Sunday, April 15, 2018

THESE BROKEN STARS (Starbound #1) by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner

This book was provided to me by Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or my review. Thank you Disney-Hyperion!

AUTHOR: Amie Kaufman -- Twitter | Website
               Meagan Spooner -- Twitter | Website
PUBLISHED: December 10, 2013 by Disney-Hyperion 
GENRE: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
PAGES: 374
SOURCE: Publisher
BUY IT: Books-A-Million | Barnes and Noble
Find it on Goodreads


Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.  

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Do you remember the first time you saw the movie Titanic?

I do.

I was in sixth grade. It was a month or so after it's initial release, but it was still super popular in theaters. My parents and most of my friends had already gone to see it. It was rated R, so I had to be with an adult to go see it, even though it wasn't the first R-rated movie I'd seen. (It has since been re-rated by MPAA from R to PG-13.)

My mom let me bring a friend and I remember being so excited for this big movie, this epic romantic love story, this movie that would make me cry and be THE movie that I would turn to whenever I needed to wallow.

For many friends in my generation, that's what this movie was for them.

Unfortunately, Titanic was NOT that movie for me. I wanted it to be. I even pretended it was to my friends. But for me, the most exciting part was the intermission. And the end.

First of all, I really didn't find it that romantic. I can think of dozens of other movies that are more romantic. And I thought that the story was interesting and the real Titanic and its history were fascinating. But the characters kind of annoyed me. I didn't care about seeing Jack draw Rose in all her breastly-glory, and the ending was just the stupidest thing I'd ever seen.

Jack could've lived!

But Rose was selfish and took up the whole board she was on. Besides that, if he'd gotten on, maybe she would've had some more body heat and wouldn't have had icicles hanging from her nose! (Buzzfeed has since shown the multiples ways they could've made it work.) He did not have to die! There is nothing romantic about watching your illicit lover turn into a popsicle. That is selfish. That is not love. This random dude who she barely knew, who she had "fallen in love with" and who had fallen in love with her, basically saved her life and she thanked him for it by freezing his body from the inside out.

I didn't cry a single tear for this movie.

When I started reading These Broken Stars, I was immediately reminded of Titanic -- a girl with all kinds of money and privilege and class stuck fending for her life with a man that everyone around her would've considered to be worthless and below her station. But when stuck on an unknown planet, no experience in having to live off any sort of land, with zero survival skills, she rose to the challenge. It took a little time, but she became more sufficient.

And that's what I think Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner did so, so well. They created a character who was so incredibly compelling and dynamic! Lilac LaRoux is one of the best and most amazing female protagonists I've encountered since I first read Divergent and met Tris. And I actually think she's even more impressive.

I love to see a heroine worthy of the name: capable of real change and moving mountains in her own life. For me, Lilac was that heroine. She's exactly the kind of kick ass girl that I would want my nieces to read about as teenagers. Lilac, stuck in a situation she never thought she would be in, had the strength not only to make sure that she and Tarver were the ONLY survivors from the crash, but also to learn how to fend for them both -- or even just for herself -- when necessary. In a particularly gripping moment, Tarver is incoherent and in grave danger of dying when Lilac rallies and saves him.

And let's just talk about Tarver for a moment, shall we? My ultimate book boyfriend has always been and will likely always be Ash from the Iron Fey (check out my review of Iron King). But Tarver has joined the ranks of other amazing book boyfriends.

I think what I loved most about him is that he was prepared to take care of Lilac by himself if necessary, even if she didn't want to take care of herself and even when she was being extremely naive about their situation. But as she grew in confidence, he made a point of teaching her where he could, whenever he could. It's the whole "teach a man to fish" philosophy. And I think that that's an awesome male protagonist to have in a novel, modeling the way that men should treat them, bolstering them to help them succeed, protecting them when need be, but also recognizing that she is totally capable. Though I loved the Twilight books and am not ashamed to admit it, I always hated how overbearing Edward could be. I mean, i was Team Edward and all, but I really wished he would've given her more credit.

In short, I just thought that Tarver was the perfect balance of all things a guy should be to a girl he cares for -- or even a girl who is his daughter, his sister, his cousin, or even just his friend. You get the picture.

These were characters that were easy to get attached to, to cheer for, and to get emotionally invested in.

Besides these things, the story was just phenomenal. I really admire writers who can work in pairs and groups to produce something worthy of being published. I consider myself a writer, but I highly doubt that I could collaborate on a writing project as small as a classified ad with someone else. To put together a whole novel as brilliantly as they did is just astounding and amazing. It never felt like there was discord or change in writing style. It was cohesive, clear, and compelling.

The plot had so much momentum and there were so many little twists and big turns; so many unexpected events that kept me guessing and excited. I stayed up way too late reading it two nights in a row but it was totally worth being exhausted the next day.

I'm not the only person who noticed the correlations between These Broken Stars and Titanic. I Googled it as I was writing this review and dozens of hits came up. But the bottom line here is that for all Titanic lacked for me -- and it lacked so, so much -- These Broken Stars was absolutely fulfilling and exactly what I wished that movie had been and what I wish Rose had been. I was fully prepared to hate Lilac from the very beginning, but instead, I just wished she was a real person I could befriend.

If I could give this book more than five hearts, I absolutely would. But since Goodreads and Amazon and all the places I put these reviews operate on a five star system, I'll just stick with the full five. But imagine those five hearts wearing crowns or something, because I really just couldn't have loved this book anymore and am so grateful that Disney-Hyperion gave e-Galleys of this away during the SLJ Summer Teen event awhile back. I'm just so sorry I came to the party late. I do have the galley of the second book in the series and will be reading it and the final installment soon.

Anyway, if you haven't read These Broken Stars, please go grab a copy and share it with all your friends, girls and guys. There's something in this story for everyone to enjoy.

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