These Broken Stars
By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publication date: Dec. 10, 2013
Disney Hyperion, 384 pages
It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.
Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.
Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?
Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.
— Goodreads.com description
I loved this book. Like, LOVED. These Broken Stars is the best sci-fi book I’ve read in ages.
The start of the book reminded me of Titanic: A big fancy ship. An underdog boy and a rich girl. Stolen glances. Flirting. BUT IN OUTER SPACE.
Yeah, guys, Titanic in outer space. Does that not just blow your mind? I was a bit giddy as I read.
Anyway, then the ship crashes and it’s another one of my favorite things: A survival story! Meagan Spooner knows I love this because that was my favorite part of her book Skylark. There’s something about survival stories and how romance buds when two people are struggling to get by and only have each other to relay on and OMG I can’t even.
These Broken Stars is a magical story that you’re going to fall in love with. I think it’s going to be one of my favorites of 2013, and will be one of yours, too, if you’re into sci-fi. Read it and let me know if you feel the same!
PS: I hear there are companion novels to come! That is sooooo For Darkness Shows the Stars and I am PUMPED.
Across a Star-Swept Sea
(For Darkness Shows the Stars #2)
By Diana Peterfreund
Publication date: Oct. 15, 2013
Balzer + Bray, 464 pages
Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction—the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars—is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.
On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo… is her most dangerous mission ever.
Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.
In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.
— Goodreads.com description
Across a Star-Swept Sea is a companion novel to Diana Peterfreund’s gorgeous book For Darkness Shows the Stars. It features different characters (well, maybe some overlap but shhh I won’t spoil) within the same world. And I might have even – gasp! – liked this one more than For Darkness Shows the Stars. That’s serious business.
I have to admit that I couldn’t remember many details of the first book, but it came back to me over time and worked out just fine. Just like the first, Peterfreund’s writing is just brilliant. Her characters are so bright and her settings so vivid — I had such strong mental pictures of it all.
The plot here is filled with so many secrets and so much adventure and danger that I could hardly put it down. Truly, this a must-read series — one that’s definitely got a permanent place on my favorite’s shelf.
As a side note for those of you hung up on the last line of the book description: I couldn’t even begin to tell you what The Scarlet Pimpernel is about, and with a book this good, it hardly mattered.
Now, are there any other Peterfreund books I need to read? I read the first Secret Society Girl book ages ago, but I don’t remember it. I heard that series is amazing, though? Let me know!
By Lauren Miller
Publication date: May 14, 2013
HarperTeen, 432 pages
Abby Barnes had a plan. The Plan. She’d go to Northwestern, major in journalism, and land a job at a national newspaper, all before she turned twenty-two. But one tiny choice—taking a drama class her senior year of high school—changed all that. Now, on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Abby is stuck on a Hollywood movie set, miles from where she wants to be, wishing she could rewind her life. The next morning, she’s in a dorm room at Yale, with no memory of how she got there. Overnight, it’s as if her past has been rewritten.
With the help of Caitlin, her science-savvy BFF, Abby discovers that this new reality is the result of a cosmic collision of parallel universes that has Abby living an alternate version of her life. And not only that: Abby’s life changes every time her parallel self makes a new choice. Meanwhile, her parallel is living out Abby’s senior year of high school and falling for someone Abby’s never even met.
As she struggles to navigate her ever-shifting existence, forced to live out the consequences of a path she didn’t choose, Abby must let go of the Plan and learn to focus on the present, without losing sight of who she is, the boy who might just be her soul mate, and the destiny that’s finally within reach.
— Goodreads.com description
Ow, this book hurt my head…in a good way!
In Parallel by Lauren Miller, Abby Barnes wakes up one morning to find herself in a parallel universe. How would her life have been different if she just overslept a little one day? Well, massively different, as it turns out.
It really does take some serious concentration to follow along as you flipflop between the parallel universes and time. And there are a lot of highly technical sci-fi elements at play here that, in all honesty, were REALLY over my head. But I didn’t really care. Why? Because it felt SO GOOD to be challenged mentally while reading a YA novel. Truly, I didn’t realize how much I’d been missing a little bit of brain stimulation while I read.
Parallel is a fascinating and engaging read that’s going to be a must for those who want a challenge and also for readers who love books that touch on fate and destiny.
Shades of Earth
By Beth Revis
Publication date: Jan. 15, 2013
Razorbill, 369 pages
The final book in the New York Times bestselling trilogy, perfect for fans of Battlestar Galactica and Prometheus!
Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh–to build a home–on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has traveled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience.
But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight.
Amy and Elder must race to discover who–or what–else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed–friends, family, life on Earth–will have been for nothing.
— Goodreads.com description
I have to praise Beth Revis for one thing about this book specially: In a million years, I would never have guessed what Shades of Earth was about. I mean, sure, I read the book description. But the setting was so hugely different from the previous two books that it still felt surprising. I missed the spaceship, but it was ultimately a refreshing change of pace.
I had some issues with the finale to this series — namely I was SO ANGRY with Amy for practically the entire book — and it was probably my least favorite of the three, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. I can’t complain about Amy’s actions, really, as what I’ve always loved about this series is that although Amy and Elder were drawn together instantly, it took a looooooong time and a lot of work for them to get together. In the world of instalove, it felt special to watch their trepidation and the growth of their relationship.
Fans of sci fi: If you haven’t read this series yet, all three books out there, so now is the time! Get on it!
By Neal Shusterman
Publication date: Nov. 6, 2007
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 335 pages
Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
— Goodreads.com description
When two of my best friends highly recommended I read Unwind by Neal Schusterman, I was like “What? Who’s heard of that book?” I hadn’t! Not a peep. Well, shoot, where have I been? Because this futuristic thriller, out since 2007, is a darn good book.
Here’s the deal: We’re in a future where if, between 13 and 18, your parents think you’re a “bad kid,” they can choose to have you “unwound.” That means that you are essentially cut up and split up in bits and pieces like a sort of demented system of organ donation. People’s entire arms are transferred, brain tissue, eyeballs, you name it.
Soooo you can imagine that this book is creepy as all get out. And I sort of loved that. So Connor, Risa and Lev are all up for unwinding for very different issues (Connor’s “bad,” Risa’s an orphan and they’re out of funds to care for her, and Lev’s parents are religious zealots who believe in “tithing” a child as a sacrifice of sorts). They all end up on the run together – and you know how I love books about kids on the run!
I definitely had some issues with Schusterman’s writing style (a bit boring in parts, honestly), but I so enjoyed the overall concept and story here that I’ll definitely read on to book two, Unwholly, which came out this year.