Book Review: These Broken Stars

these broken starsThese Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Published by: Disney Hyperion
Form: Purchased Hardback
Big Themes: Survival, Social Class, Space Travel, Love, Death, Ghosts, Mental Illness, Strength, Trust

Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen are from two different worlds.  Lilac is a socialite and focus of the paparazzi as the daughter of the wealthiest man in the universe.  Tarver worked his way up in the world as a military hero.  When their spaceship, the ill-named Icarus, is thrown from hyperspace and crashes on an uninhabited planet.  Lilac and Tarver are forced to depend on each other for support and survival in a wild, mysterious setting where social class means nothing and anything–even love–is possible.

What I Loved:

Totally Fresh and Original: This book didn’t feel like it was trying to be like any other book out there.  It felt fresh.  As I read, it felt like diving into something fun and different.  The book is described as Rose and Jack from Titanic, but where the ship sinks in the first five minutes, and then they land on the island from LOST.  So yes, there are hints of ideas we’ve seen before: poor boy loves rich girl, post-crash survival story, and mysterious setting.  Despite those familiar elements, the authors pulled off making this something entirely new and original.  Between this book, Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, and Beth Revis’ Across the Universe series, I think YA science fiction is showing great mainstream potential.

Unpredictable Plot: The twists and turns in this book were exceptional.  There were many, many parts of the book where I wasn’t sure what was going on.  Without spoiling anything, I will say that the elements that were similar to a ghost story were completely unexpected and a pleasant twist.

Slow, Authentic Romance: It takes a really, really long time for Tarver and Lilac to admit any sort of feelings for each other.  I enjoyed getting to know them as individual characters, especially since the book switches back and forth between both of their voices.  That dual perspective allowed readers insight into what each character respected about the other.  For example, Tarver is in awe of Lilac’s determination, though he does not express this to her.  Seeing how both characters grow to respect and admire each other was a refreshing perspective in teen romance.

Smooth Writing: This book was co-authored by two people who were living on different continents.  DIFFERENT CONTINENTS.  Technology clearly made this sort of endeavor possible (I think they specifically mentioned Google Docs.)  I am totally fascinated by the idea of writing a book with another person.  I just can’t fathom what the process would be like and how to begin meshing two different writing styles.  But this book flowed seamlessly.  Never was it obvious that this book was written by two people instead of one.  In fact, when I heard Meagan Spooner speak at the NoVa teen event last month, she said that it is difficult to remember who wrote what in the book.  They each started out writing one character.  However, I guess the editing process was more of a free-for-all.  Because Spooner said that they would tell each other “I love that line you wrote!” and the other would say, “I didn’t write that line, you did!”  I love that.  I love that a story would get to a point where no one person can take ownership.  I love that this book was such a collaborative effort!  🙂

Five Stars.  I just thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I can definitely see myself picking it up to re-read one day.  Highly recommend!

4 comments on “Book Review: These Broken Stars

  1. lab1990 says:

    Great review! I wouldn’t normally gravitate to this book, but I keep reading great things and I’m so so curious now. I hope to read it sometime soon! that’s awesome the writing is so seamless.

    Lauren from

    • wordyhughes says:

      I read it because I kept hearing great things too! Then I heard Meagan Spooner speak at a book event and I was too intrigued not to give it a try! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. fakesteph says:

    You’re definitely right about how smooth the writing is. I should look up some of their interviews. Co-authoring feels like it would be a special kind of skill… I don’t know if I could handle giving up creative control.

    And yes, I was MIA during student teaching, but it was AMAZING. I’m sorry it’s over, but excited for my own classroom. I would love to get lunch and pick your brain about teaching and chat about books! My brother is on leave for the next two weeks, but after that I should be really flexible. 🙂

  3. Oh yes, agreed!! This was one of my favourites from 2013. I just flew through it, it was so addicting! I absolutely loved the LOST style surprise twists and reveals. Too fun!

    Now about the writing: I had no idea that this was written while the authors were on different continents!! That’s crazy. I’ve always been interested in the writing processes of authors who share a book with another author. I have a hard time believing how they do it, too! Reminds me of the Caster Chronicles by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. There isn’t even an alternation in POV in that series, they just pass writing back and forth and it somehow turns out seamless! Crazy.

    Anyways, great thoughts. I can’t wait for the companion book to this one!

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