Sunday, November 10, 2019

When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.


DNF at 45%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really liked the concept for When the Stars Lead to You, but felt like the story was poorly executed. Devon is an eighteen-year-old that wants to be an astrophysicist, but her voice was very juvenile (unless she was talking about space and the stars). I sometimes forgot she was in her senior year of high school, and mentally pictured her as a fourteen-year-old obsessively in love.

When I say obsessively, I'm not exaggerating. Devon and Ashton's relationship was instantaneous and heavy. They fell in love literally at first sight, and their relationship only got more intense the longer it continued. I just cannot imagine Devon sitting on a porch for an entire day and night just because he ghosted her on their last day at the beach together. Their relationship was suffocating and unhealthy. Yes, teenagers fall in love hard and fast, but this felt different. 

I also dislike it when a character throws everything away for their love interest. College and astrophysics have been Devon's dream for years, but she starts slipping as things heat up with Ashton for a second time. He's dealing with depression and family issues, so his presence is very time-consuming and emotionally draining for Devon. She doesn't know how to help him, but tries to be understanding and available. It just felt like she was too easily derailed from her lifelong plans and aspirations.

We go from insta-love, to second-chance-insta-love, to heavy and very intense, to all-consuming love. Questions like, "Do you love me?" started popping up pretty early on, and even discussions about marriage. Marriage. "I told my cousin I was going to marry you someday." (Ashton said this the first time he saw her on the beach.) "I still think about marrying you someday." (Asthon said this shortly after they reconnected over a year later, even though he'd previously been dating someone else.) "I feel like if anyone could take you away from me, it's her." (Devon's feelings on love and marriage with Ashton.) I hate that Deveon felt so insecure after giving her heart to him and having him leave her without a word. I undersatnd her feelings, but her willingness to fall back down the rabbit hole with him was disconcerting. 

It really did feel like an obsessive relationship -- on both sides -- that I had trouble rallying behind. I wish there had been more secondary characters to offer their perspectives and opinions, but Blair only warns Devon vaguely about her happiness. She also threatens Ashton, but there wasn't much fire behind it. It felt like Devon and Ashton were in their own little bubble, which felt unrealistic and didn't offer much variety to the story. I also dislike it when a book does more telling than showing, which I think added a lot of unnecessary dialogue. 

Their accidental run-in a year later didn't feel realistic either. They spent an entire summer together on the beach and never discussed their hometowns or schools? Yes, they talked about college, but never about where they went to high school? They mentioned maintaining a relationship once the summer was over, but didn't talk about how that would work? Where they would each be living? Ashton was very cagey during some of their conversations, which might be why that didn't come up, but it still felt off. 

I did like the biracial representation, and how the author showed Devon dealing with other people's microaggressions throughout her life. Offhanded comments that are said one way and perceived another -- very well done. The discussions about depression and suicidal ideations was well-represented as well. The author's note at the end is definitely worth reading, and lets the reader know this was an #ownvoices story. 

Overall, I enjoyed certain aspects of When the Stars Lead to You, but after skimming through to the end, I know that quitting when I did was the right call for me. A lot of other people really resonated with this story, so check out other reviews before making a final decision! 

8 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you didn't like it more.

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    1. No worries! A lot of other people really loved it, but it was too insta-everything for me.

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  2. Yeah. I'm not a fan of that either. So I probably would've DNF'd this one as well.

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    1. I thought it was a unique concept (you don't often see depression as a main focus in a book), but there were other aspects that lessened my overall enjoyment of the book.

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  3. Ugh - I'm sorry that you didn't like it too. I'm at the point in my reading life where it feels like a waste of time to attempt to read something that I really don't like. :(

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    1. I've been that way for a few years now! I have to really be into a book to keep going. Why keep reading something if I'm not enjoying it? There are sooo many books out there to try!

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  4. I liked it, and it was not only OwnVoices biracial rep, but also, OwnVoices mental health rep. I thought Davis did a good job capturing those feelings once experiences, when loving someone who suffers from depression

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    1. Yes! I think the author's personal experiences really enhanced the story. I don't know what it's like to suffer from depression, but I do know what it's like to love someone who does. I think of it like this... there sitting in a boat in the middle of a lake, and they don't have any paddles. I'm standing on the shore with no boat and two useless paddles. They feel so far away and unreachable, but all I want to do is help.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless