Henry Holt & Company: The Eighth Detective by Alex Pavesi

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These Broken Stars

This first book in the projected These Broken Stars trilogy opens like a historical romance, but is at heart a sci-fi space opera.

Haughty teenage society queen Lilac LaRoux meets rising military star Major Tarver Merendsen aboard the Titanic-like spaceship, the Icarus, and the novel unfolds through their alternating first-person narratives. Sparks fly, but Lilac spurns Tarver's advances because--as the daughter of "the most powerful man in the galaxy"--there are expectations about the company she keeps. That becomes irrelevant, however, when an accident destroys the Icarus, throwing Lilac and Tarver together in an escape pod that crashes on an unknown planet. The cause of the crash and the identity of the strangely deserted planet are mysteries. While they hope for rescue, Tarver's military training keeps them alive on the unpopulated planet that has few resources. Neither Lilac nor Tarver are what they seem, with their true natures veiled by their boilerplate exteriors. Thrown together in a struggle to survive, Lilac and Tarver discover the hearts they've worked so hard to hide and find a love that crosses space and time.

First-time author Amie Kaufman joins Meagan Spooner (the Skylark Trilogy) in a collaboration that yields a lightning pace, multidimensional characters and a gripping science-fiction plot with a mystery at its core. This launch title wraps up satisfyingly but will leave readers eager for the next episode. Give this to fans of Beth Revis's Across the Universe series. --Jessica Bushore, former public librarian and freelance writer