Thursday, March 13, 2014

Who Am I to Say - FOR DARKNESS SHOWS THE STARS by Diana Peterfreund

(Goodreads Blurb)
It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth--an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret--one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen's PersuasionFor Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

About the Author
Diana Peterfreund has been a costume designer, a cover model, and a food critic. Her travels have taken her from the cloud forests of Costa Rica to the underground caverns of New Zealand (and as far as she’s concerned, she’s just getting started). Diana graduated from Yale University in 2001 with dual degrees in Literature and Geology, which her family claimed would only come in handy if she wrote books about rocks. Now, this Florida girl lives with her husband and their puppy in Washington D.C., and writes books that rock

Her first novel, Secret Society Girl (2006), was described as “witty and endearing” by The New York Observer and was placed on the New York Public LIbrary’s 2007 Books for the Teen Age list. The follow-up, Under the Rose (2007) was deemed “impossible to put down” by Publisher’s Weekly, and Booklist called the third book, Rites of Spring (Break) (2008), “an ideal summer read.” The final book in the series, Tap & Gown, will be released in 2009. All titles are available from Bantam Dell.

She also contributed to the non-fiction anthologies, Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume, edited by Jennifer O’Connell (Pocket Books, 2007), The World of the Golden Compass, edited by Scott Westerfeld (BenBella Books, 2007), and Through the Wardrobe, edited by Herbie Brennan (BenBella Books, 2008).

Her first young adult novel, Rampant, an adventure fantasy about killer unicorns and the virgin descendents of Alexander the Great who hunt them, will be released by Harper Collins in 2009. When she’s not writing, Diana volunteers at the National Zoo, adds movies she has no intention of watching to her Netflix queue, and plays with her puppy, a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Rio.

What Did I Think?
I have opened this post about 15 thousand times.  I have rearranged the pictures, put the songs in a different order, and adjusted the fonts larger, smaller, and then larger again.  And still I feel like I don't know how to do this.  

For Darkness Shows the Stars is a book that absolutely left me without words.  I want everyone to read it, but it is hard to me to come up with the words to tell you why.  The author created an completely unique but believable scenario that has left the earth with less than half of its previous population.  Elliot North and her family are Luddites who reject advancements, which is how they were able to survive the fallout from the Reduction.  As a child, Elliot grows close to Kai, a boy whose family are slaves to the North farm. Elliot and Kai find that they can communicate with each other without being caught by leaving notes in a piece of knotted wood on the barn.  We watch young Kai and young Elliot grow through their interactions in these notes.

Kai grows up feeling very resentful and different because he is descended from The Reduced.  He knows that there is nothing wrong with him, but yet his family are still slaves. After Kai loses his father, he decides to leave the North farm and see if he can make a better life for himself.  He asks Elliot to run away with him.  Though she originally plans to leave with him, she ultimately puts the people of the farm ahead of her own wants and opts to stay and take care of her family and her farm.

Years later, Kai returns with the Cloud Fleet, a group of explorers who have come to use Elliot's grandfather's shipbuilding equipment.  Elliot knows that there is something unusual about the Cloud Fleet, but they seem loved by everyone around them so she decides not to examine it too closely.  Kai, now known as Captain Wentworth, is bitter and determined to give Elliot the cold shoulder.  He begins courting Elliot's neighbor and makes a real show of letting Elliot know that she means nothing to him.  Of course, as you read the book and you read Elliot and Kai's letters to each other, you know that there is no way that he has just forgotten about her, but you also wonder if the hurts and differences between the two are just too great and that maybe it really is better for him to be out of her life.

This book did something few books are able to do and that is it made me think.  All throughout the story, Elliot struggles with the survival of her family's farm.  She has discovered some advancements that would help to grow a better, more efficient crop, but doing so goes against everything she has ever learned about being a Luddite.  Is it worth saving the farm if it goes against everything you believe in?  

This is so much more than a love story, but for those of you like me, I just want to assure you that there is swoon.  Be prepared.  Captain Wentworth is seriously swoon-worthy.  Even though he spends a great amount of the book being a jerk to Elliot, you see glimpses of who he truly is and you can't help but root for a happy ending for all of them.

This was 5 out of 5 stars for me.

I wouldn't decide on one song for this book, so I leave you with a few to choose from.

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