Review: When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis

“Do you ever worry that things are going so good, somethings bound to come along and fuck everything up?”
– Ronni Davis

Title: When the Stars Lead to You
Author: Ronni Davis
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 400
Rating: 2/5 Stars

Thank you to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for an advanced finished copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
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?

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Raw, real and unpredictable. When the Stars Lead to you is not a go-happy contemporary romance but a hard-hitting debut that tackles the tough topics of depression, suicide and codependency. No where in the synopsis are those topics listed but they make up the entirety of the book. It’s a hard but well written read and if any of those topics are triggers for you I’d skip this one because of how accurately and truthfully they are portrayed in the novel. 

➽ Devon – Aspiring astrophysicist who wants nothing more than to study the stars she loves. She’s put her all into getting into her top college and is a shooing for valedictorian and the scholarship she needs to make her dreams come true. Enter the boy that left her without a word after a whirlwind summer romance a year ago. Ashton wants back in her life and it turns out he was hiding a secret that summer. 

➽ Ashton – Photography enthusiast and animal lover from a wealthy family who carries the weight of his parents scrutiny on his shoulders. His future is all set for him even if he isn’t sure it’s what he wants. His biggest secret though is that he suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts.

This was a very toxic, very instant love. Maybe it’s because we didn’t get to see their summer of falling in love, but even so the things Ashton says about first meeting Devon is insta-lovey. The love is not a healthy one but it doesn’t try to disguise itself as one. It’s very realistic and as a reader it’s easy to see Devon alter her life little by little to fit around Ashton but it’s hard for her to see it herself. It was very well written and I was glad for the light shone on the toxicity of it at the end. Mental health and depression isn’t nearly talked about enough in everyday life still and I think this book is a way to get that conversation started.

I loved how future oriented Devon was and how supportive her family and friend Blair were even if they didn’t quite understand her obsession. Female stem representation is so important and I felt a certain kinship with Devon because of it even if I wasn’t as driven as her in high school. Know what you want and don’t be afraid to go after it. This also brings up the fact that Devon is biracial; half black and half Irish. She’s had to work twice as hard as everyone else and deal with all the racist crap that goes along with it. Do not only is she female going into a male dominated field, she’s a woman of color going into it. 

The family relationships in this book were a huge part of the story. First we have Devon’s close knit alternative family. Their relationship was so open and forward thinking. They’ve done a lot to get to the place they are as a family and overcome quite a few challenges based on race. Devon’s parents trust her though and have very open discussions about her relationship, sex and her future with her. I am a little confused as to why they never talked to their daughter about how unhealthy her relationship was getting. I feel like it should have come up on some level. On the opposite side we have Ashton’s family who seemed very stereotypical rich white family. Keep it in, don’t talk about, pretend their kid doesn’t exist. I felt awful for Ashton. Not only is he having these awful thoughts but then he has no support system at home.

While the depression, suicide and high school aspects of the story were well written, sometimes the dialogue felt off. The cast of characters felt younger than they were and I felt like I never really got to know them beyond this situation. I also was not a fan of the ending. It was a non-ending ending which I strongly dislike. While I understand what Davis was trying to achieve with it, I don’t like not knowing what’s next for Devon and Ashton. 

Disclaimer: All quotes used in this review are taken from an advanced copy and may be changed from those that appear in the final version. Quotes will be updated to reflect such changes, if any.

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