Cherie Reads

And All the Stars

And All the Stars - Andrea K. Höst Wow, wow, wow!Where to start? I loved everything about this book. The plot, the characters, the settings, the pacing, the twist! Oh my gosh, the twist! This was my first read from Andrea K. Höst but it will definitely not be my last!We begin the story with Madeleine waking up stuck in a precarious position after an apocalyptic event: Madeleine Cost's world was a tight, close space, a triangular tube tilted so her head lay lower than her feet. Light reflected off metal, and there was barely room to squeeze one hand past the slick surface, to explore face and skull and find a powdery dust and a throbbing lump. Dull pain also marked upper shoulder, hip, thigh. She felt dusty all over, grimed with it, except her lower half which was wet. Free-flowing liquid drained past her head. She could smell blood. How's that for setting the scene? The descriptions make you really see the details of the scene without being tedious and verbose. From that scene we follow Madeleine through the aftermath of the event. She meets other teen survivors who form a close-knit group and do their best to cope with their circumstances. The cast of characters is unique and diverse. It was absolutely refreshing to read about characters who were not all white middle-class. It's a multi-cultural cast and includes glbt characters as well. While these things were not essential to the plot (and in fact not a part of the plot at all), they made the story and characters much more authentic and believable. This book is really mostly about the characters. The relationships between them, the bonds formed - these are the main parts of the book. They experience humor and joy and love and nerves and depression and devastation and the way they play off of each other is really the greatest part of this book. It's a glimpse into the lives of these teens while dealing with horrendous circumstances. The scenes of normal everyday things were some of the best for me. The normalcy and humor of some of the situations and dialogue played against the backdrop of this event is particularly powerful.I loved how these characters reacted to these events. What would you do during an apocalypse? Would you hide in your house? Would you try to help others? Would you be able to do what needed to be done in the afermath? How would you eat? Where would you go? What would you do with those who did not survive? All of those questions are ones these characters deal with and they all react in a realistic way.This was a very quick read for me. From that first paragraph, I was hooked. This book grabbed me and did not let go until the last page. The pacing was perfect. Moments of fear and uncertainty are intertwined perfectly with moments of and excitement and joy. There are scenes of action and movement intertwined perfectly with moments of peace. The action draws you in and makes you want to know more while the peace allows time for the reader to connect with the characters. Very well done. There is a major plot twist about three-quarters of the way through. I was completely blown away. I did not see it coming at all! It twisted my guts and had me reeling! It's also a major turning point in the plot of the book and the rest of the events are shaped by it. As for the idea behind this book, all I can say is that Andrea Höst has one hell of an imagination. I don't want to give anything away and so won't say too much but this was an original and imaginative idea. I've recently read a few books with have an original spin on an old idea (fairies, etc.) but this is the first time in a long time that I've read an absolutely original idea, period. This is a standalone novel and I think readers will be happy with the ending. We're not left wondering what happened to the characters. Everything is resolved in a way that is satisfying and gratifying to the reader. I highly recommend this to all fans of light sci-fi, post-apocolyptic fiction and, although this is not a dystopian novel, I think fans of that genre will love this one as well.