Author: Stephanie Parent
Published: August 1st 2012
Source: Copy given by author for honest review
Genre: Young Adult
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Caution: May contain spoilers
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.
~synopsis from Goodreads
When I received this review request, I was excited. An indie novel told in verse? I love novels written in verse! I’m a huge fan of them. I knew I had to read this one.
It starts with Julia playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano. That piece is one of my favorites, and it adds to the overall feel of the story. She loves playing piano. She will go off to college and beyond there play piano at concert halls. Everything that is expected of her is laying out in front of her. She never anticipated doing something as illogical as kissing Reed… but she does.
Reed is one of the stoner guys at school, not one of the affluent crowd her family expects her to be interested in. A person like Perry, whose parents are close to her parents, who is the logical choice for someone of her status. He’s not who she is interested in though. Despite the part of her that wants to please her parents, she gives in to her desire to be with him. And her parents seem to be fine with it… until the secret comes out.
Once her parents know about Reed and his background, they instantly forbid her from seeing him. Of course, this doesn’t stop the two of them from sneaking around when they can. But there’s only so much time left before school is over and Julia needs to make a choice: out of state college or Reed.
Defy the Stars is a love story, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. It is tragic--it breaks your heart and glues you back together only to break again. The love of Julia and Reed is moving, you can’t bear to see them suffer. Stephanie Parent has delivered an amazing retelling of Romeo and Juliet. The verse style only adds to the magnificence of this timeless story. I highly recommend it.
Exceptional: Stay up until at least 1 AM