Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent
YA contemporary* e-book, 325 pages*
self-published (release date July 30, 2012)
Purchase link: Amazon
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 withthe 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.
About the Author
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.
For a book written in verse, I was floored by the strength of the emotions the sparse writing of Defy The Stars invoked from me. Stephanie Parent has bravely re-imagined Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet, giving the tragic tale a contemporary spin. Julia is a pianist and from good stock. Romeo is now named Reed and this bad boy is a stoner and has a drug lord for a brother. With lovely imagery and music references, I liked Julia much quicker than Reed. It took some time for me to 'get' then like Reed, and I have to admit I enjoyed liking Reed because I could relate to what Julia was going through.
Touching, tragic, and utterly unforgettable, Defy the Stars defied my expectations. I honestly did not know what to think when I read the synopsis, but after finishing the story, I miss reading about Julia and Reed. For a reader, telling an author their story has incredible staying power can only be construed as a high form of a compliment.
Cover comment: Not feeling it or liking the cover at all.
Book source: I received a promotional e-book from the author in exchange for my honest review during a book tour.
The complete tour schedule can be found here
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.
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