And All the Stars by Andrea K. Host
Published October 1st, 2012 by the author
Synopsis and cover picture from the Goodreads book page
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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.
Allow me a moment to sound like a lovestruck teenager please. I love this book, cue sigh. No, I lurv this book! Cue more dramatic sighing. Okay, lovestruck fangirl moment has passed, let’s get on with this reviewing business. I admit that the synopsis of this book made me think long and hard about if I wanted to read it or not. But I do love apocalypse novels and the idea of potential alien invaders was fantastic. It piqued my interest enough that I requested a copy for review. Part of me wants to rave about this book from the rooftops all night, but first let’s get the things that got on my nerves out the way. Don’t worry, it’s short.
The descriptions of the dust coming down from the sky and covering everything was interesting at first, but I thought that it went on a little too long. After awhile I found myself thinking, “Okay, I know, the violet dust is EVERYWHERE! Now please talk about something else.” I found that this happened a few other times as well, where I just felt that some things went on a bit too long and I was skimming for a few pages until we moved on. For example when Maddie was looking through empty apartments that was rather cumbersome and when they were planning their attack on the invaders I wanted to get to the actual attacking sooner than I did. These were minor annoyances and frankly didn’t really impact how much I enjoyed the book but I thought it should be mentioned.
Now for the good parts, Maddie was fantastic. She is the YA heroine I have been searching for for months! She is strong, smart, kicks ass when she needs to, and knows when to step aside and let someone else take charge when necessary. I love this heroine so much. All of the female characters in this book were like her in a lot of ways. In general, the characters were very genuine and authentic and not stereotypical or cliche at all. Oh, and we also have a lesbian couple in the book…you don’t see it until near the end but there is. That is rare in YA as well, putting in any LGBT characters. Tyler, I am not quite sure if he was transgendered or a crossdresser but he is in there as well. There are Asian characters and white characters, and lesbian characters, and transgendered characters and NONE OF IT SEEMED FORCED. All of the characters were natural and fit in this world and that was so refreshing to see. No token “a black man walked down the street” moments in this one!
The plot was also very unique and interesting. I loved the idea of it and also the way it was written. Everything was explained without feeling like the information was just being dumped on me. I liked the way the plot played into social structures in our society without hitting you over the head with it. It was a statement about our society but was never preachy. And the ending was a cause for celebration and also sadness. It made me cry, and I rarely shed tears at a book. I felt the emotions of these characters very clearly and my heart broke for them.
I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this book. It is a worthy book to buy and I doubt it would disappoint. Give it a try, even if the synopsis doesn’t seem like your thing. It just might turn into one of your favorites by the end.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest and thoughtful review. No monetary compensation or promise of a positive review was given.