Synopsis – Goodreads
Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.
When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.
Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?
From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.
Before I jump into this review, here are some Trigger Warnings
TW: Suicide, Suicide Ideation, Clinical and Situational Depression, Micro-aggressions/Racism
The Great: The plot. If you’re a fan of YA Authors such as Sarah Dessen, the plot for all intents and purposes, feels familiar. Two lovesick teenagers, have a whirlwind summer romance and something pulls them apart until they’re —by some great force — pushed back together again and love will truly conquer all. Let’s not forget that at least one of the love interest’s is inexplicably rich. And usually, as an adult, those types of stories just don’t do it for me as much as it did when I was a hopeless romantic teenager. But there was something about Ronni Davis’ execution of the plot that kept my attention and had me turning the pages to discover more.
Also, I immediately bonded with the main female character, Devon. Although I’m not biracial and in no ways am I obsessed with Astronomy and Astrophysics, I too remember putting — not as much — but almost equal amounts of pressure on myself academically, to give myself the best chance at being successful in my future career. However, I was also was fiercely protective of the male main character, Ashton. Being no stranger to having loved ones suffer from some sort of clinical depression, I was able to pinpoint some of the telltale signs of what he was dealing with immediately. Davis’ created main and side characters that were relatable and three-dimensional. I mean we all need a best friend like Blair and I wouldn’t mind working on the school yearbook with the big brother, class clown Tyrell.
The Good: Davis holds no bar when moving into heavy topics like explicit and implicit racism, clinical depression and suicide ideation. Transitioning into these heavy themes is no easy feat. And Davis does a great job setting the scene and the tone —giving you room to put the book down and breathe if need be — then submerging you in all of the emotions and realities of what’s happening. And how important it is to understand, almost three-dimensionally what the character is experiencing. I felt present, watching scenes unfold, feeling what the character’s were feeling. This can be an awesome thing as a reader who loves to connect with a story no matter how difficult the subject-matter (me). But it can be quite difficult and triggering for those readers who’ve experienced these trauma’s in their own lives. I won’t lie to you, I seriously had to decompress and step away from writing this review for a few days.
The not-so good: For certain parts, the story was predictable. As aforementioned, the plot is often used in YA contemporary. Which means, certain conversations, inner monologues and descriptors pinpointed the direction a scene or the overall story was going. Also, the insta-love, second-chance insta love became overwhelming love rather quickly. Not saying that that isn’t realistic — believe you me I fell in love hard and fast around that age — but it just felt too much at times. I did enjoy the ending though.
Overall, for many reasons, When the Stars Lead to You is a necessary read. It’s impactful, heart-wrenching and oddly enough heart-warming. I recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary.