Rated Reads

These Broken Stars

by Amie Kaufman

Rated: Moderate

By Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Tarver Merendson is a war hero at the young age of 18. He’s traveling through dimensional hyperspace on a giant spaceship called the Icarus. He’s welcomed and adored by the wealthy, higher-class people on the ship but, with his simpler background, feels more comfortable with the soldiers belowdecks. He meets Lilac LaRoux at a fancy gathering on the ship and is drawn to her natural beauty and strength of personality. But Lilac, the only daughter of one of the richest and most powerful men in the galaxy, is totally off limits.

Lilac, for her part, is drawn to Tarver, but she knows she cannot be the slightest bit involved with him — her father controls everything, as she has learned by sad experience — so she has to brush him off rudely.

Shortly after Lilac and Tarver’s meeting, they find themselves alone together in an escape pod, and then crash-landed on an alien planet. The Icarus falls out of the sky, and they become the only survivors of a horrific disaster far from their home planet. They hope for rescue, but as time goes on it seems less and less likely. And the planet they landed on is strangely devoid of any people. None of it makes any sense.

The two have to figure out how to get along and how to work together. How to stay alive. Strange things start happening, particularly to Lilac, and the mystery of why the Icarus crashed becomes compounded by the mysteries of an empty but terraformed planet and strange visions and “whispers.”

These Broken Stars is part romance and part sci-fi mystery. About two-thirds of the way in, the action and mystery ratcheted up and I was compelled to just keep reading because it was so interesting. What in the world could be going on? And would it at all be possible for these two young people to accept their feelings for each other and even find happiness? Could they possibly have any kind of future? I really enjoyed the story.

Rated: Moderate. There are occasional uses of mild and moderate language but the story often refers to a character “letting loose a string of profanity” and the such without using it. There’s some danger and tension and mentions of dead bodies and their smell and injuries, etc. There are some kissing scenes and the characters sleep huddled together for warmth. Then they sleep together because they care about each other. It’s possible they do more than kiss but it’s not made clear.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • These Broken Stars
  • by Amie Kaufman
  • Rated: Moderate
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: