Guards are let down, secrets are revealed, and love blossoms in Amber Smith’s Something Like Gravity.
Still processing the aftereffects of an frightening assault, newly out transgender teen Chris goes to his Aunt Isobel’s house for the summer. His new neighbor, Maia, is still grieving the sudden loss of her older sister. A near-fatal accident brings the two together when Maia is trying to take a photograph in the middle of the street and Chris is test-driving his aunt’s old station wagon. They get off on the wrong foot as neighbors, but soon their relationship beautifully unfurls into a romance.
Chris and Maia’s alternating points of view give the reader a bird’s-eye view of how the teens process their feelings both for one another and within themselves. With admirable gentleness and empathy, Chris and Maia explore their burgeoning relationship, slowly revealing their innermost secrets while holding some back. While sensitively tackling subjects of first love, acceptance and friendship, Smith expertly chronicles her characters’ twin journeys of grief and coming out, as well as what it takes to move on despite seemingly permanent damage.
While readers should be warned that the flashbacks to Chris’ assault are intense, Something Like Gravity is perfect for fans of Meredith Russo’s If I Was Your Girl and Lisa Williamson’s The Art of Being Normal.