Erika's Reviews > Defy the Stars

Defy the Stars by Stephanie Parent
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's review
Sep 07, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, contemporary-young-adult, novels-in-verse, classics-rewrite, fiction, young-adult
Read from July 30 to August 09, 2012

Interview with Stephanie Parent:

Giveaway and full review:

My thoughts:

If you skipped over the summary (which I hope you didn't) and jumped right into my thoughts here, let me say this: Defy the Stars is not only a novel-in-verse but also a retelling of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Not only that, but I've been secretly on the lookout for a self-published novel-in-verse for kindle that don't cost an arm and a leg (there are few and far between verse novels available for kindle). I couldn't pass up this opportunity. I knew I had to give it a try.

At first of the book seemed to fly by. I loved the role of music in the novel and how different Julia seemed from the original Juliet. Also, it was really fun seeing all the new characters pop up and trying to place them in the original story. This is though, a story that can stand apart from it's original. It's different yet the inspiration is clearly there and it started to take on a shape of it's own that made me slow down and look more closely at all the little details. That level of retelling is exactly what I was looking for.

In the end Defy the Stars was a very different book than I expected, sometimes giving me more than I hoped for and other times surprising me in ways I wasn't sure sat well with me. For instance, the drug use. I don't mind reading about all sorts of gritty things but I found the reasons for Reed's and Julia's exploration of drugs disturbing. Mainly that was because it seemed too real for me. I could see all too easy how Reed would find solace in drugs and Julia find they enhance her all too controlled life. I wanted something much better for them. However, after some consideration and time away from the book, I find this book growing on me. I keep coming back to it and looking at it from different angles, finding new things surprising me every time I think about it. Now I think this is a beautiful retelling of a tragic story. It isn't less tragic but it has a voice of it's own that has really made me think and digest things differently.

On a side note: The verse format worked really well for the kindle. It's nicely done and not hard to read at all which I was worried about.

**As reviewed on One A Day Y.A.
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