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Teen SRC 2018 – Defy The Stars by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars is the first novel in Claudia Gray’s sci-fi Constellation series.

The novel follows two protagonists, Noemi Vidal and Abel Mansfield, switching perspectives with each chapter.

Noemi is a soldier from an earth-like planet called Genesis, at war against an Earth with nothing left to give, and a volunteer for a suicide mission, in hopes of keeping her best friend alive.

On the other hand, Abel is a futuristic machine, with a mix of artificial and organic material, who appears to progressively becomes more human with each chapter.

Romance is present, but the fact that it isn’t the focus of the story is part of what hooked me. There are no romantic intentions between the two characters until around page 400, which gives more time in the beginning to establish the character’s personalities and setting.

In Defy the Stars, Claudia Gray also takes an unorthodox stance on religions, portraying it in a neutral way, instead of portraying it as a positive or negative.

I found every character in this book to be compelling, instead of just the main characters, with idealists seeking to save humanity in their own ways, rebellious young scientists joining forces with the main duo, and two planetary wanderers seeking livelihoods across the abyss of space.

In conclusion, Defy the Stars is a wonderful book that I recommend to anyone into the sci-fi genre, even those not big on romance books, as it is much more than just a romance.

Teen SRC 2018 – Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E.Lockhart

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

“Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.”

Genuine Fraud is a psychological suspense novel, telling the story of a young woman who constantly reinvents herself, lying to the people around her, herself, and even the reader at some points.  The story begins with the protagonist, Jule, in the guise of “Imogen,” fleeing a resort when her cover is blown, and bringing the story back in time from there. Genuine Fraud’s intention is to have mysteries being solved one by one as the book progresses, ending with a sense of satisfaction when finally closing the book, but the execution isn’t perfect. I often found scenes that seemed redundant or unnecessary to the overall plot, and found myself tempted to skip ahead to find answers to the bigger questions. Even with its flaws, I still enjoyed the novel, feeling tension building up to the answers of mysteries haunting the reader from the first page, sympathy towards Jule in some of her darkest moments, and a sense of satisfaction, though slightly tainted by flaws, when finishing the final page. Overall, I would recommend Genuine Fraud for people who like mystery novels, however, don’t go into the book expecting an amazing, complex plot twist, as when not giving too much attention to its flaws, Genuine Fraud is an excellent novel, and well deserving of its upcoming film adaptation.

(There are numerous accusations of Genuine Fraud stealing several plot points from The Talented Mr.Ripley, but I decided that as a personal review, I would not go into this issue, but advise going into it with a grain of salt for originality.)