By Cynthia Bujnicki
Chris and Maia have both changed in the past year; their lives have changed under drastic circumstances. For Chris, he has come out as transgender while Maia lost her sister. Together they are trying to pick up the pieces of the life they used to have and reconciling with their new realities. Falling in love was not in the cards, but their journey together is what heals them both.
Something Like Gravity is a remarkable story that follows two characters trying to navigate their new lives in different ways. For Chris, he is a trans man who is trying to navigate his newfound acceptance of his identity the affect it has had on those around him. However, due to the hatred and bigotry that he has faced leading to an assault that landed him in the hospital, Chris has moved in with his aunt miles away from home. This is a genuine issue and the way the author does not shy away from the brutality of the scene while also not just giving it to the reader initially, allowing some build-up creates an impact on the reader. The scene inserts itself suddenly, and yet the flow to it, the buildup and the context connect with the reader. This is something that unfortunately happens every day, where brutality and assault like the one Chris endures makes the news, and the way Smith brings it to young readers allows the reader to understand and empathize with Chris while also bringing light to the issue. The way Chris operates the way he grows his sense of trust and identity; it is all done so well in the novel to the point that the reader can grasp who Chris is as a person.
For Maia, her world has turned upside down because her sister died suddenly of an undiagnosed health issue. Her life was always living in her sister’s shadow, and she was content with that until she was not. That is the part of the story that breaks her because she does not ‘know how to navigate this new world without her sister overshadowing. She does not know how to be Maia without her; she never had an identity of her own. Maia spends the earlier parts of the novel trying to connect with who her sister was. For Maia, her journey is all about navigating through her anger and her grief.
The story brings these two characters together so that together they find the acceptance, love, and inner peace they need. Through each other, they can look inside themselves and find the peace that they need. It is an empowering message to readers no matter what situation they are going through. That is why Something Like Gravity is such a compelling read, it resonates with the reader and makes for in a genuinely compelling read. (★★★★☆)