Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hold Back The Stars” as Want to Read:
Hold Back The Stars
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hold Back The Stars

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  2,035 ratings  ·  472 reviews
A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.

After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the Europea
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Doubleday
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hold Back The Stars, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Lara When they first meet, Max is 27, but I haven't finished the book yet so I don't know how much time between that moment and the present is.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.52  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,035 ratings  ·  472 reviews

Sort order
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

What the heck did I just read?!!! This story is so complex and strange and just plays tricks on my mind. And what's up with the ending, or should I say endings? I'm just so confused right now. This is definitely a read that will mess you up and make you wonder about your own life and the concept of love and sacrifice. The plot is so unique. It all takes place in space but the main characters skip back and forth between their real situation and memory
Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.
They are alone together. Drifting in space.

Ninety minutes to stay alive.
Ninety minutes to figure out how to rescue the themselves.
Ninety minutes to reflect on the decisions that brought them to this point.
Ninety minutes to decide if love is indeed all you need.

This book is set in a future version of our world where the USA and the Middle East have been decimated and Europe has become a utopian society called Europia. Citizens of Europia don't co
Britta Böhler
Annoying gender-stereotypes aren't any less annoying (or stereotypical) if they happen in space.
Maria Espadinha
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um Romance Sideral

UAU! Romeu e Julieta em pleno espaço sideral!
Fabuloso e Inédito, pois nunca antes li nada assim!

A história começa com dois corpos flutuantes -- Carys e Max andam às cambalhotas no vácuo, lutando pela vida com os parcos meios de que dispõem, pois só lhes restam noventa minutos de oxigénio.

Como foram ali parar, é uma questão que será gradualmente respondida, mas posso desde já adiantar-vos que o maior problema foi a paixão assolapada em que se enlearam!

Problema, porquê?

Porque a s
Renee (
This is a 3 to 3.5 star read for me, I really had a hard time deciding

How about that cover? I was immediately drawn to it as well as the title and then when I read the blurb and saw it's being compared to One Day, one of my very favorite reads, I knew I'd have to hit the request button on Netgalley. I thought this would be a good "out of my comfort zone pick," and in some ways it was.

The beginning of the story pulled me in right away when we are thrust into space with Carys and Max after they've
Sarah DiMento
Carys and Max are stranded in space with minutes ticking away on their oxygen as they float further and further from their ship. But rather than finding a solution, they waste too many precious minutes on flashbacks and reflections of their tumultuous history... which was irritating and inappropriate. Hello? You have 90 minutes left and you're thinking about how you first met, had that breakup, ect? Maybe you should be trying to find a way to live?! I wanted the characters to be proactive and fi ...more
Oct 22, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: discarded-shelf
I am sorry but no. I thought this book was gonna be more science fiction and less romance, and man... was I disappointed...
The structure of the book moves between their present moment (dying floating on space, with no way to return to their ship and with oxigen shortage) and the story of how they met each other and how their story together moved from here to the moment they are in at present.
I just couldn' care for the characters, and the only part that really atracted me to the lecture was the
Oct 14, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2018
What the heck did i just read!?
Jedinica je inače rezervisana za knjige koje ne uspjem završiti, ali jedinice mogu dat i knjigama koje su mi bile užasne. Razumijem težnji da se smisli nešto orginalni, ali blago rečeno pretjerivanje u same detalje bez ikakvog smisla je užasno. Likovi su toliko jednodimenzionalni, njihov odnos, okolina oko njih je šablonski loše urađeno. Premisa je bila ok, ali ovo što je na kraju ispalo je za mene bilo užasno loše. O kraju, toliko konfuznom koliko može biti, neću
Joanna Park
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow what a beautiful book! Beautiful, haunting and really unusual.

Stranded in space with only 90 minutes of air left and no help in sight, Cerys & Max have a chance to reflect on their relationship and the events that have led them here. In a world where love is forbidden, Cerys & Max broke the rules when they fell in love. Facing fierce opposition from friends and family the pair decide they can't live without each other and decide to fight for their right to love. But can they really
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reseña completa:

Lo primero que me atrajo de él fue su portada, llena de estrellas por todas partes y algunas de ellas brillantes. Es una de las portadas más bonitas que he visto en lo que llevamos de año. Pero la portada no fue lo único que me llamó la atención ya que su sinopsis consiguió convencerme por esa mezcla entre historia de amor y lucha por la supervivencia en una situación más que compleja.

La historia está narrada en tercera persona e intercala
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Two people are abandoned outside a spacecraft with 90 minutes of oxygen and they spend it reminiscing about their relationship. Huh. I got halfway through this novel and then decided I didn't need to finish. The worldbuilding (future, USA ruined by nuclear war, Europa and individualism reign) would have been more effective if the characters felt like they were also in the future or were any different than us, but the dialogue and actions feel very YA (but they are in their 20s.) Is this new adul ...more
I received this this via Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own:).
Not a bad read but just okay for me.. couldn't get into the romance portion at all.. was more interested in the Voivode and everything that had led up to it.. and the whole trapped in space with 90 minutes of air left.

Potential there, but a dud for me. Aah well
Oct 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reseña completa:

Me tenía ganada desde el principio porque mi vena superficial me había hecho fijarme en la hermosa portada que tiene (llena de brillos y estrellas por todos lados) y encima la sinopsis me intrigaba y prometida una historia de amor épica y dramática, justo lo que me gusta, a pesar de todo esto no había leído ninguna opinión sobre él e iba totalmente a ciegas, con todo no dude mucho en lanzarme de lleno a descubrir si merecía la pena.

¡Y la m
Apr 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi, read-2016
I was a little nervous when starting this because romances really aren't my thing but OMG this is SO good. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting today. Loved the characters, was shipping them hard and JUST NEEDED TO KNOW IF THEY SURVIVE. That last part was genius and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
Калина Минчева
Добре, дори на сутринта все така нямам думи, с които да опиша тази книга. Стоях до 3 посред нощ да я дочитам. Това трябва да ви говори достатъчно. Но ако още се колебаете, ще ви кажа, че също така изхабих солидно количество кърпички, както и немалка доза гласни струни повтаряйки "защо", "не", "не може да бъде"... в случаите, когато изобщо можех да произведа членоразделни звуци. Страхотна, фантастична, тъжна - история, която се изживява, не просто се чете. И която те замисля - колкото и далеч сре ...more
Jan 04, 2017 rated it did not like it
Katie Khan tried too hard with hold back the stars. She tried to make it original and beautiful and meaningful, but because she tried SO damn HARD I just felt like it all fell flat. I didn't care about the characters. The asteroid field rubbish is scientifically implausible. The ending was confusing, but simultaneously predictable.

And then the romance... the book is based around it, but it just didn't feel real. This is meant to be an adult book, but it felt more YA than a lot of YA books! Well
Jul 27, 2017 rated it liked it
A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.

After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. W
Liz Barnsley
Gah! I hate love stories. Except this one. I loved this one.

I was hooked into the idea of reading this because its something slightly out of my comfort zone (the whole romance thing) and I like to try things I might normally pass by, but also had the whole lost in space running out of air vibe which seemed like it might be quite thrilling. Which it was. But mostly it was beautiful.

So Carys and Max they fall in love. Except in the world they live in you are not allowed to do that really. The worl
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I received a free copy from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book wasn't my cup of tea. It was extremely heavy on the romance, which to me felt very cheesy and cheesy romance just isn't my thing. Considering they were facing the possibility of death the entire time, I just thought they were way too focused on their romance and the actual problem was pushed into the background. Overall this book didn't have much to offer in a unique sort of way, it felt like a
Tussen de sterren is een bijzonder liefdesverhaal in outer space - al was het voor mij niet de romantiek die me zo van dit boek deed smullen. Wat mij betreft zat de kracht van het verhaal op aarde, ik las graag over de nieuwe ordening van de mensheid in Europia. De world building van deze toekomstige samenleving was erg indrukwekkend (het rouleren, de vovoides, de relatieregel). Heel graag zou ik meer lezen over dit universum! Het einde van het boek was overigens wel een beetje verwarrend.
Mijn c
I immediately fell in love with this book the moment I saw that cover. It is so pretty! (I need this on my shelf). But this book is not only beautiful from the outside but also from the inside.
Things I loved about Holding Back the Stars by Katie Khan
- When I read about the world the story took place in, I was so excited because it sounded so cool! The story takes place in the future, there has been a disastrous nuclear war and a new country has been formed, namely Europia. (It took me way too lo
I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Hold Back the Stars is a dystopian/sci-fi romance about Max and Carys - two travellers in their mid-twenties who fall in love in a world where coupling is frowned upon until a later age. The story shifts back and forth from the couple’s first meeting to a point where they are stuck in space together with no hope of survival and only 90 minutes to live.

If I had to describe this story, it would u
Lizzie (Littlehux) Huxley-Jones
In January, you must all go to your bookshops to get Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan.

My copy from Katie arrived one evening night and I just finished it in 24 hours, tear stained and overjoyed and in awe. Set in the future in utopian Europa, Carys and Max meet - she an astronaut in training, he an aspiring chef running his family's food store business. But the book starts much later, as they fall through space with only 90 minutes of oxygen remaining. Told in flashbacks and real time, Hold Ba
Apr 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOTE: I first published this on Speculative Chic.

I've never been interested in book clubs, where everyone reads the same thing at the same time like assigned homework. But in the case of Katie Khan's Hold Back the Stars, I definitely would recommend it to book groups. Having read it, I want to discuss spoilery things and ask questions!

This literary sci-fi tells the tale of Carys and Max, the supposed utopia they're from, and why they're stranded in space with only ninety minutes left of oxygen a
Annie ~ The Misstery
Sometimes, you need a book that is different from your usual genre. A book outside your comfort zone. And that is what Hold Back The Stars was for me. I’ve stated multiple times that I watch plenty of sci-fi films and I love them. However, when it comes to reading, sci-fi it’s not a genre that I find particularly appealing, maybe because I prefer to watch the story take place on a screen. Still, every now and then, there are some titles that catch my attention and Hold Back The Stars was one of ...more
Ann Hunnestad
Jan 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
I recieved this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I tried, I really did. I so badly wanted to like this book, but I barely made it through the first 50 pages without cringing. The writing style put me off, I felt no connection to the characters what so ever. This was a big dissapointment. One day, I might pick it up and try to read it again. That won't be anytime soon though.
4 Stars

Hold Back The Stars is completely unlike anything I've ever read before. I read a review pimping it out as "the new One Day" which drew my full attention, seeing as how far gone I was over that book many years ago. I barely register the comparison now that I've read this, but I still found myself fascinated and enthralled nonetheless.

Set in a Utopian future, the story follows the forbidden love between characters Max and Carys.

The story kicks off with a bang, opening with a harrowing sc
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
*This review contains spoilers*

This novel is the story of Carys and Max's relationship. The whole thing was very tender and sweet, the two of them were perfect for each other. The story is set in space but don't let this stop you even if you're not the biggest space fan. I mean, yes of course there's some talk about space, but it's not really the main focus of the book. The main focus are the two main characters and their love for each other.
There are definitely some plot twists that I did not
Joanne Freitas
Jul 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um romance bastante diferente do normal o que o torna especial. O livro remete para o passado e presente dando informações passadas que sustentam os dados do presente. O tema é super original sendo que a ação desenrola-se, quase toda, no espaço onde as personagens são confrontadas com vários finais e causas e consequências desses finais. No entanto, acabam só com um final, que torna a história especial.
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A European style romance about a couple of astronauts who get in a terrible accident. Stranded in space with only enough air for 90 minutes, it s possible for one of them to live. What do they do?

Pretty good. Like Gravity the movie probably should have been.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sassy Ovaries Boo...: March 2019 9 3 Mar 10, 2019 09:36PM  
The ending! 1 6 Sep 14, 2018 05:28AM  
  • Second Life (Life First #2)
  • The Dark Intercept (The Dark Intercept, #1)
  • Mars Rising (Saving Mars #6)
  • The Night of Wenceslas
  • Die Wormworld Saga: Die Reise beginnt
  • Peacemaker (Peacemaker, #1)
  • Rocco
  • Glass and Gardens: Solarpunk Summers
  • Girl Under Glass (Glass and Iron, #1)
  • Filipa de Lencastre
  • The Ghost Line
  • The Fly House
  • Los niños de la estrella amarilla
  • The Pioneer (The Pioneer, #1)
  • Um Amor em Tempos de Guerra
  • Dark World
  • Herland and Selected Stories
  • Death in Shangri-La (A Dotan Naor Thriller)
Katie Khan is a writer from London whose first novel, Hold Back the Stars, was published to great acclaim, translated into twenty-two languages, and is being adapted into a feature film starring John Boyega and Letitia Wright.

The Light Between Us is her second novel.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @katie_khan.
“First love can break you. But it can also save you.” 7 likes
“She won’t love again in the same unbridled way; she’ll never feel the sharp brightness of her own personality when he gazes upon her, when he draws a spotlight over her and she responds, fully illuminated.” 3 likes
More quotes…