Title: Defy The Stars
Authors: Stephanie Parent
Publication Date: July 30th 2012
*Review Request, Self-Published
Goodreads Summary: 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 can’t even begin to tell you how much this book broke my heart. When Stephanie emailed me about reading Defy The Stars I knew two things 1) I had to read this book and 2) This wasn’t going to be a happy book. I went in knowing I was in for some hard times but I really didn’t expect all the water works this book had me going through.
Julia is an innocent girl. She plays piano and just wants to get through the rest of her school year so she can graduate and hopefully get into a good music school. She has a plan and she likes to structure things, even spending class planning out her schedule and practicing her music in her head. She isn’t looking for change but she can’t plan everything and one day while rushing to class she runs into Reed and somehow change is what she gets. After an in class reading of Romeo and Juliet and continuously running into him Julia can’t stop thinking about Reed. She catches herself daydreaming about him and wishing to stop. After all, Reed isn’t what she needs and it could never work.
Reed is the complete opposite of Julia. He doesn’t really have a plan and is just trying to get by. He’s had a hard life and he is stuck in it. He doesn’t have parents that care about him and his brother is scum (putting it kindly) but that is all he has. Reed is such a sad and broken character. He’s never had much and deals with life the only way he knows how. He has things rough but he is deep and when he talks about Romeo and Juliet or fate and destiny I just can’t help but love him. I couldn’t help but love him but I also hated him too, for not being everything I knew he could be. For letting his brother get the best of him and for letting Julia be dragged (even though it was willingly) into his world, even when I was wanting her in his life.
It’s very clear that Reed and Julia are from different worlds but the pull between them is so strong that it doesn’t stop them. Their relationship becomes intense so quickly but it is written so well and I really appreciated the fact that although Julia had such strong feeling she still thought about what her feelings really meant and not jumping straight to declaring her love for him. Reading about them together was just beautiful and heartbreaking. I wanted so much for them. I wanted things to work out so badly.
I haven’t read many books in verse, besides most of what Ellen Hopkins has written, but I was ready to read more and I think Stephanie did an amazing job. I was sucked in with her writing from the very first pages. I was wowed from the beginning and I really wanted to read the whole book in one sitting. I love what she did with the story and how deeply she allowed me to feel for her characters. I got so emotional reading her words. Defy The Stars was perfect even with all the darkness within its pages and it is going to stick with me for a long time. Definitely one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read more of Stephanie’s work.