Review:Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Source: Author – I received this in exchange for an honest review 
Publisher:
 –
Series: –
Edition: eBook, 325Pages
Genre:
 Young Adult Contemporary 
Purchase: 
Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository
Rating: 4/5

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.

I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Oh wow…just…wow. This put me in a predicament once I finished it. I wanted to rave about it and share it with people, but it left me utterly speechless and I had no clue how to even start. Luckily after a some deep breathing and some reflection I think I can handle it.

Defy the Stars is not something I typically read on multiple accounts, one it’s contemporary which is usually a no go because reality fiction tends to be too ‘real’ and two it’s written in verse. Well neither of those held me back from enjoying this at all, in fact I read it in about 7 hours (only because I had to take food breaks). This was addicting, pun slightly intended in this case. The verse is great, and though I’m sure I’m still not quite getting the whole idea behind verse novels I really enjoy how it’s set up and how it flows. I love when the words are spaced a part different and when they zig zag across the pages. It really gives the emotion a visual kind of presence in the book. The book is set up in months as opposed to traditional chapters and I think that’s fantastic, it gives you a better sense of time when it comes to the events and how Julia changes over the course of the book.  The story itself is…raw and emotional, and it had my heart aching. There is just so much and it was tugging me back and forth on how I felt about it, much like Julia herself. The writing is exceptional and I can really tell that the author enjoys music because parts of this are practically lyrical in nature.

When it comes to Romeo and Juliet I usually have the rare opinion, I love it but I have never seen it has romantic. It was just tragic to me, on my bad days I see it as just too teenagers who didn’t think things out. I mention this because Julia herself mentions it in the novel, we shared the same opinion. I suppose when I read this I kind of expected the same emotions but I was so surprised to find myself hoping against all reason they would find a way to work things out and be together. Logic and reason were utterly tossed aside for Julia and Reed. Julia is a great character, she’s structured and organized and she has the world ahead of her. Music is her life and because of her passion I could practically hear the music she would play. And then there is Reed, who is so different. His life is far from ideal, he doesn’t have money and drugs are no stranger…but for some reason I really liked him. He isn’t a bad guy, though his choices are far from good…he’s redeemable. I can’t even describe how odd that feels to me, I normally would never see a person this way especially not after the crap he takes, but he truly broke my heart. Their relationship is complicated to say the least and it both lifts them up and drags them down. There were times when all I saw was how much she was enjoying her life and how happy she truly was, but then there would be a major snag and my mind would be screaming for her to get away from the situation. Julia’s heart is so open when it comes to Reed and it really puts her at risk, and I think Reed needed that in a way. He really has something to look forward to but it made him more vulnerable, and I think it just brought things down on him harder. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting and I’m glad, even though this book left me kind of shattered in a way.

I could go on and on about this book at this point, and even though I’ve taken the time to write out my thoughts I’m still saying wow. I completely recommend this one to pretty much anyone who will give verse novels and contemporary a try. It’s worth the time and the money I think.

4 stars

This entry was posted in Book Reviews (2012) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Review:Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

  1. Shannon says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I was thinking that this book might be kind of “done” based on the romeo and juliet theme but from your review it sounds like a much more interesting and complex tale. Thanks for sharing

  2. I have the same feels towards contemporary as you do..this sounds so intriguing and I loved that it left you speechless. I do love retellings, so I will add this to my list.

  3. Erika says:

    I never get tired of the bad boy and sweet girl stories. Thanks for the review! This looks very interesting.

  4. BornBookish says:

    If you, who doesn’t normally like contemporary or verse novels enjoyed this one, it should be a sure thing for me who loves both of those! Thanks so much for this heartfelt review =)

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