Thursday, November 8, 2012

[Promo & Giveaway] Defy The Stars by Stephanie Parent

Defy the Stars
By Stephanie Parent
Release Date: 07/30/12
325 pages

Summary from Goodreads:
Julia Cape: A dedicated classical piano student just trying to get through her last semester of high school while waiting to hear from music conservatories.

Reed MacAllister: A slacker more likely to be found by the stoners’ tree than in class.

Julia and Reed might have graduated high school without ever speaking to each other…until, during a class discussion of Romeo and Juliet, Julia scoffs at the play’s theme of love at first sight, and Reed responds by arguing that feelings don’t always have to make sense. Julia tries to shake off Reed’s comment and forget about this boy who hangs with the stoner crowd—and who happens to have breathtaking blue eyes—but fate seems to bring the two together again and again. After they share an impulsive, passionate kiss, neither one can deny the chemistry between them. Yet as Julia gets closer to Reed, she also finds herself drawn into his dark world of drugs and violence. Then a horrific tragedy forces Julia’s and Reed’s families even farther apart…and Julia must decide whether she’s willing to give up everything for love.

Defy the Stars is written in an edgy free-verse style that will appeal to fans of Ellen Hopkins and Lisa Schroeder; however, the writing is accessible enough to speak to non-verse fans as well. The novel’s combination of steamy romance and raw emotion will appeal to fans of Gayle Forman, Simone Elkeles, Jennifer Echols, and Tammara Webber. With a story, language and form that both pay homage to and subvert Shakespeare’s play, Defy the Stars is much more than just another Romeo and Juliet story.

I’m awake.  I’m safe.  Yes, I’m in front of a
      piano, but my limbs won’t suddenly freeze.  Two
days have passed since the nightmare… 
      So why can’t I get it out of my head?  I’ve been
avoiding the piano, but now, at my lesson,
Ms. Hart waiting, expectant, I can’t stall
      any longer.  And of course she wants me to 
play the third movement, Presto agitato.  But
      how can I play at all when—forget the night-
mares—all this real shit has been marching 
      through my head nonstop, an invisible army 
                                                          of worries and doubts: Reed.  Cary.  Jail.  

Drugs.  Debts.  Music.  My parents.  Chicago.  
      The Peabody.  How can I just leave with Reed?  
How can I stay here, let him go?  Oh what oh what 
      in the world am I going to do?  “Julia?” Ms. 
Hart prompts.  “Just dive into it.  Remember, it 
doesn’t have to be perfect.”  So I take a deep 
      breath, and I do.  My right hands climb the 
rising arpeggios, each one cut off in a thunderclap 
      of chords, till they transform into an endless 
stream of G sharps, high and low, each one saying, 
      hear me hear me hear me—  Stop.  

But only for a
moment, before the arpeggios start once more.

Then comes the second theme, its 
                      syncopated beat seducing the ear, 
 saying, Hey, here’s a different way to 
       look at things and throwing
 everything off balance.  There’s a brief 
       shift to a major key, giddy, 

And then
the relentless series of chords that demands:
      Stop waffling, willowing.  Choose your path and
move forward.  Now.  Then it’s back to the
      opening theme, the arpeggios racing from my
fingers even faster than I started, 

and I’m
flubbing notes now but I can’t stop, can’t
 slow down, have to keep going.  The notes go

on, the two themes melding, mutating, a
frenzy building till it lands on one low, 
foreboding chord…  
But just for a 
second, till its
      back to the beginning, through both themes,
to the lightning-quick chromatic scales up and
      down and up and down the keys, the drawn-
out trills, the arpeggios in both hands going

no way back up now,
and then that final chord, abrupt, 
chopped off.

It’s done.  

Done…and I’m guzzling air,
chest heaving, lungs going in out in out in
time with the echoes of music still

lingering in the air.  “That’s it!” Ms. Hart 
      says, one hand on my shoulder.  “That’s what
I’ve been trying to get you to do all semester.”
      I twist around to look at her, sure she’s 
kidding, but her smile is wide and genuine.  
“But I started way too fast, and just got faster,” 
      I say.  “I think I got at least one note wrong 
in every single measure.”  “Doesn’t matter,”
      she answers.  “The technique will come.  
What’s important is that you let the music take
      control rather than trying to contain it.  You
were willing to go somewhere dark and

unsettling…”  I know Ms. Hart’s speaking
      metaphorically, but still I shiver just a little, 
though  I don’t think she catches it.  “…taking 
      risks is what will take you to the next level as 
a musician.”  I nod, but I’m not thinking about 
music anymore.  I’m thinking about the push-pull 
      I felt while I was playing, the notes tugging me 
in one direction, then the other, and how now that
      I’ve played through it, that sense of being torn 
in two is gone.  Gone, because I’ve made my
      decision.  My choice is dark, and more than a 
little unsettling, but I know what I have to do.

Stephanie Parent is a YA author repped by Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC and attended the Baltimore School for the Arts as a piano major.
To find out more about Stephanie visit her BLOG. Or you can follow her on Goodreads and Twitter.

Click HERE for tour schedule to visit the other AWESOME blogs on this tour!!

Giveaway Info:
1st prize: $30 gift card from Amazon and a e-book copy of Defy the Stars.
2nd place: 4 e-book copies of Defy the Stars.
Additional Prize: A query letter critique by Stephanie Parent.
All giveaways are open internationally!

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