The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

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 . . .

What an absolute masterclass in science fiction and slow, creeping horror. Lauren James’ fast-moving lost-in-space thriller had me gripped from the first page. Really the location is secondary to the chilling plot, revolving around Romy’s increasing isolation and reliance on the messages she receives from J, but the spaceship she’s travelling on is brilliant described; I found the story at once incredible – I was left shocked and horrified by a number of revelations – and totally believable. The way in which Romy reacts is so familiar and real. I also really liked the way in which James talks about some of the practicalities which are often ignored, or conveniently prevented in the case of The Hunger Games – periods, spots, body hair, being sweaty…

This is definitely one for fans of James Smythe’s teen dystopian trilogy which starts with Way Down Dark, and also his unreliable-narrator-in-space novel The Explorer. I was also reminded at different times of the Alien films and also of Passengers. This is a rip-roaring read and a truly feminist science fiction horror.

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe is out now.

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