After enjoying Nick Lake’s Whisper to Me so much at the end of last year, I knew that I had to read more of his work. Satellite was released at the end of 2017 and after reading it’s blurb I knew it was going to be another story not to miss!
Satellite is the story of Leo, born and raised on Moon 2, a space station that orbits Earth. It’s the story of his dreams to live in space forever, despite an impending journey to Earth on the horizon. Torn between the two worlds, and which to call ‘home’, Leo also faces other issues: adapting to life on Earth physically and mentally, struggling to build a relationship with his distant mother, and learning to train his excitable new puppy, Comet!
I’m a sucker for original style – it’s why I love Patrick Ness and Sarah Crossan and, more recently, Emma Glass’ Peach – and Lake offers just that in this mesmerising tale. Told in what some have dubbed ‘txt speak’, Leo’s voice and writing is firmly grounded in the future, and in his alien landscape and life. I noted on Goodreads, that other readers had a real problem with this style, but I really enjoyed it, and felt it added to lyricism of the book in a timely manner. The use of metaphor and simile, and the deconstructing of these, also added to Leo’s characterisation, and it was with joy that I found myself becoming very familiar with and fond of him from the very start. The jargon was the biggest hurdle for me to leap over whilst reading, and at times I found myself reading paragraphs describing a process without fully understanding, but it didn’t matter, or impact negatively on my reading experience in the way it normally would, because my confusion was being compared to the ease and simplicity with which Leo is describing these things: it served to highlight his passion and zeal for this life.
I found Leo’s warmth and humanity – despite his insecurity that he must be an alien! – particularly poignant in his interactions with other characters. The twins, his best friends who he grows up with on Moon 2, Libra and Orion, are fully-formed individuals, and Leo’s bond with them is clear and beautiful, but they never over-shadow him: this is his story. Leo’s Grandpa was so bright and brilliant that he leaped off of every page he was on, which contrasted nicely with the ghostly presence of his mother, whose minimal lines revealed just as much about her and her relationship with her son as Grandpa’s many lines did.
I knew where this story was going to end, just as I got the sense that Leo always knew too, and Lake. That didn’t make it any less enjoyable on the journey to get there, and the cyclical nature of the story, which sees Leo master the science he’s so dreamed to practice from the very start, is incredibly fulfilling.
I can’t wait to see what Lake gives us next!