Review Blog

Mar 26 2013

Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2013. ISBN: 9781742973951.
Highly recommended. Bildungsroman. The deeper we get into Melissa Keil's debut novel, the more like Australia's answer to Rachel Cohn's Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist it becomes - the nerdy boy meets larger than life girl whose dad is big in the international music scene. The blossoming romance between Sam and Camilla is every bit as delightful but so protracted that they themselves are oblivious. The narrator's inner voice and interactions with other characters are both humorous and believable although Life in Outer Space is a slower paced look at the Australian teen's secondary school experience.
When Camilla Carter arrives at Bowen Lakes Secondary, she is an exotic import who is immediately comfortable with the popular girls and jocks. To the harassed nerds and long lanky Sam, our narrator, it comes as a surprise when Camilla adopts them. Camilla's hobbies including song writing, 'World of Warcraft' gaming and computers in general, means that she has more in common with Sam, Mike, Allison and Adrian.
Everybody thinks Camilla is cool and Justin Sigoni, the resident bully, has his sights set on her when he breaks up with his long-term girlfriend. Even Justin is impressed by the respect Camilla affords the Geeks and for the first time in high school the group feel as unthreatened as the next student. But complications arise - Mike is victimized at his Dojo, Allison kisses Sam and Camilla launches her own singing career. Will all their angst be resolved by the much anticipated 'Spring Dance' which signals the end of life in high school?
Being the very first book put out by Hardie Grant Egmont's Ampersand Project, aspiring YA novelists have big shoes to fill. We can look forward to some resonant meaty books for Aussie youth if they are as layered and resonant as Life in Outer Space.
Deborah Robins

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
CBCA shortlists 2017
2017 ABIA longlist
The Stella Prize shortlist for 2017
YA Book Prize 2017 shortlist
Reading Children's book prize shortlist
Indie Book Awards 2017
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist
School Library Association Information Book Award 2017
2017 UKLA Book Awards shortlists
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates