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These Broken Stars - Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner Would you like to know what makes me happy? Young adult science fiction does and These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner is a respectable addition to the genre. The book centers on heiress Lilac Laroux and Major Tarver Merendsen, who survive when the spaceliner, Icarus, crashes and are stranded on what appears to be an uninhabited planet. Throw in some mystery and science, and voila! These Broken Stars.

I think one of the first things that should be addressed in this review is all of the hype around These Broken Stars. According to Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman’s newsletter, their novel is the most requested book on Goodreads. That is a pretty high standard to live up to, but I feel like it takes away from this book. The hype monster builds, builds, builds These Broken Stars up, and it’s left a little bit shaky. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad book but not something that I would’ve knowledgeably spent a year on pins and needles waiting for.

I liked the characters in These Broken Stars quite a bit. Lilac is an über-rich debutante who is on a pleasure trip with her best friend and bodyguards-in-bodices on her daddy’s ship, the Icarus. Tarver Merendsen is a major at the ripe old age of nineteen-twentyish who comes from humble roots. Of course, they’re thrown in together at the start of the novel for a rocky start to build intrigue, and there is more to them than it would seem to one another. (It’s not a bad thing.) What I liked best is that there is an air of mystery about the “more”. Where did Lilac get those tricks up her sleeves? And how in the hell did Tarver Merendsen go from soldier to major on the battlefield?

The world-building is where I got a little hung up in These Broken Stars. I read and loved Skylark by Meagan Spooner, so my expectations were pretty astronomical (see what I did there?) of how the setting and plot unfolded together. I just had too many questions about how things worked. For instance – terraforming. If it was only partially terraformed because of the particular trees used, why were there animals. If there had to be a mirror moon thingy, then they could not occur naturally, right? Yes, I’m one of those weird people who wants to know how the science works. I wanted to pat Lilac and Tarver on the head, tell them they’re cute, and send them to make out in a cave so I could LEARN THINGS. And then again, I may’ve missed the forest in this book because of all the damned trees in the way.

The long and short of it is, These Broken Stars is a good book, but not what I thought it was hyped up to be. I will be rereading it when I get my finished copy, and maybe it will be All The Things for me like Skylark was. Or – more hopefully – I’ll be able to judge it against itself and not a book by one of the authors. If all else fails, I’ll have a pretty piece of literary artwork to face out on my bookshelf.

3.5/5 Stars