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Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent
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Defy the Stars

by Stephanie Parent

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“For never was a story of more woe..” Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

This was a gripping modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It was written in verse style and was an easy read. I liked the fact that the Stephanie inserted snips of Romeo and Juliet in the beginning of some chapters. Thus, you knew how it related to the original story.. or didn't.

The story follows Julia, a senior in high school and an accomplished pianist; and Reed, a stoner kid from the wrong side of the tracks. As with the original story, their paths cross, but their path’s don’t necessarily mix. Julia’s mother is the head of anti-drug organization and Reed’s brother is the head of a major drug operation. With the odds not in their favor, the two fell in love despite knowing they shouldn’t be together. Reed and Julia make plans to be together, when a tragedy strikes.

I really wanted to love this story, because I loved the original Romeo and Juliet. But the affection for Reed wasn’t there for me. I just didn’t feel that undying love between Julia and Reed. Unfortunately the scene where Julia tries drugs is also lacking for me.

The ending was by far my favorite part of the book. I would rate the last 30% of the book, 5 stars. Even though you think you know what’s coming at the end, you don’t! All in all, if you want a short, easy read and a few tears at the end, this would be a good book to read. ( )
  asgwilli | Dec 2, 2013 |
“For never was a story of more woe..” Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

This was a gripping modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It was written in verse style and was an easy read. I liked the fact that the Stephanie inserted snips of Romeo and Juliet in the beginning of some chapters. Thus, you knew how it related to the original story.. or didn't.

The story follows Julia, a senior in high school and an accomplished pianist; and Reed, a stoner kid from the wrong side of the tracks. As with the original story, their paths cross, but their path’s don’t necessarily mix. Julia’s mother is the head of anti-drug organization and Reed’s brother is the head of a major drug operation. With the odds not in their favor, the two fell in love despite knowing they shouldn’t be together. Reed and Julia make plans to be together, when a tragedy strikes.

I really wanted to love this story, because I loved the original Romeo and Juliet. But the affection for Reed wasn’t there for me. I just didn’t feel that undying love between Julia and Reed. Unfortunately the scene where Julia tries drugs is also lacking for me.

The ending was by far my favorite part of the book. I would rate the last 30% of the book, 5 stars. Even though you think you know what’s coming at the end, you don’t! All in all, if you want a short, easy read and a few tears at the end, this would be a good book to read. ( )
  asgwilli | Dec 2, 2013 |
"There he is, his lips against mine. There we are, our world changed forever. And then the images are propelling me up, away from the piano, though the chords roll on inside my head as I run out of the room, down the hall, through the back door, and outside, bare feet on the dew-soaked grass."
—Julia

Defy the Stars totally piques my interest with the line "Much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story". I mean, that story was already so bittersweet. But when I decided that I would read this book, I totally got what that sentence mean, which is true.

Defy the Stars introduced us to our uptight main character, Julia Cape, the daughter of the wealthy Cape family. Her world was just like a constant schedule, in that time doing this, and in this time doing that. Never would it occurred to her that she was about to take a dramatic turn. Until she met Reed.

The plot in this book was quite great in my opinion. Stephanie told the reader a lot about Julia's life so that the reader would get all the details, yet it was still interesting and not boring. I also love how Julia and Reed's relationship seemed so true, and was based by a strong connection between them, not just another He-is-oh-so-handsome-and-now-I'm-so-into-him kind of love.

The character was well-developed too, especially Julia and Reed as the main character. The thing that drew me most was how they both came from a very different world, yet they struggled with life in such a similar way. I also love Julia's strict parent, who loved fame more than their own child's happiness. It was so believable I could totally sympathize with Julia.

One thing I'm not quite fond of this book was, while the main character was great, some of the minor character, like Julia's second best friend, and the teacher, and well, some side character, was not as developed as the main one. I think it was quite okay since they didn't appeared in a lot of scene, but it gave some kind of incompleteness feeling on it.
I also thought that the ending could use some more impact. It delivered, but it didn't really went straight to my heart. But while it lacked of impact, it sure still lingered for a long time even after I've finished reading it.

Overall, if you love contemporary book, and would love to read something about life struggle, insecurities, and how sweet and heartbreaking our teenage's love is, this book is totally worth the read.
  NeysaKristanti | May 5, 2013 |
I really loved this very modern (warning:drug abuse involved) retelling of Romeo and Juliet. It was written in verse style, which I am a big fan of, and fans of Ellen Hopkins should enjoy this book. I knew it would be a tragic ending, like Romeo and Juliet, so I put off reading the end for a long time since I grew to really love the two main characters, Julia and Reed.I cried when I read the ending, but enjoyed the book so much that I will definitely recommend it. ( )
  GirlsonFire | Feb 23, 2013 |
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!!! ( )
  BornBookish | Jan 25, 2013 |
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