Young Adult Book Review: Under Different Stars by Amy A. Bartol
Winner of four 2014 UtopYA Awards, including Best Book of the Year and Best Sci-Fi Book of the Year.
Kricket Hollowell never wished upon stars. She was too busy hiding in plain sight, eluding Chicago’s foster care system. As her eighteenth birthday approaches, she now eagerly anticipates the day she’ll stop running and finally find her place in the world.
That day comes when she meets a young Etharian soldier named Trey Allairis, who has been charged with coming to Earth to find Kricket and transport her to her true home. As danger draws close, he must protect her until she can wield the powers she cannot use on Earth…and he soon realizes that counting a galaxy of stars would be easier than losing this extraordinary girl.
Kyon Ensin knows the powerful depths of Kricket’s gifts—gifts he’ll control when he takes her for his tribe and leads the forces that will claim Ethar and destroy his enemies, starting with Trey Allairis. Now, Kricket faces the most difficult choice of her life: whether to wage a battle for survival, or a fight for love.
Under Different Stars gave me the right combination of science fiction, action and sweet romance all wrapped-up in a dreamy cover. This is a story that is very easy to simply fall into, as the writing quickly whisks the reader to the far off alien world of Ethar.
Kricket has been dealt some hard knocks and is on the run from the foster care system until she reaches eighteen. Constantly on the move, she rarely makes friends and trusting even less. When two very different guys show up, each trying to convince her that she is a part of something bigger, that she has family from another galaxy and both want to help her return, she will have to decide whether to keep running or choose whom to trust.
Kricket is at once brave, yet vulnerable too. Her fearlessness shines through as she is thrust from our world to that of Ethar, using her wits to survive and outmaneuver those who want to possess her for unique abilities and heritage. This is a heroine who cries when it is all too much, yet picks herself up and dust herself off ready to take on the world again. Her spunky personality easily won me over.
Trey is all male, a military leader sent to protect and bring back Kricket to her home world. You can easily sense the inner turmoil Trey is going through, struggling to remain distant as he fights the emotional pull he feels towards Kricket. I laughed more than once and sympathized with him as it became obvious he wanted to strangle Kricket as much as he wanted to *kiss* her senseless. There's nothing quite as exciting as a slow-build of chemistry between two characters, and Trey and Kricket have that and more.
There's some great camaraderie and group dynamics between Commander Trey and his fellow officers Jax and Wayren. These guys have formed a brotherhood, and it was easy to see their bond with plenty of banter and "guy-teasing" that just makes you love their friendship that much more.
As far as world-building, there is some interesting exploring and action done on Ethar, and touch of political intrigue between rival tribes and ruling house that I enjoyed. The reasons why Kricket is sought after and how her abilities are needed by each of the rivalry tribes is explained well, without weighing down the story into too much detail.
The writing is as gorgeous as the cover, and the story ended up captivating me throughout. I'm eager for the next installment as the adventure continues for Kricket and the exciting world of Ethar.
My Rating: 4 stars. I really liked it!
PLEASE NOTE: A copy of this book was provided by 47North in exchange for my fair and honest review. Thank you 47North for the review opportunity!