When the universe's most luxurious spaceliner mysteriously falls out of hyperspace and crash-lands on an alien planet, sixteen-year-old heiress Lilac LaRoux and eighteen-year-old war hero Tarver Merendson are the sole survivors. Certain that help, or at least a wreckage crew, is on the way, Tarver wants to leave the safety of their escape pod to trek across unknown territory to the crash site of the doomed ship. With the inappropriately dressed but surprisingly resilient Lilac in tow, he starts the journey to find the situation stranger and more dangerous than he expected: the terraformed planet is oddly abandoned, the wreckage is miles away on the other side of a mountain pass, and Lilac is starting to hear voices and hallucinate. Lilac, meanwhile, wants to prove herself more than just a damsel in distress, and she uncovers a shocking secret that might explain her visions, the planet's emptiness, and even the ship's demise. With shades of Titanic alongside bits of Robinson Crusoe, this engaging read offers a compelling survival story and science fiction adventure with a heavy dose of romance. Narration in alternating points of view gives insight into Tarver and Lilac's miscommunications while allowing readers to revel in the slow burn of their growing attraction. At the same time, brief snippets of Tarver's eventual debrief provide evocative hints about the characters' futures but manage not to spoil any of the plot's twists or surprises. As class-line-crossing lovers and deserted-island stories go, no new ground is being broken here, but the novel brings together a strong mix of familiar tropes and popular storylines for a thoroughly entertaining result. Loose ends and unanswered questions, despite an otherwise satisfying conclusion, leave the door open for expected sequels. AM BCCB"
Overdone characterizations threaten to overwhelm an exciting outer-space adventure. When the richest girl in the galaxy and a burned-out war hero from lowly beginnings are the only survivors of a spaceship crash that kills 50,000 people, they grudgingly cooperate to survive. Their escape pod lands far from the ship, so Lilac and Tarver trek through cold and rain to reach the main crash site. This unknown planet has been terraformed, but frighteningly, there are no colonists-or anyone else. When they reach it, the ship's a hazardous tomb of rotting bodies. The jam-packed plot incorporates telepathy, energy-matter conversion, an unknown life form, an explosion, two cave-ins and a temporary death. Lilac and Tarver alternate first-person narration; ratcheting up the suspense are single-page chapters in which an unknown authority interrogates Tarver. Less successful is the seemingly endless (and textually forced) clashing between the protagonists. He's bitter and occasionally rough (in the throes of a fever, he hits her); she's an entitled heiress whose pale, white skin warrants mention no matter who's narrating. It's a thin, annoying line between love and hate (guess which wins) that makes the adventure elements vie for attention. Tipping between science fiction and fantasy, this series opener will catch readers who enjoy melodramatic sparring and those who can look past it; for outer-space thrills with moral complexity, see Beth Revis' Across the Universe series. (Science fiction. 13 & up) Kirkus"
As the passengers and crew of the Icarus cruise through hyperspace, spoiled and aloof rich girl Lilac LaRoux drops a glove before war hero Major Tarver Merendsen only to rebuff him later. Yet during a horrifying accident, Lilac and Tarver escape the death-spiraling Icarus, eventually finding themselves stranded on a strange, terraformed yet abandoned planet. Their prickly relationship continues because both realize they have no future together even if they are rescued: Lilac is the daughter of the universe's richest man, while Tarver is a lowly soldier. As they struggle to save their lives and maintain their sanity, despite disturbing whispers and strange appearances and disappearances of things lost and treasured, the dire circumstances break down the barriers between them. Though Kaufman and Spooner use the pair's survival in an alien environment to propel the narrative, These Broken Stars is at its heart a love story. Voiced in alternate chapters, Lilac and Tarver are characters of depth, complexity, and strength, young people who alternately elicit the reader's admiration, frustration, and sympathy. While the book is the first of a promised trilogy, it stands on its own as a testament to love, loyalty, courage, and the power of good over dystopian greed and perversity. - Frances Bradburn Booklist"
5Q 4P J S Major Tarver Merendsen is a war hero-young, handsome, and just dangerous enough to send all of the rich socialites on board the Icarus into a tizzy. All except one: Lilac Laroux is the only daughter of the richest man in the galaxy, and with her father's guards watching her every move, she cannot afford to let her guard down. If there is one thing she is good at, it is cutting men down to size, especially boys from the lower classes who should know better than to aim for the attentions of the richest girl in the galaxy. When tragedy warrants an emergency evacuation, it is fate that brings the two together. It is too bad that Lilac is the last person with whom Tarver would want to be stuck, but when their escape pod lands on an abandoned planet, curses become blessings as each hardship brings the two closer. As survival instincts kick in and their old life falls away, they build a bond that seems to be able to overcome death itself, but can it survive her father's expectations? Maybe, but her father might be the least of their worries as the secrets of the planet are revealed and soon they know too much. Kaufman and Spooner couple an epic romance with dazzling science fiction in a tale that will appeal to lovers of both genres. This is a must-read, though some sexual situations may be cause for a second glance when considering younger readers.-Shanna Miles. VOYA"
On the surface, this trilogy opener is a fairly standard opposites-attract romantic adventure, when a spoiled socialite and a seasoned soldier are stranded on a mysterious planet after their luxury spaceliner malfunctions and crashes. Major Tarver Merendsen tries to protect Lilac LaRoux, "the richest girl in the galaxy," as they journey across an inhospitable wilderness in search of rescue. Though their personalities clash and their social status separates them, they develop feelings for one another. But the further they travel, the more questions they find regarding their new home. Strange visions and apparitions give the story a chilling edge, and a late revelation elevates these developments into entirely new territory. In a collaboration that, at times, evokes Lost, Titanic, and Romancing the Stone, Spooner (Skylark) and newcomer Kaufman do an excellent job of keeping their story from falling into clich d romantic territory. Although the constant arguing between Tarver and Lilac and their internal angst can be tiring, the external conflicts and underlying mysteries will keep readers guessing (and turning the pages). Ages 12 up. PW"
Gr 7 Up First-time author Kaufman and coauthor Spooner begin their science-fiction romance in familiar territory and then chart a course that goes to new heights. Eighteen-year-old Major Tarver Merendsen is a decorated hero traveling on the luxury starliner Icarus. Sixteen-year-old Lilac LaRoux is the daughter of the galaxy's richest man, owner of the Icarus, and terraformer of numerous planets. Everything comes crashing down when an unknown force ejects the starliner from hyperspace and sends them into the gravity well of a planet. Tarver is able to get them aboard an escape pod but it is, surprisingly, Lilac who is able to hotwire the pod's malfunctioning electronics to allow it to blast free of the falling ship. They survive the descent but each feels obligated to treat the other harshly Lilac to shield Tarver from the potential wrath of her father and Tarver to urge the pampered princess to safety. As they come to rely upon one another during their journey across the unfamiliar planet, they can no longer deny their feelings for one another. When Lilac begins hearing whispers and seeing visions, she comes to believe that there is other sentient life on the planet. Then she dies, but neither she nor the story ends there. The authors begin with star-crossed lovers and a crash-landing survival story but add excitingly original material to these tropes to create a wonderful tale that should appeal to both teen and adult readers. Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids SLJ"