In brief: This is the story of Rip and Sahara, teenagers in love. Sahara leaves Byron Bay to go to art school, while Rip becomes lost in memories. Can Rip recover while Sahara’s life is becoming a mess?
The good: Very spiritual and an interesting twist.
The not-so-good: The twist I found initially a little off-putting until I accepted it as part of the story’s context.
Why I chose it: Sent to me by Harlequin Books – thank you!
Pages: 297 (ARC)
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Setting: New South Wales, Australia
My rating: 7 out of 10
When I read the blurb about The Inevitability of Stars, I was feeling in a romantic mood and the tag line ‘a modern day Romeo and Juliet’ really pulled at my heart strings. Despite not really knowing what the title meant (actually I still don’t – given the sun is a star and we wouldn’t be here without it, is it inevitable that they – and hence we – exist? Not sure. Potentially too deep for this time of day). Anyway, away from the title.
This is a book about Rip and Sahara – a boy and girl who have grown up together and fallen in love. Now that they’ve finished school, Sahara wants to leave their home of Byron Bay and study art in Sydney. Rip doesn’t want her to do this – in fact, he’s not really sure about what he wants. He’s scarred by the death of his mother (which is alluded to in the prologue) and the loss of Sahara. After Sahara leaves, Rip slashes his wrists. After leaving hospital, he takes flight to an unusual farm in the hinterland that is so much more than a job. In Sydney, Sahara meets Sean, nightclub mogul, and her life changes completely – from student poverty to living at the Hilton’s penthouse. Suddenly life is all about fashion, booze, drugs and looking the part. But when Sahara hears that Rip has died, she begins to crumble. Will she find herself again?
Told in the present tense with alternating chapters between Sahara and Rip, this novel is very spiritual. Sahara’s mum is into crystals and offers to do a tarot reading for Rip, while Rip’s journey contains numerous healing elements. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the way Rip learns how to heal his pain is somewhat mystical. I wasn’t expecting this when I read the book – I’m not all that good when it comes to these kinds of things – but once I accepted that it was part of Rip’s journey, I found it easier to read. There is a lot of common sense within his scenes.
Sahara’s world is totally the opposite of Rip’s – it’s cemented in reality, superficial and commercial. It was interesting to compare what Rip was doing (such as gardening and eating home-grown raw food) to what Sahara was (smoking, not eating and lounging around). This made me think about our busy lives today – how much do we truly connect with ourselves or is it all based on who/what/where/when/why? Sahara’s journey, while not as spiritual as Rip’s, allows her to come full circle and see what parts of her life are so damaging. I did enjoy Sahara’s story more, perhaps because I’m more familiar with some of the aspects.
The prose Lyster writes is beautiful and I think that the characters speak in italics without quotation marks emphasises the slightly other-worldly quality of the book. It makes each line sound poetic and much more emphatic. Lyster should be praised for her ability to entwine two disparate stories together and create a magical, haunting novel.