ARC Review: These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

These Broken Stars
by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Series: Starbound #1
Release Date: December 10th, 2013
Source: Publisher / Netgalley

It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone. 

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help. 

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.


As soon as the cover released, These Broken Stars became one of the most sought after YA sci-fiction tales. I wanted a copy. Krista wanted a copy. If only to drool over the cover and secretly covet the dress. So after reading, there's one giant question: Is the inside as pretty as the outside?


  • Fleshed out world -- so visual that I felt like I was aboard the Icarus and crashed on a strange planet with Tarver and Lilac. Kaufman and Spooner paint space in the best way. With poetic sentences, words that flow seamlessly together, it's hard not to see exactly what the leads do. Even a month after I read the first couple of chapters, I could still picture the exact party room, the detail of worn (artificial) paperbacks, the way Tarver was uncomfortable amid the garish decorations. The way he put on a face for the cameras, and the way that Lilac wore a mask of haughtiness in order to hide her vulnerability. 
  • It was simply beautiful. And this is possibly the most crucial aspect of any novel set in space. The universe is so unknown and sometimes spaceships feel illogical, too faraway, distant or other for us to grasp them in absolute reality. Picturing this giant mechanical thing floating in the stars and then crashing on an unknown planet should be hard. But it's not. Kaufman and Spooner make it incredibly easy to understand Tarver and Lilac's surroundings. For that, I applaud them.  
  • A twisty plot that you won't guess or see coming. About midway through the book, the plot just really picks up. What turned from a simple crash-adventure novel became something more. These Broken Stars weaves together a mystery. Why did their spaceship crash? Are there other people on the planet? Will they ever meet civilization? These questions will keep you reading, as they did me. 
  • The "interview" interludes. With every new chapter (and subsequently a switch in POV between Tarver and Lilac), we receive bits of an interview that Tarver is having with an unknown person. I loved them. They added something new to a book that could have easily been same-old-same-old. But it wasn't. This felt inventive, fresh, and made me want to reach the next chapter that much faster. 
  • Tarver. The young military boy was very easy to connect to. The moment you're in his head, you sense his "outsider" quality -- too poor to be part of the elite but as a war hero he's somewhat thrust into the limelight. So he's a bit of a loner when he's not with soldiers like him. 
  • The romance. It's slow-burning, which is the best. Honestly, the romance felt like a survivalist connection, a love brought out from the fear of death. And it was panicky, desperate, and so intriguing. I really felt as though they both needed each other, and by the end, they both needed to be together because who else could relate to what they'd gone through? 


  • Lilac (at first). I didn't understand her all that much at the beginning of the book. It took me well into 200 pages to truly connect to her. She's wealthy, but she's also extremely smart with engineering. I didn't necessarily buy into that. It felt more like a ploy for me to like her. I wanted another reason than her just "saving the day." Possibly because she was quick to whine about things that didn't make sense to me. She was so concerned about sleeping beside Tarver, not wanting to upset her father even though they were stranded on a planet alone, that she kept asking him to sleep on the floor so she could take the good spot. Things like that. If she really didn't want to sleep beside him, then at least she should have taken the worst place. But she acted more like a princess, even if Tarver noticed that she was willing to walk many miles (out of stubbornness) in her heels without complaining. I wanted to love her, but her engineering talents just weren't enough at the beginning. And when she dropped the pretenses and started opening up to Tarver, I finally began to understand her. But even with her added POV, it took nearly half the book for me to really connect and find redeeming qualities amid her prissiness.


This is something that personally affected my experience while reading These Broken Stars. It DID NOT affect my rating. The star deduction is purely because I felt a little disconnected to Lilac. This is a completely subjective analysis. You may love this. I just want you to be aware that it's in the book.

  • Flowery! I do not think the book would be as visual without this component, so this is hard one for me to talk about. While I think the visual elements are the best part of These Broken Stars, it also slowed down my reading experience. 
  • Rich vs Poor Theme. Not a huge fan of this. I feel like the rich side is always at a disadvantage, and I want to say that it was executed well, but I think this may be one reason why I had such a hard time liking Lilac. Her wealthy status affected her and essentially caused her to be so rude to Tarver.

Find Me  These Broken Stars BY Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
RELEASES December 10th BY Disney Hyperion

ROBOT VERDICT: An extremely visual depiction of space, isolation and survival. For any science fictions fans, These Broken Stars is a must read. The plot alone is inventive, fresh and will leave you feeling satisfied. 




  1. I loved These Broken Stars! I agree with you, Lilac was a bit difficult to connect with at the start because of her haughtiness, but it turned out that she was a good person as she humbled throughout the book. I loved the interview parts and seeing what Tarver was/wasn't lying about, it was really interesting. Great review Becca!

    Come check out my review : here.

    1. Thanks Jeann!! I definitely grew to love Lilac towards the end. I wish it hadn't taken me so long to do so. And yes! The interview parts were great as the book progressed for that reason. :D

  2. Great review, Becca! I didn't finish this book because I couldn't get into the story, but I'm glad it worked out for you.
    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books

    1. Oh, I can see how that may be for some people. The writing is really beautiful, but it's of the "flowery" nature and that doesn't appeal to everyone. Hope you've had better luck since this one!

  3. Yes! This is almost exactly how I felt about TBS! I couldn't love Lilac for most of the book- but when I did I fell for her through Tarver, and how broken the story felt without her. I was also listening to super sad, flowery, instrumental music (see any trailer for Gravity & you'll know what song I had on repeat) & it helped fill in all those emotionally vacant gaps in regards to Lilac. But my love for Tarver was so BIG it kind of eclipsed any and all shortcomings in the book. I love it so hard!!

  4. Everyone is loving this so far! I can't wait to read it!

  5. OMG Becca!! This sounds so good! I've been dying to read it and your review makes me want it even more!! I will definitely be getting this as soon as possible! Wonderful review :)