{Blog Tour} Review + Giveaway: Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Thanks to Jennifer of Hardie Grant Egmont, I was given six review proof copies of Life in Outer Space. And what do you do with six copies? Tour it, of course! Here's the first ever tour I organized for Pinoy Book Tours and I would like to thank all of the participants for taking a chance with this book and with me. To kick off the tour, here's my review of Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil, the first novel published through the Ampersand Project, Hardie Grant Egmont's initiative for emerging YA writers.

Life in Outer Space
Title: Life in Outer Space
Author: Melissa Keil
Date of Publication: February 1, 2013
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont

‘Full of energy, wit and tenderness; this is one big-hearted and unique book.’ - Leanne Hall

Sam Kinnison is a geek, and he’s totally fine with that. He has his horror movies, his nerdy friends, World of Warcraft – and until Princess Leia turns up in his bedroom, he doesn’t have to worry about girls.

Then Sam meets Camilla. She’s beautiful, friendly and completely irrelevant to his life. Sam is determined to ignore her, except that Camilla has a life of her own – and she’s decided that he’s going to be part of it.

Sam believes that everything he needs to know he can learn from the movies ... but now it looks like he’s been watching the wrong ones.

‘Hilarious and heartfelt.’ - Sally Rippin

Purchase from Amazon


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I seriously don't know what to write. I've been trying to write this review for hours now and I just keep on hitting backspace. I just want to write the perfect review, one which will convince all of you to go read this book. I will try my best to do just that.

Life in Outer Space is narrated by Sam, our main character. Sam is a geek, a movie geek specifically, with ambitions of becoming a screenplay writer in the future. He also loves Star Wars, Battlestar Galactica and horror movies, and plays World of Warcraft. Basically, he's your run-of-the-mill straight-A geek (not to be confused with nerd). Sam's friends - Mike, Allison and Adrian - round up the gang. They're on the lower rungs of the high school social ladder as they're usually bullied or ignored. Until Camilla that is.

Sam sounded a bit weird at first but as you get to know him more and as you get used to his voice, he's this wonderful character you'll love. From his quirks and even to his flaws, I loved Sam wholeheartedly and unconditionally. I felt no ounce of annoyance at his lapse in judgment in the novel. Because I understood him and I let it slide. Same goes for his friends. Mike is Sam's gay karate black-belter best friend and Adrian is his too-loquacious-for-his-own-good friend. Allison, the only girl in the group, is into all-things Japanese. Their world gets shaken by the arrival of the free-spirited  and beautiful Camilla. Camilla is the daughter of a famous music journalist, has a British accent having been raised in London, composes and sings her own songs, listens to great unknown bands and is basically your cool, popular girl. I do acknowledge that Camilla is so much like the movie trope/stereotype manic pixie dream girl, that cool girl which will bring changes upon your hero's life but in here, I just don't care. It's formula, geek boy and cool girl, but it works. She watches Battlestar Galactica, plays World of Warcraft, buns her hair Princess Leia-style and is just about any geek's dream girl. Maybe it's nothing groundbreaking but Melissa's fluid writing brought this novel a notch higher in my opinion. It was the right amount of fun, geekiness, romance and most important of all, friendship. Moreover, Melissa wrote this in total geekspeak, legitimate as she's a movie geek herself. *fist pump*

All of the characters had great development arcs during the course of the novel, some of them less explored of course. Sam became less of an introvert and got to care about another girl aside from Princess Leia and Camilla started putting down roots and opening up and us knowing that she's normal after all. Mike trumped over his demons and Mike and Allison had mini-plots of their own. Additionally, the romance was palpable and really sweet. That ending, huh? That ending turned me into a pile of goo and mush. I reread the last chapter as if it was my notes during exam day. The FUZZIES man, the FUZZIES.

I do wish this gets adapted into a movie because I will TOTALLY watch it. Just imagining the spitfire dialogue and the plot, the characters, the ending, I am so getting excited. I think it would make for a good material as a coming-of-age film.

Lastly, the cover. Oh the frakkin' cover. I think it's with the top YA covers of all time. Just look at the typography and the colors, it draws you in. Moreover, the cartoon of the boy and the girl totally fits Sam and Camilla. Sam in a hoodie, Camilla in her yellow dress, with their laptops on and a wire connecting them. Whoever designed this cover is a master of symbolism and he or she has interpreted the novel well, to get these details and put it into a cover. Brilliant. I could totally print and frame this on my wall.

When I was reading Life in Outer Space, I did only one thing and that was to read. If I couldn't have stopped, I wouldn't have. Days after reading it, it was still on my mind. I organized the tour, posted quotes as Facebook statutes, I breathed Life in Outer Space. It consumed me. Maybe it's because I'm a movie geek too but I felt like this novel was written for me. I completely and immensely enjoyed it. I loved it. It's a great teen romcom read. Yes, I know that I'm more of an emotional reader, I base my ratings on how I felt for the book. While it is not objectively perfect, it was perfect for me and that is all that matters. I do hope you get to feel the same for Life in Outer Space.

About Melissa Keil

I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia, and have been a giant book nerd for as long as I can remember. I studied Cinema and Anthropology at uni, and then spent a few more years studiously avoiding getting a real job by dabbling in a bunch of graduate stuff, including Professional Writing and Editing. In between I have been a high school teacher, Middle-Eastern tour guide, waitress, community theatre dogs-body, and IT help-desk person (hands down, my most unsuccessful job to date). Now, by day, I am a children’s book editor, and I spend most of the rest of my time reading, writing, and watching YouTube. Life in Outer Space is my debut YA novel, published by the good folks at Hardie Grant Egmont. It’s a young adult romantic comedy that combines some of my many loves – movies, music, karate, the Astor Theatre, Star Wars, and all things geek. I am currently working on my second novel.


This giveaway is open to Philippine residents ONLY. We're sorry but we can't afford the shipping fees. One winner will get a proof copy of Life in Outer Space. This giveaway is open until April 22, 12mn. Good luck!

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Click on the tour banner to see the tour schedule. Check out Mary Grace's review today and some more reviews in the following days. Follow the blogs and earn entries to the giveaway!

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