Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan

Hold Back The Stars

A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the Europea...

Title:Hold Back The Stars
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0857524003
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:304 pages

Hold Back The Stars Reviews

  • Crini

    I was a little nervous when starting this because romances really aren't my thing but OMG this is SO good. I read almost the whole thing in one sitting today. Loved the characters, was shipping them hard and JUST NEEDED TO KNOW IF THEY SURVIVE. That last part was genius and heart-wrenchingly beautiful.

  • Maya

    What the heck did I just read?!!! This story is so complex and strange and just plays tricks on my mind. And what's up with the ending, or should I say endings? I'm just so confused right now. This is definitely a read that will mess you up and make you wonder about your own life and the concept of love and sacrifice. The plot is so unique. It all takes place in space but the main characters skip back and forth between their real situation and memory

    What the heck did I just read?!!! This story is so complex and strange and just plays tricks on my mind. And what's up with the ending, or should I say endings? I'm just so confused right now. This is definitely a read that will mess you up and make you wonder about your own life and the concept of love and sacrifice. The plot is so unique. It all takes place in space but the main characters skip back and forth between their real situation and memory line. This is such a heart breaking story and at times it's almost a tragedy. We get to see in their memories how they met and how their relationship evolved. They had so much pain but also such strong love for each other and in their strange world that's really something to be treasured. At the beginning of he story I found it hard to imagine the world they live in and what caused the earth to become so divided. It reminded me a bit of

    and how that world looks like. In the end I'm still not sure how to feel about this book. At times I loved it but there were also times where I just didn't know what to feel. I think the worst was the time where they broke up and what happened after that. Just so sad.

    All in all, I think you should give this story a chance. It's an unusual one and it might surprise you.

  • Diana

    I am sorry but no. I thought this book was gonna be more science fiction and less romance, and man... was I disappointed...

    The structure of the book moves between their present moment (dying floating on space, with no way to return to their ship and with oxigen shortage) and the story of how they met each other and how their story together moved from here to the moment they are in at present.

    I just couldn' care for the characters, and the only part that really atracted me to the lecture was the

    I am sorry but no. I thought this book was gonna be more science fiction and less romance, and man... was I disappointed...

    The structure of the book moves between their present moment (dying floating on space, with no way to return to their ship and with oxigen shortage) and the story of how they met each other and how their story together moved from here to the moment they are in at present.

    I just couldn' care for the characters, and the only part that really atracted me to the lecture was the stranded-in-space part.

  • Joanna Park

    Wow what a beautiful book! Beautiful, haunting and really unusual.

    Stranded in space with only 90 minutes of air left and no help in sight, Cerys & Max have a chance to reflect on their relationship and the events that have led them here. In a world where love is forbidden, Cerys & Max broke the rules when they fell in love. Facing fierce opposition from friends and family the pair decide they can't live without each other and decide to fight for their right to love. But can they really

    Wow what a beautiful book! Beautiful, haunting and really unusual.

    Stranded in space with only 90 minutes of air left and no help in sight, Cerys & Max have a chance to reflect on their relationship and the events that have led them here. In a world where love is forbidden, Cerys & Max broke the rules when they fell in love. Facing fierce opposition from friends and family the pair decide they can't live without each other and decide to fight for their right to love. But can they really help change the rules and convince the council of the importance of love?

    Firstly this isn't just a love story so don't be put off by the fact that love is a central theme to this book. It's setting and underlying themes make this book part science fiction, dystopian and thriller.

    The setting of Europia, Europe in the future, was fascinating to read about. I liked that it wasn't all doom and gloom like a lot of dystopian novels I have read. There was some resemblance to the life we know now which helped to add a little sinister edge to the story as it made it much more real. Also adding to the sinister feel was that love is forbidden. Initially I thought this was just in relation to couples but I think it extended to families too which lead to some quite poignant and heart breaking parts in the book. Being a mother myself I can't fathom a world were parents wouldn't hug children and families didn't live together. This world contrasts beautifully with the love story that develops between Max & Cerys which is very realistic and never seems forced. Their story isn't perfect they do hit a few bumps along the way which is of course true innormal relationships. The main characters, Max & Cerys, are really well developed and realistic characters with lots of flaws. I didn't really like them at the beginning but I found I really warmed to them as the story developed.

    The use of the time remaining as the chapter headings helps add to the tension which gradually increases as the time counts down. The fear and hopelessness Cerys and Max feel is almost tangible. I felt myself holding my breath and reading faster and faster as the book progressed as I needed to know what happens next. A few twists towards the end keeps you on your toes and you aren't really sure until the end which ways things are going to go.

    The ending is so beautiful and poignant a really good way to end this book. I liked that the author didn't choose an easy and obvious ending and instead went for a hard hitting one. I found I was tearing up at the end and I never cry at books.

    I would recommend this book to everyone as I think the mismatch of genres means there is something for everyone here. If you don't believe me pick it up and give it a try I'm sure you'll be hooked.

    Thank you to Sophie Christopher and Transworld publishers for giving me an ARC of this book.

  • Emer

    Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.

    They are alone together. Drifting in space.

    Ninety minutes to stay alive.

    Ninety minutes to figure out how to rescue the themselves.

    Ninety minutes to reflect on the decisions that brought them to this point.

    Ninety minutes to decide if love is indeed all you need.

    This book is set in a future version of our world where the USA and the Middle East have been decimated and Europe has become a utopian society called Europia. Citizens of Europia don't co

    Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left.

    They are alone together. Drifting in space.

    Ninety minutes to stay alive.

    Ninety minutes to figure out how to rescue the themselves.

    Ninety minutes to reflect on the decisions that brought them to this point.

    Ninety minutes to decide if love is indeed all you need.

    This book is set in a future version of our world where the USA and the Middle East have been decimated and Europe has become a utopian society called Europia. Citizens of Europia don't come from anywhere anymore. Borders and cultural identities have been eroded and people move constantly. Living in one particular place for an extended period of time no longer occurs instead people move to a new location each 'rotation'. Citizens no longer follow religions but either choose to have faith or no faith. And most importantly for twenty-somethings Carys and Max, there is a Couples Rule which has been put in place to prevent young people from coupling up in their twenties. Long term relationships are only allowable later in their thirties. So what do you do when you meet "the one" before science and law says you are supposed to meet?

    I was really entertained by this! It was an interesting take on the time old classic of boy meets girl and can their love survive against the odds. There was just the right amount of world building in the background to make this feel futuristic. Admittedly it required the reader to take a few leaps of faith regarding the convenient veracity of certain truths but on the whole I very much enjoyed the sci-fi edge to this story.

    I enjoyed the way the novel interspersed Carys and Max's ninety minute countdown with flash backs recalling how they met, how their relationship developed etc. It was very nicely done and served to make this quite a poignant look at a young romantic relationship. There were however some lovely moments of humour too and on the whole the storyline exuded a warmth that truly made me care about the outcome of the plot.

    I liked both of the main characters although I felt that Carys' personality was a little better developed than Max's. I would maybe have liked a little more information and background detail for their friends and family whenever they were included in the flashbacks. However, it could be argued that additional detail would have slowed down the pacing of this novel and for me, the pacing was pretty much perfect. Putting the main couple front and centre at all times with the focus on their relationship was something I enjoyed because this felt like a very fresh love story. I wasn't bored for one second.

    This was a book that I greedily raced through and was very much a page turner. An easy read but one that had a lot to say between the lines.

    A very positive

  • Sarah (Starry Night Reader)

    Carys and Max are stranded in space with minutes ticking away on their oxygen as they float further and further from their ship. But rather than finding a solution, they waste too many precious minutes on flashbacks and reflections of their tumultuous history... which was irritating and inappropriate. Hello? You have 90 minutes left and you're thinking about how you first met, had that breakup, ect? Maybe you should be trying to find a way to live?! I wanted the characters to be proactive and fi

    Carys and Max are stranded in space with minutes ticking away on their oxygen as they float further and further from their ship. But rather than finding a solution, they waste too many precious minutes on flashbacks and reflections of their tumultuous history... which was irritating and inappropriate. Hello? You have 90 minutes left and you're thinking about how you first met, had that breakup, ect? Maybe you should be trying to find a way to live?! I wanted the characters to be proactive and find a way out of their predicament, but instead they were both very contemplative.

    This book tries to be two things at once- romance and science fiction. Unfortunately, the romance aspect overpowered everything so much that the worldbuilding couldn't be taken seriously. This story is set in space and in an utopian society on earth, but it felt forced or simply used as a backdrop for the romance because the story needed a setting and in space was more interesting than... not in space? The characters don't have enough interaction with their environment for it to be compelling or relevant, and I got the impression they were really inexperienced re: space which had me wondering how they ever got as far as they did.

    As for the romance itself, it was okay. Carys and Max have a volatile relationship compounded by the strict rules of their utopian society that don't allow people under 35 to couple (sounds more dystopian than utopian to me, to be honest). The idea is that by promoting individualism, young people will stay focused and contribute more to society until they're ready to settle down. This rule is what drives a lot of the conflict in the story. Carys and Max start to question the rules of their society, convinced that their love is real love that can overcome difficulties despite society telling them they're too young (they're in their mid twenties). I found this part of the story to be a bit implausible (how can a society expect twenty-somethings to not fall in love?) and again had me questioning the feeble worldbuilding.

    Overall, I'd probably still recommend as a light read. If you're a romance fan, you'll probably like this. It doesn't delve deep into the science fiction, making it an easy read that packs an emotional punch at the end. I liked the ending... It wasn't what I was expecting.

  • Britta Böhler

    Annoying gender-stereotypes aren't any less annoying (or stereotypical) if they happen in space.

  • Renee (itsbooktalk.com)

    This is a 3 to 3.5 star read for me, I really had a hard time deciding

    How about that cover? I was immediately drawn to it as well as the title and then when I read the blurb and saw it's being compared to One Day, one of my very favorite reads, I knew I'd have to hit the request button on Netgalley. I thought this would be a good "out of my comfort zone pick," and in some ways it was.

    The beginning of the story pulled me in right away when we are thrust into space with Carys and Max after they've

    This is a 3 to 3.5 star read for me, I really had a hard time deciding

    How about that cover? I was immediately drawn to it as well as the title and then when I read the blurb and saw it's being compared to One Day, one of my very favorite reads, I knew I'd have to hit the request button on Netgalley. I thought this would be a good "out of my comfort zone pick," and in some ways it was.

    The beginning of the story pulled me in right away when we are thrust into space with Carys and Max after they've gotten separated from their ship and soon discover they only have 90 min of oxygen left. What a perfect way to start this story because I was glued to the pages, fascinated by the details of space as well as their attempts to find a way back to the ship.

    The novel is structured in such a way that we are then taken back in time, via Carys and Max's flashbacks, to the beginning of their relationship in futuristic Europia which is a utopian society that exists after the destruction of the United States and the Middle East following a nuclear war. I was definitely intrigued by the world building in this society where couples had to follow the Couples Rule meaning they were forbidden to have long term relationships or marry until the age of 35. This was reinforced by people living on Rotation in which every 3 years everyone would move or rotate their locations to a brand new district. Of course, when Carys and Max meet and fall in love, the rules and Rotation prove to be a huge struggle for them, especially since Max has a completely different set of beliefs than Carys. Along with the utopian world building, I also really enjoyed the technology and setting details of this futuristic world.

    With alternating timeframes , however, what inevitably seems to happen for me is I'm more invested in either the past or the present and that's exactly what happened in this case. I was much more interested in the space chapters and the intensity that came as their oxygen levels were decreasing and they continued to try to make it back to the ship. Plus, we get to know and hear from each of them NOW and this just made for better reading for me, rather than breaking to go back into the past. In addition, the further I got in the book, the more I found myself skimming the past chapters in order to get back to the action in space. While this was my favorite part of the story, there were still questions that nagged me....why were they both on the mission together when only Carys was actually an astronaut? Why did they seem woefully underprepared for such a large venture into space? Even suspending disbelief, I scratched my head over these.

    Of course, I'm not giving spoilers away regarding the ending but what I will say is... it was very surprising and not what I expected, yet getting there was somewhat confusing. Sorry to be vague but if you read this I'd really love to chat about your thoughts regarding the ending! I think if you're looking for an entertaining, quick read to enjoy while at the pool or the beach you should definitely give this a try. If you're looking for an epic love story like One Day you might be disappointed. I didn't find this to be similar to that book at all, unfortunately.

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