There are no spoilers in this review.
Reading When The Stars Lead To You reminded me of falling in love for the first time. Overwhelming, devastating, both heartbreaking and beautiful, this debut wasn’t an easy one to read, but oh boy, it was worth it. I wanted to smile and cry and hug these characters and I really, really fell in love here, friends.
A POWERFUL AND COMPLEX FIRST LOVE STORY
When The Stars Lead To You tells the story of Devon, dreaming of the stars and studying the galaxies, and dreaming of that boy Ashton she met two summers ago on that beach, spent a dream summer falling in love with him, only for him to disappear without a trace. Until he reappears at her high school, messing up her life and feelings all over again.
This story tells the powerful, devastating, sometimes overwhelming and unhealthy story of a complex first love, how it can take over an entire life, how beautiful, yet how consuming it can be, too. If you’re expecting to read about a sweet romance, let me tell you right now: this book isn’t that, at all. The romance is central to the plot and yes, they have their moments where I just smiled so brightly my cheeks hurt, but there are other moments that grabbed me by the throat and made me want to cry, too.
Many reviewers are writing that this feels like insta-love, and I get where they come from, I really do. The summer where Devon and Ashton fall in love might seem rushed, for some people, but personally I found it realistic.The insta-attraction is there, but as they spend days and nights together talking, walking on the beach and taking pictures and so on, it quickly develops. It just, feels like first love, like falling in love for the first time, falling, falling and falling without realizing it, until you realize it was kind of there all along.
A WONDERFUL CAST OF CHARACTERS I LOVED
The thing is: When The Stars Lead To You is about loving someone dealing with depression, which made it difficult to read, at times, but all the more powerful as well. We need more of these kind of stories. The relationship between Devon and Ashton was as beautiful as it was complex, sometimes obsessive and codependant, sometimes lovely and sometimes even unhealthy. I loved following their relationship, I rooted for Devon to be okay, for Ashton to be okay, for them to be okay, yet we all know that loving someone with dealing with a mental illness is not all black and white, and neither was this story, up until the very, very end, something I loved.
Devon, our main character, is wonderful. She’s determined and strong, she’s loving with all of her heart, she’s a teensy bit anxious and worrying about her life, about her acceptance to college, about Ashton and both trying to understand him and wanting to help him, without really knowing how to. She wants to do it all and handle it all on her shoulders and this reminded me of , well… me, too.
Ashton, oh Ashton was one character I just wanted, needed to hug. I loved him, I loved his sweetness and how much he cared about Devon, the little attention and warmth from him, yet I also loved seeing how complex he and his mind was, too. From having to deal with an important legacy to his complex relationship with his parents and his own mental health… it all seemed like a lot, yet it was perfectly woven together in the story.
The depression rep was on point, from the mood swings to the lack of enthusiasm, the lack of self-care, the suicidal thoughts popping up and the Dark, looming around inside of his head and coming to take him away, too. I strongly, strongly advice that, if depression and suicide are any triggering for you, to read this book when you’re in the right mindset, because these themes were very heavily discussed in the story.
We have an incredible cast of side characters, just as well. I loved Blair, Devon’s best friend. Always helpful and here for her best friend whenever she needs it, taking care of her and ready to fight for her. A positive, wonderful female friendship like we need more, more and more in stories, if you ask me.
Devon’s also surrounded by wonderful, supportive and caring parents with their own quirks, which I loved.
When The Stars Lead To You is certainly a strong debut and I know I will read absolutely everything Ronni Davis writes next. This book was incredible, from the complex relationship to the characters’ growth, from the depression rep to the emotional writing, I felt everything. I fell in love here.
Final rating: 5 drops and a hurricane!
Trigger warnings: depression, suicide attempt, suicidal thoughts, microagressions, classicism, codependant relationship, discussion of self-harm.
Diversity: biracial main character (half black & half white), main character dealing with depression (both #ownvoices rep).
Ronni Davis, When The Stars Lead To You, Published on November 12th, 2019 by Little Brown Books For Young Readers.
Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.
When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.
Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?
From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.
Did you read When The Stars Lead To You? Do you want to?
What was the latest book you’ve read that you adored? I’d love to hear from you in comments!