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Defy the Stars

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  59 reviews
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 J
Kindle Edition, 596 pages
Published July 30th 2012 by Stephanie Parent
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3.82  · 
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 ·  163 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Romeo and Juliet: Love Story or Cautionary Tale?

this is the question this book conveniently asks in the middle of the narrative, giving me the perfect jumping-off point for my review.

because this is a retelling of romeo and juliet, with meth. in verse.

thought i should get that part out of the way right off the bat. because, yes, i have bemoaned to book-in-verse format time and time and time again, because i think that usually, it doesn't really do the book any favors; it just looks like a buncha
Magen Corrie
Jul 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
"I don't know if it's about love, so much, as fate. Something bigger than Romeo and Juliet, something greater than any two people, pulled them to each other, entwined their lives a knot that no one could untangle. They could no more change what happened than...than stop a star from falling.-Reed"

This book was beyond what I thought it would be.
It ensnared me, held me captive from first sentence to the last page.
I had no chance to escape once I read the first word.
Defy the Stars is stu
Maria Stanica
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Hey, you guys! So, for the first time ever and author contacted me and asked me to review her book. I, of course, was super excited and said yes! I was even more excited to learn that it was an "edgy contemporary Romeo and Juliet retelling in verse." I love books like that (Hi, Prom and Prejudice). Stephanie Parent is an amazingly kind lady and I'm sure that her book is going to get super popular in the near future. (By the way, I will be posting the Amazon link for her book at the end of this p ...more
3.5 stars

I was never a fan of Romeo and Juliet but when it was said that this book is some sort of a retelling of the said famous romance novel I was curious as how the author will pull it off. Well, actually it was more like I wanted to see a different ending, something that isn't really tragic or well, stupid because I really resent the ending of the original novel. Thankfully, I think the author did a very good job in portraying the story of Reed and Julia as the modern Romeo and Juliet and a
Jul 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
What starts out as a simple love story between two people from two different worlds, turns out to be so much more complicated and tragic that my heart still hurts.

Julia simply put is your average student just trying to survive high school and eventually go off to college where she can practice her music. She feels like no one understands her even her parents and she knows that life will be so much better when she can just be around other music people like herself. With pressure from her friends,
Jul 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
I had little to no expectations going into this book. I had received a review request, and saw that the book was in verse. I'm a huge fan of verse novels, so I thought I would give this a try.

I loved it. It consumed me for two days. I couldn't stand putting it down, because I was so into the characters and plot of this novel. I play the piano, so I especially loved all the musicalness that Stephanie injected the verse with. If you don't know anything about music, I'm sure you could still enjoy
I'm going to say this straight up: I totally missed that this is a cautionary tale about drug abuse until I was about a quarter into the book. If I had known this, I probably would not have read it, because I don't care for novels about drug abuse.

While this is a verse novel, and I love verse novels, Defy the Stars is largely more of a fractured prose-style than a more structured verse novel like, say, Love and Leftovers. I tend to prefer the later, so again, my personal preferences are a knock
Jul 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My musical interest is unlimited, and any story that has music in the mix is bound to get my attention. Defy the Stars stands on its own as one of the most exhilarating, thought-provoking, and fascinating story portraying the life of a young girl coming into her own and deciphering what it truly is she wants in life.

What's so wonderful about Stephanie's writing, other than the fact that the story's written in verse, is how instead of chapters things are taking place throughout the course of mon
Michelle (In Libris Veritas)
I received this from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Oh wow…just…wow. This put me in a predicament once I finished it. I wanted to rave about it and share it with people, but it left me utterly speechless and I had no clue how to even start. Luckily after a some deep breathing and some reflection I think I can handle it.

Defy the Stars is not something I typically read on multiple accounts, one it’s contemporary which is usually a no go because reality fiction tends to be too ‘real’ a
Pooja (On books!)
Review (originally posted on my blog) + Giveaway of the book:

Julia and Reed.

Modern-day versions of Romeo and Juliet.

This should be easy, you might think. Their fates are locked the minute their eyes meet and are made to read the parts of Romeo and Juliet in English class.

I felt uneasy as I started reading Defy The Stars, the opening verses setting the tempo to a relationship that was doomed from the start. Julia, after all, is well-off while Reed is from
Oct 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Because this story contains mature language and themes, including drug use, I was a little apprehensive at first. I didn’t want to prematurely judge the characters but I was afraid I would feel drown in the darker, brooding mood that overshadowed the fragile, sweet love of two teenagers.

From the blurb, it’s already hinted that Reed’s upbringing is very different from Julia’s. Even though they go to the same high school, they associate themselves with different crowds. Reed is often seen with tho
Caro [The Book Rogue]
This was.. wow, a journey as romantic as it was poetic! The writing style had me in knots and pieces, from the beginning almost to the end. It had such rhythm that it developed... a force, almost like it was its own being. Maybe it's the peotic structure, or all the muscial terms and expressions, or the both of them combined. What a great way to do a Shakespeare adaption! And just like a musical piece, it had its highs and lows, so it was possible to stop and put it down when it became too much. ...more
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
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"...what could I have done?
Could I have changed this song, altered
this key? Or was this tragedy
already written, black notes
of music on the page,
a story in the stars? "
With it's stunning verse narrative and star-crossed lovers, Defy the Stars is a modern day Romeo and Juliet that will steal your heart.
I love books written in verse. I suppose I always have, but I didn't consciously realize that until I read Love and Leftovers late last year. So when the author asked me to review Defy the Stars,
Janna Mashburn
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.

Heres much to do with that, but more with love.-Shakespeare

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.

"I don't know if it's about love, so much, as fate. Some
See more of my reviews on my blog Thoughts At One In The Morning.

My Thoughts:

When I received this review request, I was excited. An indie novel told in verse? I love novels written in verse! I’m a huge fan of them. I knew I had to read this one.

It starts with Julia playing Moonlight Sonata on the piano. That piece is one of my favorites, and it adds to the overall feel of the story. She loves playing piano. She will go off to college and beyond there play piano at concert halls. Everything that
J. Andersen
Oct 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Over the few days it took me to read Defy the Stars, the book became like a drug to me. Each moment away had me itching for more of the high. Granted I had to take breaks to do things like, *Gasp* feed my children or *sigh* shower. But if I could have avoided those things, I would have in order to get the next fix of this book.

Defy the Stars is a beautifully written, poetic interpretation of the classic Romeo and Juliet story. The flow of the writing is flawless and draws the reader into the sto
Tee loves Kyle Jacobson
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012-must-reads
Defy The Stars is one of the books that is both heart wrenching and heart felt. It grabs you from the beginning and keeps you reading right till the end. This is a story about about three people who all want something but are not so sure they can get it let alone deserve it. The verse writing was only a plus with this story because it made me love the characters more. I could feel what they felt and it kept me reading and reading late into the night.

Julia is a senior and waiting for school to en
Ashley Williams
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: contemporary
“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 origi
Linda Kage
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
There are three things I can't stand in my romance stories:
1. Verse.
2. Drug use.
3. Learning that at least one of the main characters is going to die on page one, totally ruining any chance of a happily ever after.

Now guess how many of those three things Defy the Stars contains. Yeah, ALL THREE! But I still couldn't stop reading this book. It was just soooo good.

It's not some big long confusing poem that was totally over my head, but beautiful and lyrical. Yet it still contained a plot with emoti
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
“Love story or cautionary tale?” asks a character in Stephanie Parent’s Defy the Stars regarding Shakespeare’s doomed lovers.

Perhaps the answer isn’t as black and white as the question suggests. Life so rarely is. Why should the love story of Juliet Capulet and Romeo Montague be any different?

So perhaps then, it is both. A love that burns so intensely, so brightly, so recklessly, yet so truly and with such wild abandon that it can’t help but come to abrupt and tragic ends. A love that becomes so
Nov 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Also posted in Oops! I Read A Book Again

Defy the Stars was my first ever verse novel. Stephanie gave me an e-copy as a gift (Thank you so much Steph! <3) so I dived right into reading it. And boy, did I like it. :)

I love poems and I sometimes cry over reading one. So the idea of a verse novel sounded fantastic. Defy the Stars can be called a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Or at least it's inspired by it. I mean, it's quoted everywhere, they discuss it in class. Meta or not, Romeo and
Sep 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Let me start by saying that unfortunately I don’t think free verse works in e-book format. The reason for this is that the words in free verse form a pattern on the page, sweeping you along with the story, the shapes of the words and the use of white space within free verse always add a dynamic element in the prose that I found lacking in the ebook version.

As this is a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet while reading you are inevitably awaiting the tragedy to strike. Told in first person narrative
Aug 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
*Originally reviewed on Pages Of Forbidden Love
I can’t even begin to tell you how much this book broke my heart. When Stephanie emailed me about reading Defy The Stars I knew two things 1) I had to read this book and 2) This wasn’t going to be a happy book. I went in knowing I was in for some hard times but I really didn’t expect all the water works this book had me going through.

Julia is an innocent girl. She plays piano and just wants to get through the rest of her school year so she can gradu
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
When I found out about this book, and that it was in verse, I was eager to start. Gimme gimme gimme. I have a soft spot for books in verse. I absolutely love how an author can pack a page with emotion in so few words. I didn’t feel Defy the Stars had that true verse-y flow, though it was still packed with emotion, just in a fuller way.

I loved Julia. She was driven, focused, and, let’s face it, MUSICAL. As a fellow pianist, I adored reading the scenes where Julia was playing the piano. She plays
Angela Fristoe
Nov 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-books
As I started reading Defy the Stars, I found myself completely torn. On one hand I love anything Shakespeare (yes, even the cheesy 10 Things I Hate About You), and Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites. On the other hand is that I hate sad endings and Defy the Stars starts off letting you know this will be a sad ending, which really shouldn't be a surprise considering it's a retelling of one of the saddest love stories ever told.

So, where did that leave me? Well, I went in cautiously. I tried
Neysa (Papier Revue)
Nov 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-owned

"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."

Defy the Stars totally piques my interest with the line "Much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story". I mean, that story was alre
Debbie I Heart YA Books
Defy the Stars ripped my heart out. I thought waiting a week after reading this heart-breaking love story would let my emotions calm down enough to write a review, but I’m still crying. Stephanie Parent’s awesomeness as a talented writer can clearly be seen is this beautiful novel. Parent has just become one my favorite authors. I love Parent's verse writing. The verse definitely made Julia and Reed's love for each other a deeper, heart-felt read for me. I also loved that Parent showed the real ...more
This review can be seen here on Books and Swoons .

**I received a copy of this book from the author for a blog tour stop but it not did not influence this review in any way.**

As I first started reading, I found myself clicking with the protagonist, Julia. Julia is the good girl who always seems to do what she's told and doesn't question her parent's choices for her. The only thing she's passionate about is the piano and she spends the majority of her time either playing it or inside her own he
Amanda (Born Bookish)
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 tha ...more
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Stephanie Parent is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major. She moved to Los Angeles because of Francesca Lia Block's WEETZIE BAT books, which might give you some idea of how much books mean to her. She also loves dogs, books about dogs, and sugary coffee drinks both hot and cold.
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