Book Review // Hold Back The Stars by Katie Khan

Book Review // Hold Back The Stars by Katie KhanHold Back the Stars by Katie Khan
Published by Random House on January 26th 2017
Rating: five-stars
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Contemporary Women, General, Science Fiction
Pages: 320
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'The new One Day' Stylist Magazine
‘A high-stakes, high-concept love story from a bold new talent.’ Matt Haig
‘We’re going to be fine.’ He looks around, but there’s nothing out here: nothing but the bottomless black universe on their left, the Earth suspended in glorious technicolour to their right.Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. None of this was supposed to happen. Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the world they left behind. A world whose rules they couldn’t submit to, a place where they never really belonged; a home they’re determined to get back to because they’ve come too far to lose each other now.
Hold Back the Stars is a love story like no other.

'Original, surprising and romantic.' Woman & Home
‘Full of wonder and heart.’ Emma Jane Unsworth
'The most unique love story I've read in years.' Rowan Coleman
'Think Gravity meets The Versions of Us.' Red

Hold Back The Stars is going to be one of those books you have got to read in 2017, I’m not even kidding. It’s fantastic. It’s up there, for me, with Me Before You by JoJo Moyes, in terms of warmth, emotion, and the ability to just rip out your heart again, and again, and again. And then stomp on it for good measure. And then throw it into a blender. Did I know what I was getting into, starting a book that tells me, up front, that there’s only 90 minutes of oxygen left, for these two characters I barely know, on New Year’s Eve? YES. BECAUSE I READ THE BLURB. But did that make the read any easier? Hell no. Was I prepared to cry and rage and wonder if I could go back and have never started the book at all? NO. NO. NO. But was it not easily one of the best goddamn books I read in 2016, or even ever? It really was. So it was actually the perfect book to finish 2016 on, something I’ll be thinking about a long, long time later.

Hold Back The Stars is set in what could be a very real future, in that America is at war (is Katie foretelling the future, considering the president elect? WHO KNOWS) and has mostly gone and Europe is now Europia and residents must Rotate to different Voivode’s (kinda like the districts in The Hunger Games) and love is forbidden until you’re old enough (in your thirties), but when Max & Carys meet, they know waiting that long is just not good enough. Now see, we don’t know this, because the book opens with that damn bad news that Max & Carys apparently only have 90 minutes of air left in their spacesuits, because for some reason THEY’RE IN SPACE. And it’s all gone horribly, awfully, catastrophically wrong. Hence the 90 minutes of oxygen left. It really throws you into the book – you’ve got no idea why they’re 90 minutes away from death, what’s happened to the Earth, why love is banned, nothing. All you know is this book is going to kill you, because even after one page, you care about Max and Carys. You want some kind of miracle to happen, for Carys to figure something out that she hasn’t thought of, and it is literally painful to read and read and read and see their oxygen running out – I don’t even know what to compare it to, it’s that painful. You want to close your eyes and pretend it’s all a dream, or some elaborate plot to prove a lesson to Max or Carys, that it’s just NOT REALLY HAPPENING.

Hold Back The Stars is one of the greatest love stories ever, mostly because it’s the most uncomplicated love story ever. Yes, Max and Carys have some bumps in their road, but it’s not over dramatic, it’s just two people who have grown up to know you can’t fall in love in your twenties and trying to resist it, it’s about overcoming something you’ve known your whole life – like absolutely hating a food, until you try it again and realise it’s not so bad. When you’re programmed to believe love is bad and then meet your soulmate, you’re bound to question if it’s real. What they go through is so real, it comes across the page so well, you really want those two to make it happen, you know that if any two crazy kids can overcome the rules, it’s Max and Carys. You BELIEVE in them, 100%, all the way. I have never in my life felt so invested in characters than I have whilst reading Hold Back The Stars. Never have I wanted so much for it all to go right, to believe that Katie Khan was tricking me, and come the end of this book there would be some amazing miraculous escape (you’ll have to read to find out – sorry!).

I can’t say as much as I want because of spoilers, it’s really hard to not spill my feelings over everything that happens because it would ruin the book. I will say that, for me, it ended with me in happy tears. That’s all your getting. Also: you will cry multiple times while reading, Katie Khan proper tugs at your heartstrings. This book seriously needs to come with its own pack of Kleenex. Hold Back The Stars needs to be a movie. I need to see this on the big screen, I can already imagine it in my mind, it’s that clear to me, and considering I lack an imagination that’s a massive thing for Katie Khan to achieve. Katie is an absolute beast of a storyteller. She’s got all the right ingredients for an absolute whopper of a bestseller, and if you don’t read this book you’re being stupid. It will ruin you and you will love it! I’m getting myself a finished copy the day it comes out firstly because of the stunning cover – LOOK AT IT. I was totally buying the finished copy for the cover anyway because #covergoals but also because of the absolutely amazing story inside. I will be thinking about Max and Carys all the time now, because this is a truly unforgettable story.


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