These Broken Stars is a successful YA collaboration for Spooner and Kaufman.
A "massive great big" (phrase from a British guide on a tour many years ago that I have appropriated) spaceliner is suddenly pulled from hyperspace, the evacuation to the emergency pods is chaos.
Tarver Merendsen sees Lilac LaRoux fall and rescues her. In turn, Lilac leads Tarver to one of the crew pods and with surprising skill manages to strip wires and persuade the pod to detach. Others, some 50,000, were not so lucky. (See, it really was a "massive great big" spaceliner!)
The relationship between the two is rocky. Although initially attracted to each other, Lilac is the daughter of the wealthiest man in the universe; Tarver, a decorated war hero, but in no way suitable. Lilac knows what her father is capable of doing to unsuitable suitors and cruelly dismisses and humiliates Tarver. What a difference a day makes.
Then, of course, they find themselves alone together in the pod, and the only survivors when the pod crashes onto an unknown and deserted planet.
The story becomes a survival story as the two travel toward the crash of the massive spaceliner. They must learn to depend on each other if they want to reach the crash site where they hope for eventual rescue.
I have to admit that I was originally put off a bit by the lovely, but oh, so romantic, cover, but quickly found myself immersed in Tarver and Lilac's struggles.
The story alternates between Tarver's voice and take on the situation and Lilac's. It works very well, in spite of the fact that it is more story-telling than dialogue. At the end of Tarver's chapters, there is a short bit of an interrogation, so we know that Tarver survives, but the interrogation raises other questions.
Only two nitpicks: First, I think the characters should have been older; they seemed way too young for the experience and skill each had. Second, a vagueness about some situations near the end left me unclear about the nature of the situation, and the authors tied things up a little quickly.
Nevertheless, a fast-paced, entertaining novel with well-developed characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
YA/Science Fiction. Dec. 10, 2013. Print version: 384 pages.