‘THESE BROKEN STARS’ - STAR-CROSSED ROMANTIC SCI-FI OPERA. Review of the YA fantasy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. Text © Rissi JC

STORY: The actions of Major Tarver Merendsen thrust him suddenly into the spotlight, and a place among the elite. Yet he isn’t one of them. He may have the looks to attract the ladies, but to them he’s still a man to treat as a subservient. The only reason he’s brushing shoulders with them is because of his heroics. On the night the Icarus holds a glamorous party, Tarver meets the alluring Lilac. A chance encounter in which both share a connection, until he discovers who she is the daughter of the wealthy LaRoux, the one man with riches to far surpass anyone on the Icarus. 

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This changes everything. Tarver is no longer socially able to even speak with Lilac let alone request the pleasure of her company on an impromptu date. Then fate intervenes and Tarver rescues Lilac when the Icarus self-destructs after entering into forbidden air space. When they land on a planet unknown, they soon realize they’re the sole survivors without a way to return home…

These Broken Stars, by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner | Book Review

Science fiction is no longer a “quiet” genre. Even if a novel isn’t tagged as sci-fi, there are many that have some sort of mind-twisting sci-fi element. ‘Broken Stars’ is an interesting novel. For a long time now, “break into” young adult fiction and more secular fiction has been a goal. This is an excellent introduction (of a sort) novel to accomplish this. 

Despite some flaws, the book is actually really good. It starts off slow despite the “excitement” and continues this way for a good twenty percent of the journey. Tarver and Lilac fight often, but their story sets up as a kind of Titanic-esque or Romeo and Juliet tragedy. The contrast of him being from the “wrong side of the tracks,” and she being a wealthy girl in a kind of bubble is written well. All before everything morphs into a battle of survival, mentally and physically, and melts the lines away. For a while, these two allies are their own worst enemy long before they begin to unite. Once they realize each other is their best chance, it’s almost as if they’re physically drawn to the other person before genuine emotions even have had a chance to grow.

Co-authors Kaufman and Spooner craft a romantic story with prose that’s quite good, especially considering so much of the novel is descriptive instead of conversation. There is lovely planet descriptions, dark skies of stars and much of these details bring the world of Star Trek to mind. Unless you don’t mind glossing over some of the paragraphs, I know for my personally, it was helpful to have some basic idea of what sci-fi looks like. Having the visualization is helpful.

By the last page, These Broken Stars does impress. It’s flawed in places but for the story, I think that is part of its charm. If you haven’t the patience for the slower pace, this probably isn’t for you, however if you like teen novels in the past (like Kiera Cass or The Hunger Games), then you’ll probably enjoy this gorgeous saga. The cover design is one of those a reader wishes they could “jump” inside, and the exact event is beautifully written. Just stick with the story; it’s slow yet compelling. 


Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: December 2013
Find the Review elsewhere:  Goodreads | WordPress
Add the Book: Goodreads
Series: Starbound – Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Young Adult/Teen, Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Rating: ★★★★

With thanks to the publicist (thanks for sending this, Cassie!) and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. This looks right up my alley. I adore YA, sci-fi, and dystopian stories, unfortunately I haven't read really any of it lately. This reminds me of Beth Revis's Across the Universe that I read a few years ago. Have you read that one? You might like it. :)

    1. No, I haven't read Beth's novel, Renee – thanks for the tip though. I'm always up for new rec's whether or not I *need* new reading material. Send any my way. ;)

      Yay! I think you're right – you'd probably enjoy this book. I did too aside from the slower pace… still I think if I would re-read it, it'd grow on me since now I'd know what to expect. Happy reading! :)

  2. Lovely review, Rissi! I'm not a big sci-fi fan (although I enjoyed Ender's Game), but this sounds intriguing. I love dystopians and YA, so I'll be sure to look into this book :)

    1. …I didn't used to be a sci-fi fan either, Jillian, however that's changed. Now I am quite fond of Marvel, Star Trek and Doctor Who. :) This book was good albeit slow at times. Hope you enjoy if/when you see it.

      I'm glad to know Ender's Game was good; I've heard a lot about it. :)

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