Amber Smith is the author of the new young adult novel, “Something Like Gravity.” We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of her book! Check out our thoughts on it below:
Review of ‘Something Like Gravity’ by Amber Smith
In “Something Like Gravity,” a young romance comes out of nowhere for Chris and Maia. They first come together after a horrible car accident, but that doesn’t mean they actually like each other. First impressions are important and this relationship did NOT start off on the right foot. But, the two end up being neighbors and that means they have to figure things out.
This story is beautifully written and is packed with emotion. Chris is transgender and Smith does a great job showing how coming out can be complex. Readers get to see a bunch of different relationship dynamics throughout the story and it really is a great coming of age tale. “Something Like Gravity” is a wonderful read whether you’re in high school or not. I highly recommend it!
Q&A With Amber Smith
We had a chance to talk with the author herself after reading her novel! Here’s what she had to say:
Tell us about yourself! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Amber and I am a writer. So far I’ve written three novels for young adults: “The Way I Used to Be” (2016), “The Last to Let Go” (2018), and “Something Like Gravity” (2019). But I actually started out writing nonfiction in my former career in the visual art world, and have also published on the topics of modern and contemporary art.
You wrote a novel called “Something Like Gravity” that recently came out. What is it about and why were you inspired to write it?
“Something Like Gravity” is about falling in love for the first time and finding yourself in the process. It’s told from the alternating points of view of the two main characters: Chris and Maia. Chris has recently come out as transgender, and Maia is grieving the loss of her older sister. Their worlds are so different, yet they’re both grappling with the changing landscapes of their lives and trying to figure out who they are going to become. Their story is about how finding the right person at the right time can be the thing that saves us.
I drew on a lot of my own experiences of coming out and coming of age at a time when being queer was largely misunderstood and not widely accepted. But I was also inspired by current events as well – over the past several years I feel like so much of the struggle and hardship I went through as a lesbian coming of age in the 90’s is being repeated in the plight of queer youth today, particularly for people who identify as trans or nonbinary. However, above all I wanted to show how life-changing first love and first loss can be, and how love is a more powerful force than pain, fear, or hate.
What do you want readers to gain the most from “Something Like Gravity?”
I hope readers will find pieces of themselves in Chris and Maia, and know that if they are going through anything similar to these characters, they are not alone. And even for readers who don’t have personal experience with grief or trauma or being queer, I hope that they might come away from this story with a greater sense of empathy and understanding for just how much work and courage it can take to fully live in your truth and open yourself up to love.
You have also written other books, including the very successful novel, “The Way I Used to Be.” What’s it about?
“The Way I Used to Be” follows a girl named Eden through all four years of high school, beginning the morning after she’s been sexually assaulted by a friend of the family. The book follows Eden on a journey of self-discovery as she struggles to find the courage to use her voice and embrace her own power.
What about your other book, “The Last to Let Go?”
“The Last to Let Go” is about a girl named Brooke and her extremely dysfunctional family. We follow her through one year in her life, after a tragedy forces her to not only rebuild her life, but to confront the impact her family’s long history of domestic violence has had on her identity.
Can you tell us about some of your plans for any of your upcoming novels?
I’m not sure how much I’m allowed to say about what’s next . . . so I will just give you a teaser: I’m writing something in a new genre that I’m really excited about!
What sort of things do you want people to take away from your books?
Whenever I’m writing, I try to think about the kinds of books I really needed when I was a young person – the books that would’ve made me feel seen and validated. For me, those were the ones that talked about the hard stuff – those difficult things that often made me feel like I was very alone – like grief, trauma, and coming out. I think it’s so important to have dialogue about things like this, and books are a very powerful and safe way to address issues that can be uncomfortable or complicated to talk about.
Can you tell us a bit about your writing process and how you create your novels?
My process has been very different for each book I’ve written, but the one thing that is the same is that I always begin with the characters before I start thinking about plot and story.
What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
My biggest struggle as a writer is the same as my biggest struggle in general, which is silencing my own inner critic long enough to get stuff done!
Is there a fun fact about yourself that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
I’m a huge introvert and such a homebody! I love being at home, working on artwork every now and then, and spending time with my partner and our furbabies. We have five rescue animals – two dogs and three cats – that basically runs my life!
What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
Allow yourself to have fun and be curious, but above all, allow yourself to write terribly – that’s the beauty of writing. You can always go back to edit, revise, fix things, or change your mind entirely.
Where do you see yourself going from here?
I see myself continuing to write (I will always write!), but I would like to explore new formats and genres.
Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
Always speak your truth. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes.