Series: Stand alone
Publisher: Stephanie Parent
Publication Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Source: Received from author for review.
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.
Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.
Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.
Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.
"...what could I have done?
Could I have changed this song, altered
this key? Or was this tragedy
already written, black notes
of music on the page,
a story in the stars? "
With it's stunning verse narrative and star-crossed lovers, Defy the Stars is a modern day Romeo and Juliet that will steal your heart.I love books written in verse. I suppose I always have, but I didn't consciously realize that until I read Love and Leftovers late last year. So when the author asked me to review Defy the Stars, and mentioned it was written in free verse, I knew I had to read her story.
Defy the Stars was so stunning, so beautiful, that I'm at a loss here. I always take notes while reading books for review, but I couldn't bear to stop and write down my thoughts. The fact that I didn't stop tells you how deeply I was drawn into Reed and Julia's story. I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the story. The way the author staggered the lines set up such a dramatic effect. At times, a simple word, precisely placed on the page, had the effect of a bomb dropping on my heart.
Much like their inspiration, Reed and Julia are the ultimate star-crossed couple. Like Romeo and Juliet, familial ties conspire against them. Julia is a girl of privilege, content, but not quite happy. Her parents want the best for her, and are sometimes misguided in their attempts to lead Julia to what they deem best for her. But one crazy night, Julia gets to know the real Reed, not the boy who gets high, but the boy who is sensitive, kind, who loves to play guitar. He's a boy who has everything going against him: no parents, a drug dealing brother, a penchant for being numbed by drugs himself. Everything about them screams "wrong for each other". But the closer they become, they harder they fall for one another. Fate seems determined to bring the two together, altering their destinies forever.
From it's dark prologue through the stunning conclusion, Defy the Stars is a story that hit me so, so hard. I read with such an impending sense of doom, yet remained hopeful throughout. I was left sobbing, heart-broken. But ultimately, I'm happy I read Defy the Stars. Not many books can inspire such an emotional response. If you're a fan of stories written in verse, stories with characters you will love and cry for, a story that will hit you square in the heart, then I can't recommend Defy the Stars highly enough.
"Then, from what feels like a great distance,
I hear Reed say:
'I don't know if it's about love, so much, as
fate. Something bigger than Romeo and Juliet,
something greater than any two people,
pulled them to each other, entwined their
lives like...like a knot that no one could untangle.
They could no more change what happened than...
than stop a star from
falling.' " (23%)
"Now Reed lies on his back beside me,
one hand on mine, both of us breathing
hard, chests rising and falling. I look up
at the ceiling, and I swear, for a second it
-- I can see the night sky, the moon,
the stars spread out like a possibility
-- and I think:
Reed's the only high
I'll ever need." (88%)
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Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.
Connect with Stephanie Parent at:
her blog | Twitter | Amazon