Five Reasons to Read These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

December 20, 2013

Title: These Broken Stars (Starbound #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Publication date: December 10, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
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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.
Warning: This review is most probably going to be all over the place because I still haven't gotten over the sneaky, heartbreaking awesomeness of this book. So be warned.

Five Reasons You Should Read These Broken Stars Now

(but really, there are like, 995 more reasons)
1. Kick Ass Chick
I am glad to announce that we finally have another girl who can join the ranks of Rose from Vampire Academy and Katniss from Hunger Games! Is she tough in an obvious way, like the other two (not that that's a bad thing, but I'm just trying to bring out their differences)? Nope. Lilac, like the name brings to mind, is soft, delicate and, wait for it... spoilt. Genuinely spoilt, right down to the haughty air. And I'm so glad the authors (love you two!) (Yes, I'm fangirling in the middle of a review. Get over it.) made her that way, because that just made her so much more unique and real. I mean, really, aren't you tires of all the goody-goody girls all over the place nowadays? So yeah, Lilac is spoilt, but spunky; fragile, but so very strong at the same time. There's this quiet strength and toughness in her that comes alive through her barbed tongue and in dire situations.

2. Sci-fi, Futuristic and Paranormal
I know it sounds like too much for one book, but believe me when I say it's not. All three genres are weaved seamlessly together. Lilac and Tarver are in Icarus (the name is almost prophetic), a spaceliner (futuristic), when something goes wrong, and they end up hurtling across outer space to crash land on an alien planet. Tarver and Lilac have to trek across the planet, which has been terraformed to make it habitable (sci-fi), but there's not a soul in sight. But whispers start haunting them, making them wonder if they've lost their minds (paranormal). The mysteries in this book all come together in one bang that just about blows your world wide open. No kidding.

By the way, almost everyone is saying that These Broken Stars is very Titanic-esque, but to me, the similarity is not something that can define the book, as it appears only in the beginning, for a small part.

3. Tarver
Seriously. Tarver. Is. Great. I dont say this in an 'omg-he's-so-cute-and-awesome-I-love-him' kind of way. Tarver is different from your usual YA book boy in that... he's not a boy. He's young, but he's a man. Being a soldier makes you grow up fast (and Tarver's a major).

One thing that really gets to me in young adult books is how detached kids are from their parents. Parents most often play a negative, or a little to nonexistent role in these books, and I know that's not the reality, so it's very irritating. Tarver, thankfully, is different. Just one more thing that makes him perfect! While on the alien planet, the only thing that keeps him going is that his parents will be scared for him, having no idea about whether he's alive or not, and that he has to get to them to put their worries to rest. The love that he has for his parents is given a significant role in the book.

4. An Epic Love Story
At first, I was a bit worried that this was straying into insta-love territory. But boy, was I wrong! Traver and Lilac start out hating each other. Tarver is not the guy who slows down to match the girl's pace while their trekking, even though time is of essence. And nor is Lilac the girl who cries at the drop of the hat, or a big martyr who bites her teeth and endures all kinds of hardships. They both have strong personalities, which are bound to clash, and when they fall, they fall hard. But the realization of their love does not occur before they travel a path of self discovery and survival, and come to recognise each others as equals, in a harsh land that forces them to test the limits of their abilities. It's slow building (which is realistic, in my opinion), and the anticipation builds until, when it finally happens, it feels like a reward well worth the wait.  Tarver and Lilac's love story is epic, a full fledged romance with ups and downs, bliss and tragedy.

5. Authors Who Will Sweep You Off Your Feet
The brilliance of this book sneaked up on me when I wasn't looking. How is it that authors have so much power over their readers? Come to think about it, it's actually creepy.

I've always heard the term 'torn to pieces and put back together', but never took it literally.

Until now.

Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner, let me tell you, you both are a deadly combo! First you make me be all meh about one of the characters, then you make me fall in love with both of them, then you break my heart into tiny little pieces and make me cry (I NEVER cry), and then you put it back together again, but now it's beating so painfully, with the fear of being broken again never far.

I've never read a book that's been co-authored by two writers. I always imagined it would be conflicting; what if one author didn't like what the other really wanted in the book? But if two authors as talented as Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner get together, there are fireworks! The emotional wringer this story put me through pretty much cemented my conviction in the expertise with which these two authors wield their pen. And another thing: even though the world building was not as detailed as I would have liked it (but that's just me), Kaufman and Spooner have ventured into worlds heretofore not explored in YA books, and to stand apart in a genre(s) that's becoming increasingly repetitive in it's settings and themes is an exceptional feat, for which I applaud them.

Bottomline: With a captivating plot that lingers long after its been read, These Broken Stars is a brilliant debut which has (in my opinion) quickly become one of the best of the crop.

Ivy Book Bindings: I don’t cringe at using the word “love” here – it’s hard-earned and worth it... While These Broken Stars takes place on a different planet altogether, giving rise to its science-fiction genre labeling, it is, primarily, a survivalist story.

The Nocturnal Library: There’s a lot of information to take in, but Kaufman and Spooner found the right balance between world building, plot and character development.

Paperiot: It has been a while since there was a non-contemporary YA book that held my attention, and for that, I am thankful.

Holding Quote:
But she's here, she's mine. I'm hers.

There’s poetry in you.