Fancasting the characters – meet Lowrie, Shen, Maya and Riz

Lowrie MB-W – Aubrey Peeples

Lowrie is a suit-wearing, treasure-hunting tomboy, with a workshop full of tools in place of a walk-in wardrobe. She constantly has a chisel and screwdriver on hand. She’s blonde, and wears her hair in a french plait. She’s most often found wearing Shen’s mustard yellow jumpers.


Shen Zhang – Justin H. Min

Shen is a Chinese alien enthusiast, with a stack of books which he always reads acknowledgements first. He’s a night owl, a history buff, has a fear of mice (but not rats) and is a fair hand at coding. He can’t sing for toffee.

See also: commissioned drawing of Lowrie and Shen with their robot pal Mitch (who, for obvious reasons, I can’t actually fancast). Art by stoffberg;


Maya Waverley

Maya is the owner of an old social media account that Lowrie and Shen discover on the archives of the old internet. Lowrie starts reading about Maya’s life, drawn in by her account of the days after the infertility started – and her funny sense of humour, and the fact that she’s bisexual like Lowrie.

I can’t resist casting her as Tessa Thompson, just because I could totally see her playing a self-confident, chatty blogger like Maya.

Riz Stevens – Oscar Isaac 

Maya’s cheeky internet buddy is a curly haired Oscar Isaac in my head. He’s fun and laidback and cool, and he writes a killer tweet.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker, The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor, screenwriter, and the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League. Her upcoming release is Green Rising, a climate change thriller. Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and many of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2021. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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