Monday, August 20, 2012

Review: Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent
Publisher: Self-Published
First published: August 1st, 2012
Source: Received from author
Format: eBook
Pages: 325
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'd recommend this for an older audience (16+).

My Rating: 4.0 / 5

First thoughts:
A bittersweet love story everybody knows, a modern setting and a writing style that will make you crave more verse novels - that's Defy the Stars. It incorporates the good-girl-bad-boy-element which, in combination with Romeo & Juliet's tragic fate, ensures enough passion and heart-break for its readers to keep the story interesting.

Then I can't stand at all and I'm
sliding down,
                  down. (Kindle Location 2299)*

More detailed:
As someone who absolutely loves verse novels I jumped at the opportunity to read and review Defy the Stars. Up front I have to say that this is probably perfect for everyone who wants to "try" a verse novel since Stephanie Parent's storytelling is very easy to follow and can be read almost like a "regular" novel.

I know the glass is old,
softening, flattering, but still, I hardly recognize
that girl... Is it me? (Kindle Location 450)*

It's been a while since I've read Romeo & Juliet, but it was easy nonetheless to detect the elements of Shakespeare's love story which were beautifully incorporated into Defy the Stars. Needless to say, you can expect lots of passion, angst, and heart-break which always made me keep turning the pages, afraid that Julia and Reed will have to suffer the same tragic fate as the classical lovers.

What I also enjoyed were the music elements that were weaved into the story. As an aspiring pianist, we get to witness Julia practicing certain pieces of classical music and even for someone like me, who has really no idea about playing an instrument, it was great to see how she could get lost in the music she creates.

I want to change these
notes, but I am no composer. I can
     only play the song another has chosen for
     me. (Kindle Location 56)*

Considering certain elements like drug use, I'd definitely recommend Defy the Stars for an older audience. While I know that it's important that such topics are presented in YA as well, I'm not really sure whether I like the extent of it in this story, which is why I have "only" rated this with four stars. Other than that I really liked Defy the Stars and hope to read more by Stephanie Parent in the future.

Buy this book:
Amazon US | Amazon UK

Have you read Defy the Stars? If yes, what did you think about it?
If no, do you plan to read it?

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

* All quotes are taken from an eBook of Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent.


  1. Really pretty cover. Thanks for the the review and your thoughts. :O)

  2. I absolutely adore the quotes you picked!!!! Truly I m must add this book to my list :)

  3. Ooh, I love Romeo and Juliet! And the fact that this is in verse is DEFINITELY appealing. Can't wait to check it out!

  4. It's the next book I've got in line! I'm glad to see this one get exposure. Verse novels rock! :D

  5. I really love that cover, but I had no idea what it was about or that it was written in verse! Love all the little excerpts you've included--it definitely makes me want to read!

    great review. :)

    ashelynn @ gypsy book reviews.


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