by Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner
To be published on December 10, 2013
Source: Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for approving me for an e-ARC on Netgalley. My full FTC disclosure is on the right sidebar.
Summary provided by authors: 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.My (brief) thoughts, to be expanded upon on Goodreads soon: Based on the cover and synopsis, this book was not at all what I expected. I mean, this might be the most gorgeous YA cover of 2013 -- the stars, the billowy dress and hair, the fingers just about to touch….
Whoops, wrong sci-fi fingers. But I will come back to the cover AND the correct fingers later; just bear with me...
So, given the cover and the equally awesome names of the main characters, I went in expecting a swooningly romantic, high drama story with tons of glamour. For the first few chapters, it seemed like that's where the book was going: rich girl and regular-guy-made-good, both aboard this gigantic spaceship, noticing each other. As other bloggers have mentioned, at first the book had a Titanic In Space kind of feel. But then the spaceship crashes, and Lilac and Tarver escape.
The next 200+ pages of the book are a survival story -- Lilac and Tarver tramp around a new planet, looking for food, supplies, and other survivors. This part of the story was interesting, but survival stories aren't my favorite, and the glamour I was imagining was gone, and I became a little skeptical as to where things were headed. (Note: Lilac does do much of the tramping around wearing aforementioned billowy dress, so this cover is not one of those annoying "slap a pretty dress on the front so girls will read it" YA covers.) At this point, the story was reminding me a lot of Under the Never Sky -- the pampered girl/tougher guy relationship dynamic and all the roaming.
Then Lilac starts hearing voices. Tarver tells her this is probably because she hit her head. But a very spooky vibe starts to develop and then something pretty surprising happens. So surprising that … wow… I felt even more skeptical, because … what??? But then, as the story continued, that very surprising plot twist made the book work for me. And the fingers, which I now can't stop staring at, took on a new significance.
It's rare that a book can really surprise me, but this one did! I also love the fact that These Broken Stars will be part of a set of companion books, each featuring a different couple.
As part of the These Broken Stars Promo, here's my Fun Fact from authors Amie Kaufman and Megan Spooner:
"We did a lot of research on survival skills for this book, and we were particularly freaked out to discover just how many nasty bacteria can be lurking in that crystal clear mountain stream that looks so safe! Despite the common idea that ‘spring water’ is just scooped up from some gorgeous, tinkling stream winding its way through the mountains and poured straight into a bottle for you, it turns out purification is definitely required! We realized this would be a common problem for soldiers on new planets. We didn’t think it would be feasible for them all to stop and continually boil water for twenty minutes each time, and the problem with purification tablets is you can run out of them. This was the reason we built a water filter straight into Tarver’s canteen--and this is technology that’s available today. That’s just one of the tiny details that go into world building!"