When the Stars Lead to You by Ronni Davis
TW: Depression, Mentions of Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts
Overview: Ashton and Devon fall in love one summer on the beach. And then he disappears. Another summer passes and there's still no word from Ashton, but Devon still hasn't stopped thinking of him. Then, on the first day of senior year, Devon turns around to find Ashton in a uniform matching hers. It turns out, the school has been in his family since it was founded. Finally pulled back into each other's world, Devon has to decide whether she can trust Ashton when they decide to try again. Overall: 4.5
Characters: 4 Devon is at Preston on scholarship. She's earned her place, leading her class as their planned valedictorian. She wants to study the stars at an elite university. Her life is perfectly planned out except the hole in her heart for the most intense summer fling she's ever had. Devon is quite even and pragmatic, but Ashton pulls her like a magnet. It's amazing how balanced she keeps herself even when their relationship becomes quite dependent and all consuming.
Ashton, Devon finds out when they get back together, is suffering from very intense depression. He's in counseling and is taking medication, but he still struggles with what he calls his "darkness" and his parents lack of love, affection, and acceptance.
Devon and Ashton's parents also couldn't be more different. Devon's parents dealt with their own family trials as Devon's father's white parents objected to him marrying a black woman. Despite this, they haven't gotten jaded and are so sweet. They're a great example of a couple that genuinely support each other. On the other hand, Ashton's parents are so obsessed with class and family bloodline that they ignore his needs in the name of appearance. The parents are actually super present throughout the book which was a nice addition.
Plot: 4 A lot of the story is centered around Ashton's mental health and how it effects their relationship. He's hesitant to let Devon in, but Devon is nothing but supportive the entire time. There are lots of interesting questions asked about the intensity of their relationship and how far one should go for love. While Ashton isn't doing anything wrong, he's trying to deal with his illness best he can, it puts a lot on Devon as she worries about where Ashton might take his depression. Her worries are warranted, but they take away from her life. Their relationship rides a fine line the entire time between supportive and passionate and unhealthy. This works because Davis is careful to take time to completely examine them in a complete support system including friends, good family members and therapists. The story has a wonderful resolution.
Writing: 5 My favorite part of the book was the writing and the kind of control that she has over the book with it. Her pacing stands out. She uses it as a tool to add another layer to the emotional intensity. She also has an amazing way of making you feel like you know the characters extraordinarily well from the first page. It's an amazing skill and it made sure I never felt lost in the process.
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