Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Under a Million Stars
Author: Rita Branches
Pages: Ebook; 263
Release Date: August 8, 2016
Source: YA Bound Book Tours
Content Screening: Mild Sexual Situations
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who love heart-rending stories, told from dual points of view.
Can a beating heart bleed from the shattered pieces?
Her heart cracked when her best friend walked away; it completely shattered when she lost her family in a tragic accident.
Now orphaned at seventeen, Charlotte Peterson is forced to live with her former best friend, Jacob Parker. Charlie, a talented pianist, desperately wants their loving friendship back, but something is holding Jake back. The more she spirals into the darkness of depression, the more she needs him.
Jacob vowed to stay away from her—no matter how much he still loved her. Armed with secrets that would have destroyed both of their families, he chose to end their friendship and walk away, which nearly killed him. As he watches the girl he once knew begin to fade away, however, he realizes that their relationship is more important than the truth he's hiding.
Now it's up to Jacob to put the pieces of Charlie's broken heart back together—even if it means revealing the secrets he so desperately wants to protect her from.
Will Jacob find a way to bring back the carefree, talented girl he once knew, or is it too late for both of them?
Can we please all just take a minute to gush over the stunning cover that envelops Under A Million Stars? I can't deny that I had a massive case of cover lust when I first set eyes upon it. What really caught my eye though was that this was a story about friends who had grown apart. About a secret, something so massive, that it tore what was supposed to be a forever friendship into two halves. I'm definitely addicted to these kinds of stories. I always find myself eagerly awaiting the fix, and the happily ever after.
I should start with the fact that both Charlotte and Jacob aren't the easiest characters to love, especially at first. They grew on me as I read though, so definitely don't give up too quickly. Charlotte is a talented pianist, who has recently lost her family in a car accident. As such, she's about as withdrawn and self pitying as you might expect. It's hard not to grant her a bit of slack, since she's just had her whole world turned upside down. Jacob, on the other hand, was a lot harder to forgive for the first half of the book. As Charlotte's former best friend, you'd expect that he'd be the one to be there for her in her time of need. Instead, he spends a good portion of beginning of this story treating her like dirt. It was maddening. I knew that it was building up to something else, but it didn't make me like Jacob any more. In fact, it took me until the last quarter of the book to even enjoy his character.
In all fairness to the plot though, which is rather interesting, that kind of tension needed to be built. Although I wish it had been done a bit more organically, it was wonderful to slowly uncover why these two had fallen so far apart. I saw a girl who was struggling with finding her place in a world that didn't contain her family. I saw a boy who didn't know who he was without his best friend, but didn't know how to put all of that back together. In truth, you could actually see the ice between these two slowly start to melt and that, above all else, was what endeared me to them. I'm a sucker for repaired relationships, especially when they're so important to both parties.
There were definitely a lot of scenes in this book that had me tearing up. It deals a lot with depression, with guilt over the loss of family members, and with the secrets that families manage to keep from one another. I was also giddy over the fact that Jacob didn't once allow Charlotte to do anything she'd regret, while she was depressed. Let's be honest, chivalrous guys like that are few and far between in books. That's always a win for me.
So, final verdict? I'd say that this book will probably genuinely appeal to fans of contemporary fiction that is full of emotional turmoil. I had a little trouble sinking in at first, but by the mid point I was more than happy to continue on. I'd give Under A Million Stars a solid three star rating.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.