**I received an ARC of Under Different Stars in exchange for an honest review**
Okay, I need to mention this before I begin-- This was my first dystopian novel. I know, I know, that's crazy, right? But here's the thing-- they made me super nervous. Despite what I know to be true about the genre, I always imagine creepy, horrible, post-apocalyptic mayhem when I think about dystopian books, and the whole idea of it gave me the shivers. For whatever reason, I had this irrational fear-- yes, I know it was silly-- and I really didn't think it was for me. I also want to put out there that I am a HUGE Amy Bartol fan. I'm obsessed with her Premoniton Series and cannot get enough of her writing. So when I first heard about Under Different Stars, I thought I'm going to do it... Yep, what the heck, I'm doing it! I threw that ridiculous fear aside and jumped head first into this one. And I am SO glad that I did. This book is fan-freaking-tastic. Obviously I can't speak of how it compares to other books in this genre, because I have absolutely no clue, but I can tell you how much I loved it, how amazing the writing and the characters were, and how much I'm dying for more in this series already.
The heroine in this novel, Kricket, is a seventeen year old girl who ditched social services and the foster care system, and, with the support of a few close friends, is barely scarping by, counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can start to finally build a life for herself. She's had it really rough and I definitely felt for her. Then, one day, her world is turned upside down when she has a frightening run-in with not one, but two groups of men who have plans of their own for her. Suddenly she's thrust into an entirely different world, where everyone wants something from her, and few people can be trusted.
It seemed to me at times that Kricket accepted all of this craziness a bit too easily. I had to keep reminding myself that she always knew (or felt) that she was different, and that perhaps it wasn't much of a surprise to find out that this was true. She's also a girl who is used to change, used to adapting, so I suppose it was just in her character to "go with the flow" and make the best of any situation. I have to say I loved Kricket. Amy really knows how to write a strong female lead and Kricket was definitely that. She's smart, she's tough, she's feisty, and she's resilient. To me, she's the type of character that you find yourself wanting to be friends with.
After reading the synopsis, I thought oh, here we go again! because Amy Bartol has a way of making me fall head over heels for every. Single. Man in her books. Even the most awful of men. So I was worried (and maybe just a little excited). In true Amy fashion, there are plenty of fantastic male characters to go around and I adored all of them. Well... most of them. Two of my favorites were some supporting characters, but they both played huge roles in this book-- Jax and Kyon. They're both funny, charming, and super protective of their girl-- I. Loved. Them. They definitely bring a little levity to some nerve-wracking scenes in this book and added a lot to the story, I think.
Now let's talk about Trey. *dreamy sigh* Trey... A fellow blogger (Gabi Daniels) said to me "I loved Trey. My favorite alien (Daemon Black) has been replaced!" and I thought ...come again? Anyone who knows me knows that Daemon is my #1 and no one can replace him in my heart. So there was no way-- No. Possible. Way. that Trey, as wonderful as he seemed, could even come close to topping Daemon's perfection, right?
While I hold a special place in my heart for that sexy alien, Trey came pretty close to shoving him out of the way. But I think I'll make room for them both ;) He was wonderful. Seriously. He threw out that arrogant, pushy, over protective vibe quite a few times... but who am I kidding? That probably made him even more appealing to me. I love how this author can write fairly clean YA and still give us some ridiculously hot moments. I'll take as many hot moments with Trey as I can get. The secret glances, the tension, the yearning... I ate it up. And I need more.
The world that Amy Bartol creates in this novel is completely captivating. The writing is so descriptive that I sometimes forgot I was even reading a book. Being my first dystopian novel, I really didn't know exactly what to expect, but I was blown away. It was fascinating, exciting, and so very impossible to put down. Under Different Stars is full of incredible characters and nail-biting action. It will transport you into a brand new world that will leave you completely enraptured and you won't want to leave.
Water swirls around me as I open my eyes. I shiver, realizing I’m in Trey’s arms. He’s standing chest deep in crystal blue water with Wayra pacing on the bank only steps away. Clutching Trey closer to me, my cheek remains on his
shoulder. Watching a bead of water slip down his powerful neck, I hear Jax say, She’s waking up.”
Trey, cupping his hand in the water, pours some of it over my hair. It drips down the sides of my face, cooling me. “Let’s get her out. I’ll get the visor and we can check her vitals.”
As Trey wades out of the pond with me in his arms, I try to lift my head from his shoulder. It makes me dizzy so I lay it back. It’s then I notice that I’m only in my bra and underwear. A blush creeps into my cheeks as I hug Trey tighter to me. Wayra meets us on the bank, draping a blanket over us. Trey sits down with me on his lap. He leans against a tree trunk holding me securely to his chest. Peeking at his face, he seems angry as he smoothes my hair back from my face.
Hurrying over with the visor that looks like grandma goggles, Trey sets them on my eyes. Everything is green as I gaze around at the water in front of us. Flashing green lights and readouts occupy the peripherals of the glasses,
but the information is running faster than I can possibly read it.
“Ho!” Jax exclaims next to me.
Immediately, Trey’s arms tighten on me as he barks out, “What? How bad is it?”
“Naw, it’s not bad…it’s just…Kricket…” Jax breathes, like he’s in awe.
“Look at this brain activity…it’s massive.”
“What do you mean?” Trey asks with relief in his tone.
Jax grins. “She’s lighting everything up. Look at her frontal lobe…it’s off the charts.”
“What does that mean? Is she healthy?” Trey growls.
Jax nods enthusiastically. “She’s healthy! We didn’t fry her with heat stroke, that’s for sure. Or, if we did, she’s got more brain activity than anyone I’ve ever seen to compensate for it,” he replies, sounding seriously geeked about it.
“Those things aren’t broken, are they?” Trey asks speculatively.
“No…here.” Jax pulls them off my face. “Wayra, come here.”
Wayra walks over and Jax puts the glasses on his eyes. “See! He’s normal, well, normal for him. See how it doesn’t light up in these areas?” he points out to Trey.
“Now watch this,” he says, taking the glasses off of Wayra, he places them back on my face. “See? It’s like Christmas in Chicago with all those lights,” Jax says proudly.
“So that means she’s smart?”
Jax beams. “Yeah, she’s smart! She’s brilliant! There’s no telling what she can do.”
“If she’s so smart, why did she run until she almost popped? Why didn’t she just tell us she needed to rest?” Wayra asks derisively.
“Personality flaw,” Trey replies. “She’s going to show us that she’s not weak.”
“She’s sitting right here,” I murmur, pulling the glasses off my face and handing them to Jax.
● 1st place: KINDLE FIRE + ebook of Under Different Stars
● 2nd place: Kindle Cover + $50 Amazon Gift Card
● 3rd place: $50 Amazon Gift Card
● Giveaway administered by Amy A. Bartol
● Winners will be notified via email and if winner does not respond within 5 days another winner will be selected
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I live in Michigan with my husband and our two sons. My family is very supportive of my writing. When I’m writing, they often bring me the take-out menu so that I can call and order them dinner. They listen patiently when I talk about my characters like they’re real. They rarely roll their eyes when I tell them I’ll only be a second while I finish writing a chapter…and then they take off their coats. They ask me how the story is going when I surface after living for hours in a world of my own making. They have learned to accept my “writing uniform” consisting of a slightly unflattering pink fleece jacket, t-shirt, and black yoga pants. And they smile at my nerdy bookishness whenever I try to explain urban fantasy to them. In short, they get me, so they are perfect and I am blessed.
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