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

Series: Starbound (Book #1)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 374
First Published: December 10, 2013

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Have you ever wondered what LOST would be like if it was a young adult romance novel set in space? These Broken Stars has your back. While Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the galaxy (and also a spoiled brat), Tarver is a war young war hero who comes from nothing. They are on board of the largest spaceliner called Icarus (why would you name a spaceliner that?!) that promptly malfunctions, and the two crash-land on an unknown terraformed planet. Lilac and Tarver have to overcome personal problems, and survive in the unfamiliar mysterious environment.

I really wanted to love this book, but it was just... not that good. The biggest problem that I had with it were the characters: I didn't connect with them or like them. While Tarver was OK, and could potentially be semi-relatable, Lilac was just plain annoying. She spends so much time trying to create an impression of a tough girl who isn't just a spoiled rich brat, but it's actually not true. She is unbelievably stubborn, and though she ultimately has a good heart, she can't help her upbringing. Lilac insists on treading through the forest in high heels, she gets in trouble the moment Tarver isn't paying attention, and she is obsessed with shoes. I'm sorry, but if you're trying to survive in a possibly hostile environment I think ruining your designer shoes should be the last thing you're worried about. She also is concerned about things like this:

I can’t help but wonder how long it will take the blisters and calluses on my feet to fade when we’re rescued. How soon will I be able to wear proper shoes again without displaying my battle scars?
— Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Another thing that didn't work for me in this book is the lack of an actual villain. This is a survival romance story, and the villain is the environment (and the characters' bad decisions). Now, the planet and its "quirks" were actually the better part of the book—I thought the setting itself was interesting. However, I'm someone who loves a good antagonist, and if you're like me you will find yourself wishing for a villain in this story where there are essentially only two characters.

On the plus side, These Broken Stars is very fast paced and it's an easy read, if you're looking for that kind of thing. The writing is a bit too plain, but it sets the tone for the story. However, nothing could save the cliché romance for me—every time Lilac and Tarver had a "moment", I couldn't help my own eye-rolling. I think someone who likes romance books would appreciate this more than I did. The science fiction element of the story is underdeveloped, and the explanation behind the events left a lot to be desired.

In the end, though this wasn't a book for me, it wasn't terrible. I think if YA was the genre I read the most, I would enjoy this book more: the setting is creative, and I appreciate the authors trying to do something different. However, I have read and seen better science fiction, better romance, and better survival stories, so I can't give These Broken Stars more than 3 stars out of 5. There is no way I'm continuing with the series.

Have you read this book? What did you think?