Friday, November 9, 2012

Defy The Stars--Stephanie Parent--review

Defy the Stars Blurb:
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.

This novel contains mature language and themes, including drug use.

My Review: 
Over the few days it took me to read Defy the Stars, the book became like a drug to me. Each moment away had me itching for more of the high. Granted I had to take breaks to do things like, *Gasp* feed my children or *sigh* shower. But if I could have avoided those things, I would have in order to get the next fix of this book.
Defy the Stars is a beautifully written, poetic interpretation of the classic Romeo and Juliet story. The flow of the writing is flawless and draws the reader into the story. These real, raw characters are beautifully flawed, creating people we as readers can relate to. Despite depiction of drug use in this book, we love and understand these characters. We want these characters to grow, to learn, and every time they fail, we urge them to get back up and fight again.
One of the things I was the most impressed with was the connections to Shakespeare’s masterpiece. Now, someone could have come along and twisted the original story and come up with a less than impressive knock off, but Ms. Parent weaves the story into her own, creating something beautifully impressive. It is by no means a knock off. She makes the story her own and in reading Defy the Stars, we forget that we’re reading an interpretation of the Bard’s story. Yet, when I finished and began a few notes for this post, I began to realize just how closely she was able to tie in bits and pieces of the original play. From the apotheCARY, to the beloved cousin/uncle, to the banishment of Romeo, all pieces that are skillfully played by Ms. Parent. Upon finishing this book, I want to now go back to my English studies from college and reread Romeo and Juliet. I think if I do, I’d see even more connections that Parent slipped in under the radar.
This is one of the most amazing books I’ve read in a long time. Parent has found a new fan in me.
5/5 stars.


 Be sure to go back and check out the rest of the tour.

 Author Info:
Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.

Giveaway Info:
1st prize: $30 gift card from Amazon and a e-book copy of Defy the Stars.
2nd place: 4 e-book copies of Defy the Stars.
Additional Prize: A query letter critique by Stephanie Parent.
All giveaways are open internationally!

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