Finished See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng.
Alex lives with his mom and dog Carl Sagan (named after his hero). His mom’s not well (she has lots of what he calls quiet days) and his brother is an agent in LA, so most of the time he’s on his own.
It’s a long story, but he goes to the desert to launch a rocket as part of a competition and, from there, ends up in Vegas. And then LA. His life goes from fairly contained to much bigger, and with more friends.
This is a hard book to discuss. It’s not like there are major plot twists (Sixth Sense style) but Alex deserves to tell the story his way.
I love Alex and his fondness for science and his fierce loyalty and the way he sees things. I bet you will, too.