got your tough leather-jacket-girl, your cheerleader, your upbeat-friend-with-good-grades, and a couple of punk misfits added to a mix that quickly blurs together (don’t forget the one-with-the-rich-parents).

they drink, they smoke weed, they party, and worry about their futures.

it was difficult for me to buy into ryann's, the main character, love for space. all that's mentioned is that she loves studying space and is good at science; but that's it. it's mentioned, not felt or shown explicitly -- we're expected to take it at face value, until the novel gradually gets more space-themed.

the writing is terse and to the point. its rawness fits the themes of the book, but it didn't manage to move me until about two-thirds through the story. that's when ancrum suddenly starts dropping dramatic, flowery monologues and one-liners that i loved (you know i did because that’s my brand) because they fit the Space Aesthetic™.

BUT they also felt (1) really disconnected from the rest of the prose, and (2) unrealistic coming out of the mouths of angry, traumatized 18-year-old girls (as they were established earlier on).

sigh.

only in the final few pages does the story truly get into how cold, dark, and lonely space can be. how heartwrenching it can be to be an explorer alone between the far stars; without your loved ones, without your family. ancrum's writing here is spot on and painfully melancholy.



there's a lot of aspects of this novel that i would've enjoyed conceptually, but i didn't appreciate the execution. for example, i loved how ancrum didn't peel away the anger and the aggression that can come along with being so young and shouldering so many responsibilities. i remember my high school days still, and how much they could hurt. how mad that made me.

but when assault is never brought up again after it happens, when bullying is used intentionally as a befriending tactic, and when people get commended for being good with mediation while their preferred method of dealing with others is either beating them up or bullying them?

idk. it felt disingenuous to me.

i will say that the romance had some absolutely lovely scenes; i felt the connection between ryann & alexandria keenly in the last third of the book, and rooted for them to find each other.

listen. everybody seems to love this book, so you likely will too. it just wasn't for me.

the dedication and the final pages, though? perfect.

2.5 stars.

january pick for the dragons & tea book club!
Profile Image for Michelle.
653 reviews183 followers
March 6, 2019
The Weight of the Stars is the second book that I have read by K. Ancrum. The first, The Wicker King, I read along with the Dragons and Tea book club here on Goodreads. I loved that book so much that I contacted the author personally to ask for this ARC and bless her heart she was gracious enough to send me this beautiful gift.

When Ancrum says "Love is such an awful, powerful thing," she means to warn you. For she breathes it into her prose. Her writing is so beautiful that at times you have to stop and savor her words for a while. Her characters are always well formed and remarkably unique. They leap off the page and grab your heart in their fists. You can't help but be invested in them and the family that they have made for themselves. The Weight of the Stars is a moving work with diverse perspectives and a celebration of love in its many forms. A definite must read.

Thank you so much Melanie from Dragons and Tea for introducing me to K. Ancrum. I have so enjoyed the journey.
Profile Image for literarylesbian.
226 reviews2,533 followers
May 20, 2021
Very interesting premise, I loved the writing style as well. A quick read that makes you feel things, definitely recommend.
Profile Image for katie ❀.
120 reviews477 followers
December 16, 2020
i say that i don't cry easily, but that is an absolute lie. and me reading books like this PROVES IT.

"Don't...take time for granted. You have all this freedom and opportunity and people around who love you. Make sure you use the time you have to love them back."


the plot, the banter, the characters--every single thing about this book broke my heart and then sewed the pieces together again.

this is the exact opposite of a fluffy story, but i loved it so much and i'm just SCREAMING. i can actually feel emotions. what a surprise.

the cast of characters in this is one of my favorites. EVER. there's:
✨ james - who battles the memories of his past
✨ tomas - who proudly triumphed over his addiction
✨ blake - who loves because he knows people need it, even though they don't show it
✨ shannon - who understands so deeply and is so compassionate towards others
✨ alexandria - who learns to cope with her loss and open up her heart
✨ ryann - who fiercely cares for those she loves, while being unapologetically herself

"You looked like... the whole world was built just so that you could walk on it. Who could look away from that? Who would want to?"


ryann and alexandria's romance was one of the best i've seen. they're figuring out who they are, one step at a time, while dealing with their own traumas they carry deep down inside. from the beginning, there was so much chemistry between them, but they're unsure of themselves and hesitant to open up to each other. but in the end, they don't give in to their fears. they fight their traumas instead.

"Love is not about holding people where you want them. It is about doing what's best for them because you need them to be okay."


i absolutely loved everything about this book. i will read anything k. ancrum writes and that is a FACT.

all the damn stars (goodreads please add more stars to your rating system, thanks)

-------

OH MY GOD THIS IS SO SAD I'M SOBBING

ANOTHER SOFT QUEER BOOK I LOVED <3
Profile Image for Sol ~ TheBookishKing.
304 reviews187 followers
March 27, 2019
“Love is not about holding people where you want them. It is about doing what’s best for them because you need them to be okay.”

Do you ever read a book that you want to hug so close to your soul but at the same time want to chuck it across the room cause it messes you up so bad? Welp that’s exactly how I felt with this one, I did not expect to completely fall in love with it. K. Ancrum stays winning with her books and can’t wait to see what else she has in store for us!

If I was to sum this up quickly I would say; This is a story of two girls finding each other, saving each other, and falling head over hills in love. Oh, and some space. This really is such a complex story where a lot happens but let me just tell you about Ryann Bird and Alexandria.

Ryann Bird is poor, both parents are dead, and she is taking care of her little brother and his son. Her life is tough but so is she and really her motivation and drive to just be herself and not take any crap are what makes me love her so much. She’s really soft deep down and just UGH really love Ryann so much.

Alexandria is a handful. She’s really rude to everyone and doesn’t take kindly to making any new friends. But her and Ryann’s paths cross early on in the story and from there on out they are stuck with each other for the rest of the book. Together they sort out a case on a space expedition that had Alexandria’s mom on it and just it’s really a beautiful story.

“‘Cause the stars are beautiful, but I’d give them up for good just to see your face.”

I love everything about this book, I have no complaints in the slightest. I am so in love with this couple that I really was just crying for 30 minutes straight after the last chapter. This is such a beautifully diverse cast of characters and I would die for pretty much all of them. There is a lot of queer rep and PoC rep. K. Ancrum is a black bisexual woman herself so this is an Own Voices story! Honestly, it’s just so wonderful.

Overall though, the writing is amazing, the storyline is amazing, and the character interaction is amazing. Just the overall realness to this story makes it beautiful. Also shoutout for having spot on poverty rep, as most authors don’t like to include Lower Class/Poorer People. And as I’ve already said, K. Ancrum stays winning.

I could go on and on about what I love about this book but then it would never end and I don’t want to keep you long. Just read this please, it’s amazing.

“So there they were: Sitting in the ruins of the best that they could build. And it would always have to be enough.”

We truly don’t deserve K. Ancrum and I really believe she deserves so much more hype in this world. I need to see hype for this like I see hype for all the white gay boy romances to be honest, so again, please just read this.

~ Sol
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