Book Review: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

Details

Title and Author: And All the Stars by Andrea K. Höst

Publisher: Self-published

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

Publication Date: September 30, 2012

Pages: 204

Source: Purchased, e-book

Kid-rating: Written for a Young Adult audience, this is definitely suitable for teens. One scene that would give me pause about letting my younger teens read, but then again, they are my babies.

Star Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

Come for the apocalypse.
Stay for cupcakes.
Die for love.

Madeleine Cost is working to become the youngest person ever to win the Archibald Prize for portraiture. Her elusive cousin Tyler is the perfect subject: androgynous, beautiful, and famous. All she needs to do is pin him down for the sittings.

None of her plans factored in the Spires: featureless, impossible, spearing into the hearts of cities across the world – and spraying clouds of sparkling dust into the wind.

Is it an alien invasion? Germ warfare? They are questions everyone on Earth would like answered, but Madeleine has a more immediate problem. At Ground Zero of the Sydney Spire, beneath the collapsed ruin of St James Station, she must make it to the surface before she can hope to find out if the world is ending.

My review

I do not give out 5 stars to all of the books I read, but after a really horrible day, when I thought about what to write about on my blog tonight, I thought that maybe I’d better go with something that made me happy, rather than something that would make me any crankier.

What a lead in. Yikes.

I loved Madeleine and her friends! I am so glad I took a chance on reading this. I am a little leery of self-published books, not that a traditionally published book is guaranteed to be good, but at least it goes through a few more stages than self-published books might…

No worries, here though. This is a well-written (i.e. good grammar! lovely, clear sentences!), interesting story, that kept me up nice and late when I should have been sleeping. Um, yeah, like now, when I’m writing this review and ought to be in bed…

I’m going to avoid writing too much, so I don’t inadvertently spoil anything. The story is unusual, and deserves to be discovered as you read, not in a spoiler.

One small quibble is that the cast was overly large for me: I had a bit of trouble keeping track of some of the characters, they seemed to overlap in my mind a bit. Most of them, though, are fleshed out enough to be interesting, and I really loved the fact that the group was very diverse. And the diversity didn’t feel forced (i.e. I didn’t feel like the author was trying to check off certain ethnic and sexual orientation categories on a list).

I very much want to visit Australia some day, so it was especially fun to read something set in Sydney. A lot of the dystopian /post-apocalyptic fiction I’ve read lately has “felt” US-centric, so reading something set somewhere that was completely foreign to me was a nice change. It makes me want to go there even more than I did before!

And of course, this is not post-apocalyptic: this is happening during the apocalypse itself. I found myself sitting back several times thinking about how much I agreed with the author about how certain things would probably go if an actual apocalyptic event took place.

Bottom line: highly recommended if you are looking for a fast-paced, unique adventure with some nice humor (humour?) and a sweet (and well-done) romance.