When the Stars Lead to You

Little, Brown. Nov. 2019. 400p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780316490702.
Gr 8 Up–Devon Kearny is a budding astrophysicist spending the summer with her cousin when she meets Ashton Preston at a party. The two form an incredibly strong bond and their relationship develops quickly over the summer, but ends abruptly when Ashton leaves without telling Devon. Devon spends the next year rebuilding her heart and focusing on accomplishing her academic goals. Her single-minded focus is diverted when Ashton reappears as a new student at her school. Despite her best intentions, Devon remains drawn to Ashton and cautiously reestablishes a relationship with him. Devon soon learns the reason behind Ashton’s disappearance is his battle with depression. Familial pressure and his mother’s request that he stop seeing Devon lead to a suicide attempt that summer. Ashton’s depression and his mother’s disapproval begin to slowly erode Devon’s sense of self-worth. Devon has to learn how to love Ashton and honor her dreams. This is a unique look at love and depression. Readers are asked to consider the different ways love can hurt and heal people. Those who have experienced depression or know someone affected by it will identify with the complicated relationship. The author made the relationship between Ashton and Devon one the main focal points of the narrative, but not the complete story. Supporting characters are realistic and lend an overall credibility to the story.
VERDICT A good choice for public and school libraries looking for titles with a mental health component.

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