4.5 stars.Melissa Keil’s debut novel Life in Outer Space has the heart and voice that many young adult contemporary romance novels lack. Hardie Grant Egmont’s Ampersand Project has surely delivered on what they set out to do, because a novel like Life in Outer Space deserves its space on the shelf for what it has brought to the Australian YA scene. In Life in Outer Space, all Sam knows how to be is a geek – computer games like World of Warcraft and films, especially that of horror, is all he ever knows. That is until Camilla Carter, the new girl at Bowen Lakes Secondary College, enters his world, as if she has stepped outside some fictional universe. And when she does, a sequence of events unfold that forces Sam to step outside of his comfort zone and attempt to put things right – for himself, for his friends… and for Camilla Carter.What I loved most about Life in Outer Space was the character of Sam and the world he responds to, his own geeky universe – he’s just extremely relatable. Keil’s prose brings Sam to life, making his voice believable, as well as making his heart go thump thump thump right out of the pages, forcing you to not let go of his breathing story. As he understands those around him you as the reader do too.The impact Camilla and Sam’s friends have on him creates quite a few side quests for Sam to complete – like the many quests on World of Warcraft – with the main quest being connected to Camilla. It was a nice relationship to see develop, between someone who is not so confident, unsure and used to the things he knows and someone who is out there, willing to try new things, determined but holding back. Sam and Camilla influence one another to step out of their comfort zones and go for the big things in life, to step out of the shadows and into the light, to step out of the bedroom and into someone’s heart.Life in Outer Space was one of my most anticipated books of 2013 and I’m happy that I was not let down by it. The story flowed naturally, coming together in the end well. This book was adorkable. And you’ll feel adorkable too, just as much as I was, even if you would not call yourself a dork, a nerd, or a geek. Sam will convert you. Have no fear. Come to the dark side, young padawan.