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Light from Other Stars

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  213 ratings  ·  115 reviews
From the author of national bestseller The Book of Speculation, a poignant, fantastical novel about the electric combination of ambition & wonder that keeps us reaching toward the heavens.

Eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is obsessed with becoming an astronaut. In 1986 in Easter, a small Florida Space Coast town, her dreams seem almost within reach—if she can just grow up fa
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Bloomsbury Publishing
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  213 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Elyse Walters
Jan 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow!!! .... I was left with a big lump in my throat as I turned the last few pages. I sat quietly just staring out the window.
It’s not a book one easily jumps away from and walks off quickly.
It’s a book that transforms we continue to reflect.
It brims with heart - pleasures and pain between parents and their children. It’s a highly imaginable story - one that expands our horizons between earth and space.

This novel is wonderful - extraordinary - incredibly ambitious.....and as ambitiou
Dorie  - Traveling Sister :)
Apr 01, 2019 rated it really liked it

This was a 4 star read for me.

This is my second book by Ms. Swyler and it is really quite different. I believe that “The Book of Speculation” was more magical realism and this one is science fiction. I think it might be important for readers to know that. I do not read science fiction and some parts of this novel were just plain frustrating for me. The believability factor was a problem for me at first but then I thought I would just sort of turn myself over to the book and j
Angela M
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars
Science fiction is not a genre I typically read, but there was something about the description of this book that appealed to me. I am more than a little surprised at how much I loved it. Most of the sci-fi stuff was beyond me and while I didn’t find most of it believable, the author did a fabulous job of helping me to imagine it.

Eleven year old Nedda loves space travel and astronauts and science and her heart is broken when The Challenger crashes. Nedda’s love of space travel and her a
Apr 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Eleven year old Nedda Papas wants to be an astronaut. Her father once worked for NASA (was laid off) and she is devastated when she watched the Challenger Catastrophe at her school. I could relate to this part of the book as I also watched the Challenger break apart 73 seconds into its flight live in my science class. But that is not where the book begins, the book begins when an adult Nedda is in space aboard the Chawla. She has been in space for two years and has several more to go before they ...more
Hannah Greendale
May 14, 2019 rated it it was ok
Intriguing premise but innefective execution. Would recommend Light from Other Stars to fans of The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan or Borne by Jeff Vandermeer.
She'd been little when he'd told her about the beginning of the universe and how the solar system was born. How the sun was like an island, and the planets were ships sailing around it. He'd said, "Pluto is our far star sailor," the way other people said Once upon a time. His words opened a door inside her.
Evelina | AvalinahsBooks
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I loved the premise of Light From Other Stars when I read it. The story lost me, unfortunately. It's not a bad story or badly written. I got lost somewhere in the scientific stuff, and I just couldn't maintain interest enough. I skimmed through probably half of the story. If scientific stuff is your thing, you'll like it. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a deeply beautiful book (more like a 4.5 for me), although it has a promotional pitch that is perhaps misleading.

Indeed this book consists of two parallel stories: Nedda's father's science experiment going array when she is a child and flash forward scenes aboard a space ship when Nedda is older and an astronaut. What I think you DON'T get from the promotional copy is that this book is sci-fi and those elements will figure prominently into one (and ultimately both) of these plot lines.

Carla (Carla's Book Bits)
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: all-time-faves
Just... wow. I'm speechless.

There's not much you can say about this book but that it truly understands loneliness... but it makes you feel seen and understood in it. It's hopeful, ambitious, and full of life and love.

Be aware that this might not be for everyone, and that's okay, speculative fiction rarely is. But this is a story that's ambitious, large in scope, and never talks down to the reader. This is quite heavy in science and engineering, but even a person like me, who's no closer to an ex

5/5 stars
Content includes depictions of child death, depression, family violence, psoriatic arthritis and vision loss

This book is dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened the universe to me. It is also dedicated to the teachers who did not believe a fifth-grade girl could speak knowledgeably about the Hubble Space Telescope. You remain embarrassingly wrong.

I feel the need to start my review by thanking Carla (Carla's Book Bits), since it was her review that made me request this bo

Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of those “find a quiet place” books. The intricate vocabulary and in depth story needs your undivided attention. It is a wonderful story and Swyler is an amazing author that causes you to fall into the world like Alice. I definitely recommend this read!
Read Elyse's wonderful review:
Megan Bell
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Nedda Papas is eleven and space-obsessed in Easter, Florida, when Challenger explodes in the sky overhead, sending shockwaves through the small NASA-adjacent town. Nedda’s father, a scientist grieving the death of his infant son, the passing of his daughter’s youth, and the degeneration of his hands, has been conducting fragile and dangerous experiments, sent over the edge and altering the fabric of time in wondrous and tragic ways after Challenger’s demise. Years later, Nedda has achieved her d ...more
Jan 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was crackers bananas. Nothing I expected to happen, happened.

If you like a book that surprises you, this is it. Erika Swyler is skilled at unraveling secrets in a way that doesn't make you hate the characters. I feel like that's a talent, because in some stories, any person who carries a secret is not seen as such a nuanced person.

In Light from Other Stars, we are split between two moments in Nedda's life - her childhood and her adulthood. In her childhood, she is in Florida with her
Kris Waldherr
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to have read LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS as a manuscript. It moved me to tears. More to come closer to publication.
Lolly K Dandeneau
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
via my blog:
'She’d adapted to homesickness before and viewing the Earth from above didn’t move her. Her home wasn’t a distance; it was time and a sparrow.'

When I was in elementary school, living on the Space Coast in Melbourne, we students were marched out single file vibrating with excitement to watch the space shuttle launch of the Challenger. In fact, my father worked as an Engineer with EG&G and other family members worked out on the cape too, so it
Samantha | thisbookbelongsto.sw
**Thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for the advanced copy of Light From Other Stars in exchange for an honest review.**

This book is fascinating, shocking and still very much grounded in the real world, making it an incredible science fiction novel that doesn't even need to leave earth.

Although, it does inevitably take the reader into space by using 2 timelines as a narrative device, I found the most intriguing story developments happened on earth in the 1980s.

We are introduced to a
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot compare this book to any other I have read because I rarely read science fiction. Some of the science imagined may or may not hold up to scrutiny...but the emotional strength of the story was transporting.
We do have real people working on taking people to colonize elsewhere in the universe, so it was interesting for me to enter into what life would be like for years on a space ship with a limited number of people.
Kerry Anne King
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Utterly brilliant. I closed this book with a sense of awe, knowing it's one of those rare novels that will mark a before and after for me. The characters in this book are heart breakingly real - and Swyler has an uncanny ability to express the truth about relationships and all of the ways love simultaneously heals and hurts us. Awesome science fiction elements including space travel and time anomalies, but it was the humanity of the book, triumphant and profound, that took my breath away.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for a digital ARC. Put this 4🌟 read out in May on your TBR. This is a beautifully written science fiction tale that explores space and invention, as well as relationships — between a husband and wife, a child and her parents, a child and her best friend, and fellow astronauts. I absolutely loved all the characters in this book and their interactions. My heart is full. The science aspects were a little over my head at times, but otherwise this is a bo ...more
Jessica Jeffers
I have super mixed feelings about this book. There were some parts of it that were incredibly well-done, but other parts of it that were a slog to get through because they were so bogged down by scientific detail. I gotta think about it a little more...
Elizabeth Law
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I knew nothing about this book when I started it other then the rather interesting description provided by the publisher on Netgalley. Light from Other Stars surperised me to put it mildly. It, is a slow burn that turns into a wild ride but you certainly need to be patient to get to the good stuff. I almost DNFd this book because at first it was so confusing, so disjointed I just could not get into it. However, it is worth the build. In retrospect I believe the format is entirely intentional and ...more
"Behind every brilliant woman is her doubly brilliant mother."

(Full disclosure: I received a free e-ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for child abuse.)

She knew them by their light, the gentle differences—Amit’s warm, yellowish brown, Evgeni who glowed like a pearl, Louisa who was brighter than all of them. Nedda would know them anywhere; if she lost their shapes, she’d recognize their light.

They would likely die. It was why they were childless, unwed. Freedom of sacrifice. It wa
Jack Thomas
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
*ARC received by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This was... strange.

I want to say first off that this just wasn’t for me, and if it wasn’t an arc, I would have DNFed it. I couldn’t get into the writing, nor the non-chronological timeline, and that threw me off. I will say that I loved Nedda as our protagonist, however she was the only character that I ever actually bonded with or related to.

The plot was strange, all-over the place, and it felt like a puzzle missing two pieces, whi
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thanks to Netgalley for this read.

This was a bit hard to get into. I was much more into Nedda’s real life vs. her sci-fi world. The sci-fi works threw me off every time when I was just getting into the other storyline. I ended up skimming a lot of scientific description to get to the plot.

Nedda’s real life story gave me A Wrinkle in Time vibes regarding her dad being a type of mad scientist and her following in his footsteps. I get that the sci-fi fantasy relates to her real life but I felt am
Tammy Caceres
I received an ARC copy of this book from Netgalley. I liked the characters in the book. But there was too much fantasy going on that I didn't feel I understood. Porbably a result of an excessive amount of physics that I don't really understand and then you have the task of suspending belief. So it fell short for me in that regard. A good fantasy sucks me in and I feel like the impossible becomes real in the story. I didn't get there or even close with this book.
Lori L (She Treads Softly)
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Light from Other Stars by Erika Swyler is a highly recommended coming-of-age science fiction story.

The dual narrative follows two different stories set in two different time periods. In 1986, eleven-year-old Nedda Papas is living in Easter Florida, a Space Coast town, where she can't wait to grow up and become an astronaut. Theo, her father is a physicist, a college professor who was laid off from NASA, but he has an ongoing project, Crucible, that manipulates time by controlling entropy in an e
D.B. Moone
Mar 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Author Erika Swyler’s book description provides the right amount of insight into her novel LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS that for me to speak to anything further story-wise, I would be writing spoilers or providing a mere synopsis of LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS which would not be a book review.

In full disclosure, this is the first science fiction book I have read, and I have no good explanation to offer as to why I have never read science fiction. However, after opening LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS and devouring
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The characters in this novel, their strengths and imperfections, will linger in my consideration for some time. While the story itself is intriguing, to me it was the gentle, relational interactions between players within the story that left the greatest lasting impression.
Light from Other Stars opens with Nedda Papas, one of a four-member crew aboard Chawla, hurtling toward a distant planet with the mission to lay the groundwork for an eventual colony. The earth they’ve left behind is dying, ci
I received an advance digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

best dedication: This book is dedicated to the Hubble Space Telescope, which opened the universe to me. It is also dedicated to the teachers who did not believe a fifth-grade girl could speak knowledgeably about the Hubble Space Telescope. Yout remain embarassingly wrong.

1.5 Stars | A book that has two timelines which only exist because the author wanted to try to write some fancy sci-fi. Since the lo
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Erika Swyler Q&A - Light from Other Stars 1 7 Apr 25, 2019 07:33AM  

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Erika Swyler is the author of The Book of Speculation, a national bestseller, Indie Next pick, and a Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year. Her forthcoming novel, Light from Other Stars (Bloomsbury, 2019), is about a young girl and an invention that alters the fabric of time. Her essays and short fiction have appeared in Catapult, VIDA, The New York Times, and elsewhere.

Erika lives on Long Island, NY, w