Hold Back the Stars

Katie Khan's first novel, Hold Back the Stars, is high-concept and deeply emotional. Carys and Max are trapped in space, with only 90 minutes of oxygen left. As they spin wildly, trying to find a way back to their spaceship, they ruminate on the tumultuous affair that led them to this point.

The Earth far beneath them is awash in difficulties. The United States and the Middle East are deserted wastelands, victims of nuclear fallout. Europe has created a utopian society where individuals live "on rotation"--moving from location to location every three years, living in multicultural groups, thus assuring that ethnic or religious affiliations don't sidetrack Europia's lofty goals. But its rules forbid any individuals to merge into a couple and bear children until age 35, at which point they should have already made excellent contributions to society. So when Max, a chef, and Carys, a space shuttle pilot, meet in their 20s and fall in love, their romance is doomed.

Told in a series of flashbacks to various points in their relationship, with a rapidly ticking clock in the present, Hold Back the Stars is guaranteed to keep readers up late at night, frantic to know how Carys and Max's story will end. Khan's intriguing world and the surprise ending do not disappoint, making the novel an irresistible treat. Romance readers, science fiction fans and those who enjoy suspense are sure to free-fall in love. --Jessica Howard, blogger at Quirky Bookworm

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