Meet Me In Outer Space by Melinda Grace (262 pages) To Purchase from your Local Bookstore (Affiliate Link)
Overview: Eddie has an auditory processing disorder. Sometimes, she hears things that don't quite add up. Sometimes, she's able to piece together what is meant, and, others, she asks people to repeat themselves. This works well enough regularly, but, in French 102, it might keep her from her dreams. Eddie needs the language credits to graduate; she needs the French language if she wants to make it in France, the capital in fashion. She fully expects to fail French 102, but she doesn't expect to fall for the TA. Sometimes, though, life defies expectations. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 4 Eddie is a highly relatable character. She's driven and willing to work doubly hard to overcome a system that actively works against her. She also knows what her dream is and how to get it. Spending the summer and fall semester of her junior year in Paris would allow her to step toward her dream of working between fashion houses and textile producers. Eddie never expects a romance, and watching her choose between her feelings for Hudson and her dreams is difficult and understandable.
Hudson is sweet and determined to help Eddie. He's a master of all kinds of languages. Even though he doesn't get everything right (but who does), his intentions are always so honest it's hard to dislike him or root against him and Eddie.
I also love her wide group of friends and the extra dynamics they add to Eddie's life and character.
Plot: 5 The story has nearly a single plot and a single subplot. It's refreshing to read such a focused story. Eddie is going to Paris to bolster her fashion career, and her unhelpful French professor seems like he wants her to fail. She has to fight to pass the class to get toward her dream. I loved learning more about Eddie's auditory processing disorder and how it impacts her life. I'm glad that there's a spotlight on how schools should be more flexible with accommodating disability. Being Dyslexic myself, I know how impactful small accommodations can be in unlocking someone's potential.
The other major story is the Eddie-Hudson romance, but it's perfectly bound to the central story. Their whole relationship is built on her passing French which is directly at odds with their relationship surviving. It is an interesting dynamic to see her navigate whether having a romance and a dream are really so conflicting.
Writing: 4 I love how crisp and clean Grace's writing is. She clearly spells out the situation and opens a world to a reader. Witty dialogue mixed with a few perfect explanations makes for a story that's easy to fall into. It's sweet, interesting, and filled with moments to root and empathize for Eddie.
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