A Book Star Wars Does Not Make

Life in Outer Space - Melissa Keil

Objectively, this should've been a great book.

I think I was expecting a cross between SuperbadThe Big Bang Theory and a Pacey-less Dawson's Creek (does that even make sense?).

Nerdy Sam Raimi fanboy, Samuel who loves slasher horror films, writes screenplays about Killer Cats from the Third Moon of Mars and has a ragtag band of quirky high school outcasts meets and adopts in their group the gorgeous, popular newbie Camilla who has the right blend of crazy sexy cool. The kind that plays World of Warcraft, crushes over Luke Skywalker and just happens to be the daughter of a former model and a celebrated music critic. She's also very kind, well-liked by EVERYBODY and sends Sam out of his depressive funk into these tasks that are so quirky and amusifying they could very well be in a Zooey Deschanel-JGL movie. She also writes songs, and plays the piano barefoot and sings in that odd, breathy, sweet voice that isn't note-perfect but is still perfect.


"Well that was just simple stuff. Since I wasn't sure if my hands or voice were going to crap out on me. But… I have other music too," she says shyly. "More instruments. More complex arrangements. Lyrics that aren't about animals."


This after admitting to her terrifying stage fright, performing a well applauded 4-song set and being complimented for it. 

And she says that shyly. Because she walks around Australia, shedding perfection, and leaving a trail pixie dust, moon beams and angel feathers without her knowing, saving the world one nerd at a time from imminent ignominy and depression.

Yeah objectively, this really wasn't that a great book for me, thanks to this fucking heroine.

Look, she didn't really do anything offensive (save probably for that exchange) and she actually started off quite fine. I was quite intrigued what's the story behind all that perfection, especially in that scene where Sam was telling her why he wanted to be a screenwriter. 

Except there was no story behind the perfection. She really just is perfect. 

And THAT'S supposed to tickle my fancy?!

If its relative to Sam then no, I don't think anything can tickle my fancy. Because truth be told Sam's also a bit of a tool who thinks rudely of his friends and a nerd snob who thinks lowly of those who aren't. Of course thoughts are different from actions and I'm sure his musings towards Adrian and the rest is meant with affection.


✼ Noah has shaggy dark hair and checkered shirt scattered with holes. He looks exactly like he belongs on stage in a dingy bar, not in a year-twelve classroom.


✼ Midway through last year, I was employed by the school as Alessandro's assistant. Our IT coordinator does not really need an assistant. He needs a shower, and possibly a dentist.


✼ Adrian dances like a hobbit who's just peed on an electrified fence.


✼ Allison is as good as I'm likely to get. I dunno. I've tried, experimentally, picturing her shirtless; I suspect she looks like me when I was twelve.


I'm usually one to appreciate this kind of… humor, but something about Camilla's perfection (which sends me to swing between yawning and raging and eye-rolling) and how Sam sees his friends just didn't sit well with me. They're the outliers in their high school caste system, they're the ones that get bullied and harassed in hallways and never get to eat in the lunchroom with others. I guess I didn't like the way he accepted all of these while seeing his friends this way. 

Somehow it drove the wrong kind of message home through main characters that ended up being offensive in a manner that was so cliched I felt like I've seen this before. Which by the way the message of this book? This side of sucky and lazy. Yeah, nobody knows anything. Thanks book, I needed that.

And no, no matter how many Top Five Lists (High Fidelity hat tip, yeah cute), Star WarsAliens and references you bust out, you're still not giving me anything but puff pastry. And for the love of God, why would Sam pass up the original Ju-On for the Sarah Michelle Gellar adaptation if he's not even a Buffy fan? I mean, for a horror movie buff? In what universe does that make sense?



The protagonists were so bad that I was rooting for an Allison upset where she steals the guy from under the perfect bitch's nose which of course didn't happen… thankfully, on second thought, as the guy in question (Sam) was a dickbag so… yeah, I think I'll take that as an HEA. 

It really sucks because this had a couple of great lines and moments I really liked picturing Jabba the Hut and a Stormtrooper slow dancing together  and I thought the secondary characters were fun, especially Adrian who makes me picture a cross between Zach Galifianakis and McLovin'. But over time, as I try to think of what I like about this, I just seem to think about three things that sets my blood into boil.

Oh gaaad! This got too long again O.O I'm going to end this with a good one because I'd like to imagine that this is the actual moral of the story than the actual crap this tried to feed me wrapped in the shiny pretty of pop culture references and Star Wars (no, Star Wars is not the answer to everything).


Remember, pain passes," he says solemnly. "But it will continue to be a giant pile of steaming gorilla shite until then. Ride it out. Use the pain. Just don't do anything rash like showing up on her lawn at three in the morning with a guitar, cos birds get freaked out by that stuff."