Books,  Reviews

Book Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spoonerthesebrokenstars
Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: YA, Science Fiction
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: December 10, 2013

Tarver Merendson is a decorated military veteran. At the ripe old age of 18, he’s already one of the most easily recognized faces on the planet due to his exploits on the battlefield. Lilac LaRoux is pretty much his polar opposite. Born and raised into incredible wealth, she is everything he’s never been allowed to even consider in his lifetime.

So when the massive luxury spaceliner Icarus (owned by Lilac’s father) crashes and the two of them appear to be the only survivors, it’s definitely not peaceful or easy. Forced to rely on each other’s talents and experience, the two of them have to figure out a way to get rescued or survive on what appears to be a terraformed yet abandoned planet.

Lilac, as Tarver discovers, has a lot more experience than he’d realized. Though she definitely is a spoiled socialite that is out of his league, her actions were key to their survival when the ship crashed. This earned her a decent amount of his respect but that’s not quite enough to overcome the things she’s seeing and hearing on this planet. Things that he is not. She’s convinced that there’s something or someone in the woods around them. She can hear it. No matter how hard he tries though, he can’t. He’d be lying if he were to say that it didn’t bother him.

This Young Adult science fiction novel grabbed me immediately. The first pages had me completely behind both characters and I had a hard time putting this book down. I love science fiction anyway, so I tend to be picky about what I recommend in the genre. This was a slam dunk. The dialogue, characters, and world that was created were all complex enough to engage the imagination but also simple enough not to bog you down. I loved the descriptions and the ideas that these authors put together. And that brings to mind another thing. It wasn’t until I’d finished this book that I realized that there were two authors. I’ve read some really difficult collaborations in the past. Things where you can tell exactly when the author changes. This, thankfully, was not like that at all. The plot was smooth and there were, as far as I could remember, no odd transitions between authors.

The only concern I had was relatively minor, but I do need to share it. The book is specifically targeted to an audience that’s 12 and up according to publisher guidelines. The characters in the book are a teenage boy and girl on a planet alone together. They do end up becoming sexually active. Since the book is written from a first person perspective, we hear their thoughts about it. It’s not graphic by any stretch and it doesn’t really overwhelm the story. In fact, I personally think it could have gone similar to the Twilight books and avoided the topic completely. They can still fall in love without falling immediately and instantly into bed together. If you’re a parent and this might bother you, just know that it’s there. For me, it took away from the enjoyment of the book that I had and I didn’t find it necessary. If it were targeted toward older teens, I don’t think I would find it as bothersome. But twelve years old seem a bit young to have that as part of a book they’re reading.

That said, I really enjoyed this book very much. The storyline and the twists within it are fantastic. For science fiction fans, it goes without saying that you’ll love this book. If you aren’t a big sci-fi fan, don’t let it put you off. The characters, romance, and mystery surrounding them are solid and engaging entertainment.

Rated PG-13: There are some more adult situations and the characters are sexually active. It’s not overwhelming, but it is present in the story.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!