Google+ Reading Teen: THESE BROKEN STARS {Review}

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Review by Elisa 

Age Range: 12 - 18 years
Grade Level: 7 - 12
Series: Starbound (Book 1)
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1ST edition (December 10, 2013)
Goodreads | Amazon

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.

These Broken Stars

The Overview:

Have you ever watched that modern Beatles musical flick, Across the Universe? There is a scene in it where they are all slowly circling and floating underwater (ahem, nearly naked). When I think of this book, I think of that scene. Not the nakedness, but the obsession, togetherness, need, weird location, directionless, and the much implying of the word universe (and therefore galaxies).

Okay, I guess it helps that both These Broken Stars and the totally unrelated movie’s defining pictures are them floating in space similarly:  

I actually really liked this book. Surely, I didn’t like this book just because the cover predisposed me to love it, did I?

The World:

The world was beyond and through galaxies. It was a Titanic. It was an overgrown, empty earth. It was lovely, though not striking, which was just fine as the world wasn’t a fundamental part of the script.

The What? Like What?

What was important in These Broken Starts was the genre. And by genre, I mean what the heck genre was it?

Sci-fi? Yes. Totally.  It was sci-fi. Although . . . it was much better than the majority of sci-fi I’ve ever read. But that could be a characteristic of the fact that this book was totally a romance. Not a romance like a girly-flirty one, in fact, I think non-romantic guys (or those chicks not like me) could tolerate at least the majority of the romance. But maybe that’s because it was also a survivalist narrative.

Which brings me back to my point--WHAT WAS THIS?

The closest doppelganger I can think of was an outer space version of Crossed (of the Matched series). Either that or Delirium’s love mixed with Pandemonium’s survival. Or maybe it was more like Glow, which I am told is a lot like the novel Across the Universe.

I daresay, is it not coincidental that Across the Universe has the same name as the film whose scene reminds me of the cover of These Broken Stars?!

Do not be deceived, my reader friends. You can tell by the titles that surprisingly neither of the following images technically belong to These Broken Stars (but they might as well):

Apparently, it seems I don’t really have a lot to say about this book. Now that I think of it, it was kinda blurry. Dazy. Some might call it boring, but I considered it more . . . mystical. It put me in a trance, while I was trying to get my thumb on what was really happening.

Relationships & Romance:

But this--thanks for holding out for this interlude of excitement--this was the first book in who-knows-since-when where I actually cried. Mind you, I haven’t actually gotten around to reading The Fault In Our Stars yet, so please take that into consideration.

These Broken Stars became just oh-so-loving that I couldn’t handle it when something extreme happened. And, it would have been typical non-eventful romance if there wasn’t a rather shaking scene or two. One of which made me literally cry as it wasn’t expected or wanted.

Don’t let that turn you off. It is okay. Breathe. Everything turns out okay--sort of.

Hum. Though now I want to read the next book because I am not fully convinced it will be okay. I mean, it has to be, right? Or else they won’t write the sequel?

The truth is that I wasn’t bored entranced. I was in a little more of a sucked-into-their-romance type of trance. Enough so that I am planning on reading the next in the series.

More Excitement:

I have some more exciting stuff about this book to share! There was something freaky and horrific going on throughout it. Ghosts? Dreams? Maybe they were the ones in a trance, not I? So, keep your eyes peeled (or ears, if you are listening to the audiobook). Trying to figure out what the Whispers are will keep you going until the end.

(Unless you are Andye, and you quit.)

This aspect of the book is what really gets the sci-fi going. I don’t like scary stuff, but this was just creepy enough to keep my attention.

Survival stories don’t usually keep my attention either. But the combination of the hopeful, magnetic relationship and the sci-fi mystery with the survival story worked for me.

The Characters:

This story is told from two perspectives: the girl; the boy. Surprising, huh?

I wasn’t in-love with the guy myself, but I could easily see how he could be adored. And, his perspective was more interesting to me than Lilac’s.

Tarver was rather a stereotypical male. He was a young military war hero, young, handsome, could compartmentalize his thinking, and was really great at keeping people alive, protective even. It really helped that he was a good man, loved his family, had a sense of humor, and was perfect. (Did I just say perfect? Yep. Just about.) Still, although his storyline wasn’t totally predictable, his response was. I guess that is okay, but his depth wasn’t insane.

Notably, his reader on the audiobook was excellent. It made me love Tarver’s character and just made the whole story come alive for me.

Lilac, or as Tarver called her, Ms. LaRoux, was cute in a spitfire way. Pretty, snobby, but totally likable, going beyond a characteristic thoughtless rich girl. Through These Broken Stars she was transformed from a spoiled heiress into a character of depth and purpose (probably the whole staying-alive plus serious grief had something to do with that). Although her stubbornness irked me sometimes, she was a much sturdier character than I expected, while still maintaining an emotional girlish pull that wasn’t overdone.

I enjoyed the vantage-point of Tarver better, but it was the person of Lilac that this story was hinged upon.

The looming father (or his representation) throughout the story was an essential part of the plot. Lilac’s dad, Mr. LaRoux, was powerful, controlling, and overreaching. He managed to overshadow a lot of the interactions between Tarver and Lilac even without a tangible presence (impressive stuff). He had that wonderful skill of being lovable but despicable at the same time, which I think every book need to mess with the readers’ minds. It also helped that one of his lackeys showed-up all the time between the character-shifts questioning Tarver. This book would be boring without what Mr. LaRoux brought to the pages.

Something Else I liked

The authors really did an excellent job attaching meaning to specific objects. For example, the title. I hate lots of YA titles because they don’t really make sense, they are just some random label of a common thing that shows up in the book. Too basic. This title has depth.

Or particular items: a canteen and small squished flower become paramount. And the dress on the cover, that is as well. These objects became symbols throughout the story, and nicely done it was. It makes me want to go back and try to see if I was missing anything else that was woven into this story.

These things might not have made for a better read, but they really did make for a better book. Kudos authors.

à La Summary:

Generally, I really did like These Broken Stars. Wasn’t glamor, wasn’t glitz. But if you like love stories, survival stories, or sci-fi, I think it is worth giving this a shot. (Or if you just like the cover.)

Sexuality- Heavy (sex is implied, but few details beyond general affection, kissing, and acknowledgement of being turned-on).
Language- Minor
Violence - Minor

Ethereally and unequivocally penned by Elisa (@AverageAdvocate) at
Inspiring the average American to change the world

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