Cover Image: The Stars We Steal

The Stars We Steal

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Member Reviews

Having been told by a fellow Bookstagrammer that this book was a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, set in space, I was very excited to read it. Even better, I got a free ARC of it through Netgalley in exchange for my honest review, which is forthcoming.

Reading it with a fairly strict Persuasion lens on, though, confused me a little, so I quickly let that go. Indeed, Alexa Donne herself acknowledged on Goodreads that it is "technically...a Persuasion retelling... but in developing it and trying to give Persuasion a firmer plot (to fit as a YA sci-fi book), it morphed a bit more into Jane Austen meets The Bachelor. You'll see tropes and archetypes from additional Austen books, basically, but the romance arc is pure Persuasion!"

It's a story of two almost-adults who were once briefly engaged until the m.c., Leonie, broke it off. Then, a few years later, they're thrown back into each other's company after the guy, Elliott, has made a name for himself. There are the Persuasion similarities. But they're on spaceships orbiting a frozen earth, Leonie's a princess whose family has fallen on hard times, and they're both thrown into a forced matchmaking period with a bunch of other people from which they're supposed to pick their spouses so that the leadership of those spaceships can follow family lines. And Leonie's sister, while still as facetious as Anne's sister in Austen's Persuasion, is not nearly as vindictive. So...there are some major differences.

I think Austen fans will still like this version, as will fans of Kiera Cass' The Selection and of The Bachelor TV show. I enjoyed it plenty, mostly because of that "romance arc." The tension that builds up between Leonie and Elliot over the course of the book--the mistakes, misread cues, coming-togethers, and separations--were all deftly woven and provide not only an entertaining experience for the reader but also a good example of how to build tension through dialogue and action for the writer.

I'm still trying to understand, though, the necessity of the "Valg," or forced matchmaking time. Since that's a fundamental part of the conflict Leonie faces, it seemed like the reasons for it should have been a more fundamental part of the plot, and while Leonie's participation in the Valg is, the reasons behind it aren't necessarily. Maybe they are and I just didn't see it.

Too, I would have liked a stronger ending. Since, by the end of the book, it's obvious that it's just a loose interpretation of Persuasion, the ending could have been longer than the equivalent of Anne and Wentworth walking off down the street hand in hand. I would have liked more realistic wrappings-up of some of the side plot lines, for instance, but had to suffice with a somewhat "tell-y" and short epilogue.

But the characters, for the most part, are full-bodied and engaging, the "world" of the spaceships is fully utilized for all the fun, imaginative elements it can provide, and the romantic tension, like I said, was marvelous. All in all, an enjoyable read that I recommend.
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This is a fantastic story sure to wrap any reader up with intrigue and a fast paced plot.  There's a lot going on in this story and I found myself quickly progressing through just to find out so many details.  I enjoyed it tremendously and highly recommend!
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I did not know that this was a retelling of the classic Persuasion, I have not read the original so I can't compare it and have no opinion on that matter. I went into the story with a complete blank slate, knowing nothing about the plot, basically just picking this because I love the cover (yes, I am that person).

I was really into this story, completely on board with all the angst and completely wrapped up in the romantic drama (which is basically all tell and no show of most of it but high on the current heart break). Also the costuming and fun dating issues of the Valg Season were interesting, almost as if I was reading a historical romance with the ton- but in space. But then the last 30 pages my feelings turned. Everything seemed to be wrapped up so easily and the things that could not be resolved felt a little like it was swept under the rug and forgotten (even though it was a big part of the plot to begin with). I felt a little let down with the resolution and it felt like this was a really long book to get invest in to not have what I was looking for (and I don't feel like the love interest ever redeemed himself).

Overall this is high on the drama, angst and romance, but low on the mystery and sci-fi aspect. If you are looking for a romantic read that felt more like adult fiction than YA sci-fi then this is the perfect option
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I really enjoyed this book! It was a quick paced read that kept me interested the whole time. I could totally see it being a series, but would be fine if it were just a standalone as well.
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Final Rating: 3 stars

I thought this book was a lot of fun, and the concept immediately drew me in when I first read the synopsis. I hoped it would deliver, and on some fronts it did, where on others it seemed to fall flat for me, but that being said, I did enjoy it. 

This story definitely finds its niche in YA, and since I am on the older side of the target age, I found some of the content (in particular parts of the romance) to be a bit juvenile. That's not to say that people younger than me wouldn't enjoy it, but at 19, I'm hovering on the edge of YA's target age for stories such as these.

The skeleton of the story comes from Jane Austen's Persuasion, but it was updated into a space setting, which was really interesting to me as a concept, but sometimes it didn't feel 100% cohesive in the way the author tried to incorporate contemporary themes. 

I felt that the plot was really predictable, something I wasn't sure if it was just because I happen to be good at guessing or if everyone who read it had this experience. 

I did enjoy the characters,but at some points I did feel that they were a bit childish at some points in dealing with some of the issues at hand.

I did enjoy the writing style as well; I thought that it was extremely readable which allowed me to finish this book rather quickly. It's definitely an easy read. 

The lack of worldbuilding did bother me a bit; I felt that I was just being given the information needed to understand the story, not to understand the world. I really enjoy worldbuilding; its one of my favorite parts of a fantasy/sci-fi story and this one felt a bit lacking.

I did enjoy this story though and I would recommend it to a younger age group than my own, or at least someone a couple of years younger than me.
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It was a fun read and an interesting take on my favorite Jane Austen novel, but unfortunately shared the same issue I had with Brightly Burning: the writing just didn't do it for me. It was clunky, to the point that at times it interrupted my reading experience, and the narrative voice just felt awkward and very much like an adult trying on a teenager's voice, if that makes sense.
I'm still planning to give The Ivies a try to see if a genre change fixes anything for me, but overall I was disappointed to not enjoy this more, as I'm a big fan of Alexa.
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Set in a future where humanity resides on spaceships, we meet a princess whose ship is on the verge of financial ruin. Thus she must enter the season of Valg, in which the wealthy and single step out and every person is meant to seek out a match, preferably rich.

With a snail slow pace and predictable 'twists', it was the diverse characters that brought all life into this book. I'm thankful for the bantering, and the non stereotypical portray an orientations represented. Although underdeveloped as the characters were, it brought a whimiscal touch to an otherwise meh read.
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I read this book not knowing what I was going to get. Mainly as it sounded like the bachelorette in space and so thought yeah I am going to know the whole plot by chapter 6. 

How wrong I was, this was more the bachelorette means a murder mystery it was fast paced with complex character, a good romance story line and some interesting twist
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I received this as an eARC to read for free in exchange for my honest review. Thank you to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children's Book Group for giving me access. 

I love me a story set in space! The Stars We Steal was a fun story about a princess - that really isn't a princess anymore - having to be married off for money and finding love. 

The story was entertaining enough, but I wasn't 'wowed' by it. The characters were a bit dramatic about things and the story could have been more developed. Overall, I did enjoy it, but I wouldn't go out of  my way to read it a second time.
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I always enjoy Alexa Donne's YA adaptations of classics and this one was just as much of a gem as BRIGHTLY BURNING. The book is a take on PERSUASION set in space and it is very romance heavy in a teen way which is exactly what I'd market it as!
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Imagine that there was The Bachelor for members of the royal family in the TV show The Crown and it took place in space... and there were pirates... that is this story in a nut shell. It’s a fun read but you need to check your brain at the door. Then it’s each the very young YA dialogue and the explanations of the crazy spaceship world. There are star-crossed lovers, back-stabbers and betrayals. The main character is a bit holier than thou and entirely naive to the world around her but she is likable. It’s a space soap opera and if that’s your thing, you’ll love this. If it’s not you will still probably enjoy the light, whimsical read. 

3.5 stars for me.
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Alexa Donne has truly reached up to the heavens and plucked out a little slice of glittery perfection to serve to us on a midnight platter.
The Stars We Steal is a masterpiece meets sparkle and glitter, bringing us a story about old-royalty, failing titles and difficult sacrifices. This book brings together Love Island, Anastasia and The Selection by putting them all in space, completely unaware of what is about to happen. And boy does a lot happen!

This book follows Leo, a strong, family-orientated Princess who knows she’s the only one who can save her father and sister from a life of devastation and poverty. With her father pressuring her to marry rich, Leo signs up to take part in a match-making system thats designed to help her find her perfect match. Only, she isn’t looking for love. She’s looking for money.

Leo keeps up the facade, effortlessly manevouring the politics of the game all whilst coming up with her own way to save her family – an ingenious device that recycles water and turns a limited resource into an unlimited one. However, this… ambitious side of her is not one her family is proud of. Her father is determined she ties herself down and forgets her dreams of marrying for love.

But then her ex-flame signs up to be partnered off to a young hopeful, and… suddenly? The game is ON.


You know those TV shows that you either watch religiously or flick past when they come up on screen? You know the ones, where the cheese is undeniable and everyone is partnering off with each other or stabbing each other in the back. The ones that you guiltily pay attention to and tell everyone else that “you don’t watch it”. The Stars We Steal gives you all the addictive rush of a cheesy show like the Bachelor or Love Island, with none of the embarrassment. Alexa has taken this weirdly addictive concept, destroyed the earth, and placed us all up in space for a wild ride between the galaxies.

The “world” (as there are no actual worlds) building is gorgeous and I’m always fascinated by the technologies and advancements made by humankind in science-fiction. It makes me wonder how far away we are from living on spaceships because we’ve destroyed the Earth in its entirety. This question drives the wonder Alexa builds around us and makes the scenario she’s built for her book so much more relatable. In reality, we probably aren’t that far off being forced away from our planet due to not looking after it properly. Which, yes, is terrifying (especially if you aren’t rich royalty who would be assigned your own spaceship) but also a matter of intrigue and sets a stage that can be explored in a thousand different ways.

The Stars We Steal does really dive into this concept, unlike a few other science fiction books where Earth is barely mentioned and very little is established as to why humankind makes its home between the stars. I really like how Alexa brought in this focus with her use of Leo, who is a vibrant and outstanding character. The characters were really well written and I’m always a sucker for believable personalities and I felt what we were given definitely ticked that box. There’s so much teenage drama and angst brought on by young people being forced to take bigger steps than their legs allow and the political manoeuvring these poor people are forced through for the sake of their parents is honestly devastating and really highlights some of the issues going on in our own world, where children are used as a device for fame.

I really loved the entire vibe of this book. It managed to bring in so much humour and happenings and really kept me on the edge of my seat, as cliched as it sounds. It isn’t often a book really captures me and encourages me to read it. I sadly find myself procrastinating reading a lot by writing blog posts or gaming, but nothing was allowed to stand in the way of me reading The Stars We Steal – not even impending exams or life responsibilities. It felt… urgent. Like if I didn’t absorb it as fast as possible the enjoyment wouldn’t have been the same. Like watching half of an episode of Love Island and just being confused and not allowing yourself to get to the part where they eliminate people. It just wasn’t happening ok??

As you probably know by now, I adore romance books. I really liked how The Stars We Steal managed to touch on bigger topics whilst also having a friends-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-friends-to-lovers sideline. THE ANGST GUYS. I could have drowned in it! The romance is ridiculously well done, with the tension brewing between the two main characters actually making crackling noises and occasionally just bursting into flames. I’m not sure I agree entirely with the expectations they place on each other, I think they were overwhelmed by their feelings and didn’t see rationally at times, but that didn’t take away from the relationship at all.

This book was truly a master of all trades. Not only does it have realistic characters that practically hold your hand all the way through and a beautiful world of glamour and spaceships, but there’s so much more going on too. There’s a rebellion trying to disrupt the ‘matchmaking’ and gain traction for starving populations. There’s a murder mystery. There’s a presidential race. There is SO MUCH that goes on in what’s not that long of a book, but there’s enough details about everything that it doesn’t fall flat- unlike other books that try so hard to tick every box.

The Stars We Steal is perfection and easily become one of my top 3 YA science-fictions of ALL TIME. Thank you to Titan Books for optioning this one and bringing it to UK readers, like little old me.
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I really did enjoy this book - it was easy to read once I had got used to the very descriptive writing style. The storyline was good fun but it still managed to touch on some interesting and serious topics. I'll probably read this book again (which is unusual for me).
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Thank you for the opportunity to read this. I will be posting a full review to Goodreads, Amazon, and Instagram.
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There are some positives here, a strong and resourceful set of female characters, an interesting futuristic world, the odd well placed nod to a literary classic. This however is overshadowed by the entirely underwhelming writing style. I actively took to rolling my eyes when Leo and Elliot managed to "accidentally" see each other in some level of undress. Or when the narrator AGAIN mentioned her ample breasts or the fact she was 'the only young lady at the buffet table'. It all just felt so forced and ridiculous. I felt no thrill from the romance, no excitement from the black market or threat from the almost cartoonishly evil "captain lind". All in all a thoroughly 'meh' futuristic romance in my opinion but I'm sure some people will like it.
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So I think this might be a stand-alone, but it could also be a series????

The Stars We Steal is an interesting and addicting combination of The Selection and The 100. It has space, a Bachelor-esque romantic intrigue and is slightly addicting with all of the drama and politics.

The Stars We Steal follows Leonnie “Leo” as she has to attend the “Valg” a Selection like process of eligible youngsters choosing a betrothed. But for her, it’s extremely stressful, because her family is running out of money and she needs to marry for money, and her ex has returned after being gone for three years and trying to decide if he still has feelings for her. In addition, an election is coming up that could really determine the outcome of several class systems and their survival.

This book had a lot going on. The romance did a good job of making it seem more light-hearted, but there was a lot of corruption, murder, and politics. The main character gets seriously involved in a lot of bad situations and becomes essentially powerless to get herself out of it. The ending may have been a little rushed, but at the same time I really liked it? It was halfway believable enough and a lot of the problems were clearly being worked on throughout the book. And why does a book always have to have a long drawn out ending? Is that realistic?

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. It was a very quick read and I found myself going through a multitude of emotions. Fans of The Selection and The Uglies series will surely enjoy this one.
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I wanted more from this book—either more from the bachelor competition side of the plot or more from the rebellion side, or maybe both. They both felt like not enough was devoted to either aspect of the plot, and in turn, the characters themselves were shorted on their development—in particular, the romance fell rather flat, failing to convince me in earnest. The premise and the location were great draws for me, but I wanted more.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me a digital copy of this book. This felt very familiar to me. As though I had read it many times before. That being said it is beautifully written. I will not be purchasing it for the library as it is similar to others we have. Also the cover does not catch y attention.
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An interesting take on the YA fantasy genre.  It's a combination of Battlestar Galactica, The Selection, and a typical teen drama.  Will definitely appeal to teens, but not likely to have lots of crossover appeal for adults.  It hinges on the typical "big misunderstanding" and the characters make a series of (understandable for teenagers, but) ill-advised decisions that engineer a dramatic ending.  The characters are interesting enough, and the plot moves along at a nice pace.  That, combined with a great cover design, should draw in the teen readers.
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THE STARS WE STEAL was a fun, witty and romantic romp through space, peppered with delightful nods to PERSUASION. I'd love a sequel to see how the characters are getting on as they all definitely have stories left to tell.
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