Young Adult Book Review: Sky Without Stars


Sky Without Stars
System Divine: Book 1

Author/ Illustrator:

Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell


Young Adult Science Fiction

Year published:



Les Miserables in space


The book follows three young characters: Chatine, Marcus, and Alouette and the rolls they play in a revolution on a desolate planet, Laterre, in the System Divine. Filled with espionage, lies, mystery, romance, rebels, and cyborgs, it’s a fun book that has many elements of the famous musical and book, but puts a new twist and a new perspective on the classic.


Overall I really enjoyed the book. The world-building was incredible and so well done, probably my favorite element of the entire book. I instantly recognized the authors’ writing skills which was one of the reasons I kept reading. The book had great character development, excellent word choice, and a creative retelling of a very well-known story.

One issue I had was with pacing. I understand that sci-fi books need time for world building—and like I said they did a phenomenal job—but the story didn’t really pick up for me until I was about three-quarters into the book. But when it got there, I couldn’t put it down.

Possible issues:

  • Some profanity
  • Romance (one kissing scene, not too steamy)
  • Death, violence, and explosions

Classroom application:

I think this would be a good book for a sci-fi unit especially since you could integrate with history on the French or American revolutions.

It would also be a great unit to read this version, as well as the original Les Miserables and compare and contrast the two story lines. (And of course, you can watch the musical because why wouldn’t you?)

For literature and writing, use this book as an excellent example in world-building. I could see so many creative writing projects jumping off of this System that Brody and Rendell created.


Middle Grade Book Review: The One and Only Ivan
Picture Book Review: Diary of a Spider
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4 thoughts on “Young Adult Book Review: Sky Without Stars

      1. mphtheatregirl says:

        I only read one retelling- Spinning Silver (Rumplestillskein).

        I get kind of nervous even attempting a retelling especially if it is based off of a story I love.

        Liked by 1 person

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