Sunday, 9 August 2015

‘Under Different Stars’ by Amy A. Bartol

Book details

Genre: YA Fiction/Fantasy
Format: Audible book
Producer: Brilliance Audio


 Kricket Hollowell is normally not one to wish upon stars; she believes they’re rarely in her favor. Well versed at dodging caseworkers from Chicago’s foster care system, the past few years on her own have made Kricket an expert at the art of survival and blending in. With her 18th birthday fast approaching, she dreams of the day when she can stop running and find what her heart needs most: a home. 

Trey Allairis hates Earth and doubts that anyone from his world can thrive here. What he’s learning of Kricket and her existence away from her true home only confirms his theory. But, when he and Kricket lie together under the stars of Ethar, counting them all may be easier than letting her go. 

Kyon Ensin’s secrets number the stars; he knows more about Kricket's gifts than anyone and plans to possess her because of them. He also knows she’s more valuable than any fire in the night sky. He’ll move the heavens and align them all in order to make her his own. 

When everything in their world can be broken, will Kricket rely upon love to save her under different stars?


When I first downloaded Under Different Stars, it was with the intention of having something barely entertaining to do on the long drive down to the beach. Basically, I wanted a book that would keep my mind off the horribly gross eight-hour car trip, and maybe have the added bonus of putting me to sleep.

Was I entertained? Definitely. Did I go to sleep at all in the 9 hours it took to finish the book? Maybe once.

I can’t really figure out why I enjoyed Bartol’s novel. Maybe it was because it exceeded my pretty limited expectations? Maybe because the storyline at its core was cute and original? Or maybe (probably) because it involved three of my favourite things: a strong protagonist, super hot unearthly beings and new insults that other non-readers won’t understand.

The characters and storyline in Under Different Stars are definitely among its most appealing qualities. Although I sometimes found Kricket mildly annoying, I did admire her as a protagonist: she’s intellectual, independent and turns out to be invaluable to her male counterparts. A part of me did reason that the writer shouldn’t have felt the need to make her stunningly attractive to every single male character in the novel on top of all her other qualities (making her pretty much perfect), but that’s probably just me being argumentative. It also turned out that her beauty played a rather large role in the storyline towards the end of the novel (think Helen of Troy on steroids).

Oh, and of course there’s Trey – the brooding, calculating hero who could easily join the ranks of Jace, Damon and Patch. They should actually form a club or something where they discuss weaponry and complain about how difficult it is to admit their love for stunningly attractive, infuriatingly stubborn heroines. On second thought, that might not be such a good idea due to the fact that Damon and Trey, both among the buff unearthly type with dark hair, call their love interests “Kitten”. Cringe.

In any case, Bartol’s delicate writing style and good plotting helped me to overlook some of her more clichéd and predictable moments. The story itself is lovely – lighthearted at some points, but involving the perfect touches of drama, action, romance and tension to make up a relatively good YA novel.

Rating: 3 stars
Recommended to: Fans of JLA’s The Lux series.

The Last Word

I just have to mention the romantic aspect of Under Different Stars in this section, because although it didn’t make me dislike the story significantly, I’m noticing the same issue pop up in several other YA stories.

To both authors and readers of YA: a hero does not have to be buff and tall in order for him to be attractive. A heroine does not have to look like a Barbie in order for her to be beautiful. Also, funnily enough, sullenness, grumpiness, gruffness and even outright rudeness shouldn’t be surefire signs that a guy’s madly in love with you. If anything, they should be warning signs that you shouldn’t enter a relationship with somebody whose emotional state makes you feel uneasy.

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