Wednesday 15 July 2020

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

Last Updated: 20 October 2021

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James book cover

AD* | Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone...

I was fortunate enough to meet Lauren James at YALC back in 2018 and she kindly signed my copy of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe. Lauren was lovely and with most of her books sitting on my wishlist, I couldn't wait to read this one!

This is a story of loneliness and despair, yet also one of incredible strength and finding hope in the darkest of times. It's the story of a girl left all alone, miles away from Earth, with no physical human contact for years. It's also the story of a remarkably brave, clever young woman who overcomes all the odds to survive. The Loneliest Girl is a story full of juxtapositions, yet also one that is equal parts endearing, hopeful, suspenseful, and heartbreaking. 

Lauren James is a master storyteller, able to bring Romy's tale to life in an incredibly realistic way. The quality of the storytelling in this book is superb and simply cannot be faulted - for a story that is told through messages and fanfics as well as a traditional narrative, every piece slots together neatly to create a well-paced, intriguing novel.

Romy Silvers is a curious character, a girl born into the most unlikely world in the strangest of circumstances. It's hard to relate to her situation, but all too easy to empathise with her as an individual. Romy is a strong, intelligent heroine who deserves nothing but love and respect - the kind of girl who is instantly likeable. At points she shows her age; other times, a maturity far exceeding her tender years shines through her actions and knowledge of subjects as diverse as physics and botany. 

On the other hand, the character of J is what brought the story down. For everything that is great about Romy's character, J is the opposite. Romy is complex, emotional, interesting - J is flat and uninspiring. Sadly, his character falls short and the motivation behind his actions makes little sense, leaving the reader adrift in a sea of uncertainty. This is a real shame, as otherwise, The Loneliest Girl could easily have been a five-star read.

Despite this, though, The Loneliest Girl is a remarkable story that is unique and highly memorable. Hopefully, this won't be the last we hear of Commander Romy Silvers!

Rating: 3 stars

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Have you read any of Lauren James' books? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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