Relativity, by Antonia Hayes

25 Apr
relativity antonia hayes

Three of Five stars

This book is not for me.
If you are into science, like super duper into science, this book might be for you.

There is more science in this book than there is in The Martian. 90% of the lines in this book are metaphors between science and life, science and relationships, science and good grief anything you can possibly imagine. I might have to go read some trashy romance novel just to wipe all the science talk out of my brain.

I don’t think it’s a bad book. I think the author is obviously very smart and can write very well, although maybe she’s not practiced in writing novels, in writing dialogue… or maybe it’s just that all the science talk was too much for just me. Also… coincidences. Ethan just happens to ask questions about his missing father on the very day that his father arrives in town and knocks on the door. Really??

Half this story is a YA novel. Young genius Ethan and his super smart brain and quest to know his father, and his friendship with Allison. The other half is sort of a romance, the story of Ethan’s parents. YA, Romance and Science: Three subjects not high on my list of favorite book subjects.

Throughout the book something kept feeling off, that’s why I say perhaps the author isn’t quite up to par with her storytelling abilities. The dialogue never felt real or natural, but then most people don’t quote science textbooks throughout regular conversation. The coincidences bothered me. And finally, Ethan building a time machine bothered the heck out of me.

Here is this genius boy, obviously very very intelligent. Let’s say I believe that out of nowhere he’s built what he hopes is a time machine, even though we don’t hear how he built it, or where he got the materials, or exactly what it looks like. Let’s say I buy all that or just let it slide. I absolutely do NOT buy that this genius boy figured that if quarks need to enter the time machine first, that putting through his pet rabbit namedQuark would do the job. And there’s some sort of blanket on top to represent “the fabric of time”… HUH? This sounds like something a normal 12 year old boy might come up with, not the genius boy that Ethan supposedly is. That wasn’t the only odd thing that happened, but it was a big one for me.

I’m not saying the science metaphors are not amazing, they are. It was just too much for me. I had to scan through much of the book because all the paragraphs of science talk could easily be summed up in one sentence. But I’m very aware that readers who love science may fall in love with this book.

For half this book I was ready to give it two stars. The second half really picked up and I was finally interested in the story. But the science talk never let up, and overall there was just nothing here for me that I really enjoyed. I give it three stars but recognize that the book might be quite loved by others.

Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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