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Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

Hold Back the Stars

Relationship Stories   Debuts of the Month   Literary Fiction   Science Fiction   eBook Favourites   
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February 2017 MEGA Debut of the Month.

Beautifully written, this stunning, unusual debut weaves its way through an intense, all-encompassing first love. A love forbidden by the times in which they live and yet one that they’ll risk everything not to lose.

Hold Back the Stars is set in a future where the world has been ravaged by war and a new society introduced. The earth is now peaceful but this comes at a price. There are rules and one of the rules is that you don’t fall in love until you reach the appropriate age. Yet the heart rarely follows rules and when Carys and Max meet its ten years before either should be thinking of settling down. They are young, rebellious and maybe the system no longer works for their generation.

Throughout the novel Carys and Max are desperately trying to find a way to survive after their ship is damaged and they are stranded in space and rapidly running out of both air and options. I loved discovering their relationship as Khan dips in and out of their past moving us towards the moment that brought them to be being in space and the catastrophic situation they find themselves in. It is intense and Khan conjures up the sheer vastness of space and their desperation as they watch the minute’s tick away taking them closer to death. Yes this is a novel about survival but ultimately it is a unique love story about how true love can turn our world upside down and also, maybe it can be the very thing that saves us too. ~ Shelley Fallows

Click here to read a Q&A about this book.

Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Sharon McKinlay - 'A fabulous, futuristic love fest that will leave you gasping for air! A wonderful story!'
  • Vanessa Wild - 'Imaginatively written sci fi with a sprinkling of fairy (or should I say space!) dust.'
  • Chloe Hill - 'The world created here was incredible and I loved the idea of the story. It was not an easy book to put down. I needed to know how it ended.'
  • Nicola Smith - 'I would definitely say it will appeal to those who enjoy YA sci-fi, which isn't me, but don't get me wrong, I finished the book and found it an easy read'
  • Victoria Emerson - 'Parts of the book are beautifully written and I did manage to get to the end but it was not for me.'
  • Jacki Moorcroft - 'Wow, what a debut novel by Katie Khan. This is a beautifully written story, with real lump in the throat emotion and an unbelievable ending.'
  • Catherine Hogwood - 'The characters were real and the twists and turns along the way kept you on the edge of your seat. A modern ‘Romeo and Juliet’ set in space.'
  • Tina Tse - 'What I particularly enjoyed were descriptions of what life was like in the futuristic world, both in terms of technological advances and how different belief systems and expectations of society and individuals were formed.'
  • Angela Rhodes - 'A science fiction story, with a difference, this is a love story, without being over mushy, it is beautiful. I held my breath as it close to the end, and then, I cried'
  • Katie Hoare - 'The reader is made to care about what happens to the couple, but you also want to see exactly what happens to them, including whether they get the help that they were seeking.'
  • Sharon McKinlay - A fabulous, futuristic love fest that will leave you gasping for air.'
  • Edel Waugh - 'I found myself reading quicker desperate to know what was going to happen and would there be a successful rescue attempt.'
  • Sharon Wood - 'Neat, clever and memorable and surprisingly moving too.'
  • Annette Woolfson - 'Not for me I’m afraid.'
  • Rebecca Cockeram - 'Good sci-fi space story spoiled for me by a dull romance story. More space would have been brilliant.'


Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan

'We're going to be fine.' He looks around, but there's nothing out here: nothing but the bottomless black universe on their left, the Earth suspended in glorious technicolour to their right. Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. None of this was supposed to happen. But, perhaps this doesn't need to be the end...Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can't help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind - at the rules they couldn't reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return. For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it? Hold Back the Stars is a love story like no other.


'An edge-of-your-seat tale.' Vogue

'Gripping from the very first page Hold Back the Stars is a rare combination of thrilling action, deep emotional depth and intelligent ideas. The most unique love story I've read in years.' -- Rowan Coleman, author of The Memory Book

'Dazzling ... a truly stellar debut, full of wonder and heart. I'm sure it's going to be a mega hit.' -- Emma Jane Unsworth, author of Animals

'A beautiful, moving, truly original tale. I loved this book for taking me by surprise.' -- Renee Knight, author of Disclaimer

'A tense, crisp, edge-of-your-seat love story and a completely unexpected ending, I was gripped from the first line to the last. Hold Back The Stars is out of this world. I loved it.' -- Anna McPartlin, author of The Last Days of Rabbit Hayes

'Beguiling and heartbreaking.' -- Richard Skinner

About the Author

Katie Khan

Katie Khan works for a film studio looking after digital marketing for Paramount Pictures in the UK, and is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course. Hold Back the Stars is her debut novel.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th January 2017


Katie Khan

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Doubleday an imprint of Transworld Publishers Ltd


320 pages


Relationship Stories
Debuts of the Month
Literary Fiction
Science Fiction
eBook Favourites

Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Science fiction



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