Stars and Smoke (Stars and Smoke #1)

Marie Lu

YA Thriller Romance

This smoldering enemies-to-lovers novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu puts a superstar global phenomenon and a hotshot young spy on a collision course with danger – and Cupid’s arrow – in an electric new series perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon and Ally Carter.

Meet Winter Young – International pop sensation, with a voice like velvet and looks that could kill. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. His rabid fans would move heaven and earth for even a glimpse of him – just imagine what they’d do to become his latest fling.

Meet Sydney Cossette – Part of an elite covert ops group, Sydney joined their ranks as their youngest spy with plans to become the best agent they’ve ever had. An ice queen with moves as dangerous as her comebacks, Sydney picks up languages just as quickly as she breaks hearts. She’s fiery, no-nonsense, and has zero time for romance – especially with a shameless flirt more used to serving sass than taking orders.

When a major crime boss gifts his daughter a private concert with Winter for her birthday, Sydney and Winter’s lives suddenly collide. Tasked with infiltrating the crime organization’s inner circle, Sydney is assigned as Winter’s bodyguard with Winter tapped to join her on the mission of a lifetime as a new spy recruit. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter’s charms, but as their mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit that there’s more to Winter Young than just a handsome face . . .

Romance and danger abound in this “brilliant, breathtaking ride that will leave you clamoring for the sequel.” —Tahereh Mafi, #1 internationally bestselling author of Shatter Me .

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) Marie Lu is a favorite YA writer of mine so when I saw Fierce Reads offering book two, I quickly grabbed book one to catch up.

Winter and Sydney are great main characters. Winter is the latest, greatest young singer that made it big quickly. When the daughter of a very famous mob boss requests him at her birthday party, a covert ops group places young Sydney as his bodyguard. She is their youngest but most advanced spy. She is bold and tough with skills to match. When untrained Winter is recruited for this mission, Sydney has many feelings against him being involved.

Winter is great for the humble musician just looking for real connections that don’t revolve around his music. Sydney is a spit-fire that let’s nothing get in her way of accomplishing missions. Both are seeking what they don’t realize is in each other. The romance starts slow and innocent and blooms into heartfelt caring that was fun to watch. With life-threatening situations for both characters, the adventure is high with many intense moments.

Marie Lu is an author my kids and I started reading years ago. She is great at implementing diverse characters that most anyone can relate to. She tends to have great adventurous stories with low content which make them perfect for younger teens and more. This is another favorite I will add to my list and I can’t wait for book two!

General content summary: 

Little language 

Family death (in Peace Corp, grief, no details, family cancer death)

Stories of a man killing many (no details)

Child neglect (previous)

Stimulant pills (some stolen and taken)

M/M previous relationship (intimacy reference, no details)

M/F kiss 

Child physical abuse (previous, some details)

Petty theft (multiple)

Physical violence (injuries, choking, multiple)

Killing (poison-like death, few details)

Gun shot (sounds, injury, multiple)


Spouse physical abuse (previous, no details)

Killing (physical violence, previous)

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