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The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is about a girl who has been by herself on a spaceship bound for a new planet that can sustain life. She was born on the ship and so has never seen Earth. There were originally many other people on the ship with her, including her parents. But following horrific disasters, Romy Silvers found herself alone on the ship and its captain at only 16.

At first, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe seemed like a simple young adult novel with a cheesy protagonist. However, despite the easy to read prose, the novel has a far deeper meaning. With a girl who has only ever grown up outside of Earth, the novel delves into the idea of loneliness at a different angle. Through the interesting interactions between Romy Silvers and a boy called J, I learned about what loneliness can truly do to a person and what it means for humanity. It highlighted how important contact with others.

The protagonist, Romy Silvers, is easy to connect with. Despite her out of this world situation (literally) she is a relatable teenager at heart. She enjoys writing fanfiction and watching TV programmes that are sent to her from Earth. Although, the further you read, the more you learn that she is not as simple as she may seem. Romy is haunted by the deaths of the astronauts that were originally on the ship with her. She deeply grieves for the death of her father and is disturbed by the loss of her mother. Her past plagues her so much that she cannot visit certain areas of the ship or it will trigger a panic attack. She copes by listening to the audio messages sent by her therapist on Earth, Molly, and soon by talking to J, a boy on the second spaceship from Earth. Her relationship with these people highlights the need humans have for connection with one another. This is something that anyone reading could relate to.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is a psychological thriller set in space with the need for human connection at the core of its themes. The prose is easy to read and Lauren James expertly reveals twists as the story progresses. The ending especially ramps up and I found myself enthralled right to the very last page. Lauren James crafts a beautiful story in an atmospheric setting that is both terrifying and mesmerising all at once. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is worth the read!

REVIEWER: Emma Jackson

TITLE: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

AUTHOR(S): Lauren James

PUBLISHER: Walker Books

RRP: $18.99