A Cosmic Kind of Love by Samantha Young
October 18, 2022Review by Iby
Samatha Young is a hit-or-miss author for me, but the premise of this book seemed right up my alley. I requested the ARC, and I have lots of thoughts about the book. Let’s do this thing.
Event planner Hallie Goodman receives party inspiration from the bride of her latest client couple, she unexpectedly finds digital videos from the bride’s ex-boyfriend, Chris Ortiz. Chris is an astronaut and recorded videos while on the International Space Station, and is suddenly reminded of his time in space when NASA tech support sends him videos from Hallie, who’s assuming that Chris never sees them because the emails bounce back. Star-crossed lovers, epistolary romance – this definitely had my name written all over it.
Let’s start with the characters. Hallie is a self-admitted people-pleasing doormat. She is stuck in between her two toxic parents’ divorce, she has a boyfriend who treats her like a joke, and she has a hard time defending herself. Despite that, it’s hard not to like Hallie a little – her self-awareness is one step towards her wanting to change, and she is genuinely a kind person. This book is dual POV, so we also meet Chris. He’s floundering a bit – former military, former astronaut, not really sure what else he wants to do in his life. He is intrigued by Hallie’s videos and finds a way to meet her. They are both sweet with each other, and I liked how they began to interact in the beginning of the story.
The pacing was a bit challenging though. There was a lot to unpack here – Chris has a strained relationship with his father after his mother and brother pass away, and struggles to connect to his father’s Mexican heritage. Hallie is struggling to not take sides and maintain the peace during her parent’s truly ugly divorce. They each had one side character that supported them (Hallie’s best friend and Chris’s aunt), but their trauma was a lot to parse through. On top of that, Chris starts to behave in ways that I don’t appreciate in a main character. He dismisses Hallie’s feelings as he hangs out with his ex (the bride who breaks up with the groom before the wedding), and insists that Hallie should trust him. To me, it’s a red flag, and not the behavior I want to see in a hero.
On top of all of that, there is a bit of drama about Chris’s future career. I’ll let readers learn how it all ends – but I’ll say it felt disingenuous to me, and I wasn’t really satisfied with his final decision. I also felt that while we saw Hallie grow in this book, we didn’t see as much character growth from Chris. In a dual POV, I think it’s important to have both characters grow – so it felt a bit one-sided to me.
All that to say – it was a lot of plot, and it gets a lot less fun after the two main characters finally get together around 60% into the book. I was waiting for the final breakup scene thinking “gosh, what else could these characters possibly go through?”
At the end of the day, the first half of the book felt like an adorable romcom, and the second half felt like an angsty contemporary romance. I think it would have been a more enjoyable read if we could have stuck with the romcom all the way through.
Despite some of its flaws, I did still enjoy the book. The pacing – and some of the tropes (including the evil other woman) were a little annoying, but I genuinely liked watching Hallie and Chris fall in love. The meet-cute was unique, and I do love the thought of an astronaut falling in love with an event planner, all through epistolary videos. I’ll give this one a B-.