Welcome to day one of Defy the Stars Book Weekend! This book was SO good I wish I could personally tell each and every one of you all about it, but since that's pretty much impossible I settled on shining a spotlight on it through my blog.
Here's how things are gonna go:
Today: Book Review
Tomorrow: Author Interview
Author: Stephanie Parent
# Of Pages: 596
Publication Date: July 30th 2012
Source: A review copy by the author (THANK YOU STEPHANIE!!)
Level: Young Adult
Rating: 5 Hearts
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.
WOAH. I have to say this book completely blew me away! Defy the Stars is a brilliant reinvention of the classic Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. Now, this is not a story I was familiar with beyond the general knowledge of two young lovers torn apart by their families and ending in tragedy. I’ve never actually read it or even seen the movie for that matter so I can’t really talk about if the author stuck closely to the original or strayed from the well-beaten path. What I can say is that she caused me to fall in love with a story I never had an interest in before.
I read this book in one sitting though it is much longer than the normal verse novel, weighing in at a lofty 596 pages. It took me a good 6 to 7 hours only leaving my chair to eat. I was captivated by the story before me, getting sucked into the world of Julia and Reed. All the characters were so well developed; from her parents, to her best friend Sara, to major creeper Perry, to Marc, Cary, Ms. Cheng, they were all so real.
One of the things I thought was really unique and I really enjoyed about this book was how large a role music plays. The main character, Julia, is a brilliant piano player who practices day in and day out with dreams of attending one of the most prestigious music conservatories. I loved all the talk about piano and how it was such an essential part of who Julia was. Her thought process revolved around music, she would classify characters by their voice type: soprano, alto, bass.
I do want to mention that there is a pretty heavy amount of drug use in this book. I’ve never read anything like it before. I normally try to stay away from the subject, but the author handled it in such a way that it didn’t bother me. While the characters do use a lot of drugs, the book definitely doesn’t condone them.
Even though I knew the tragic ending that was in store, I found myself hoping it wouldn’t be so, wishing to re-write history. I won’t give anything away but there is a twist on the ending you won’t see coming. Defy the Stars has easily become on of my favorite verse novels and I can only hope Stephanie will continue to write more!!!