Under Different Stars (The Kricket Series Book 1) by Amy A. Bartol
**I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review**
5 HUGE stars!
17 year old Kricket Hallowell is hiding…see, she is supposed to be in the foster system in Chicago, but she’s been wronged one too many times and is determined to make it on her own for the next couple months, flying under the radar of DSS until her 18th birthday. Working odd jobs and getting paid under the table and living with a friend that was also in the foster system at one time, she can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Until the fateful day that Trey Allairis and his comrades seek her out on her way back home one day on the El train. The encounter leaves the trio with pepper sprayed eyes and Kricket with a fear that she’s never felt before – even though her “instincts” as she thinks of it tells her they were telling her the truth that they wanted to “take her home”. Since her parents died and she went from one foster family to another, she’s never truly felt like she’s had a place to call home.
But her fear only grows when she is approached by another group of men that also insist they want to take her home…but these three also try to tell her she’ll be safe with them, which she knows is not true. When a fight ensues for her safety, the first trio reappears and takes her against her will – she doesn’t know where, but she at least has a sense that they mean her no physical harm. They go on a journey through a dark cavern, through a deep pool in the cavern, and they pop out in a literally different world – Ethar, under different stars that their kind can thrive under. Kricket isn’t a normal human; she is Etharian – and a one of kind at that. She is the daughter of two combating clans – Alameeda and Rafe – and not just any Alameedaian, a priestess. Trey, along with his soldiers Jax and Wayra, continue on their journey of bring Kricket back to their clan of Rafe – but they are trying to stay ahead of Kyon who is of the Alameeda clan who would like nothing more than to see Kricket back with his clan.
On their journey through the Forest of Omnicron, Kricket becomes more and more attached to the trio of Cavar (the Ethar version of the military), as well as her acceptance of her new life as an Etharian. Her relationship with Jax and Wayra is that of a brotherly one, but it’s clear that her and Trey could see each other in another light all together…except it wouldn’t be an acceptable match for either family. But the heat between them is VERY evident – even if Trey tries to deny it! But can Kricket save not only her growing feeling for Trey, but her life and those of the of the people in world who she never knew existed, but finally feel like home? Not if the Alameeda clan has anything to say about it…
I LOVED this story! It was witty, inventive, and tremendously written. Kricket is resourceful, feisty, and tough as nails – she can take care of herself, and she has proven that living through the foster system. And Trey is strong, smart, and HOLY HOTNESS…just in his confidence along makes me weak in the knees! Kricket doesn’t stand a chance against falling for him, or against her powers of her people, those of her mother’s people. I can’t wait to see what else is in store for her, Trey, and the rest of the Rafe clan – there is no doubt that she will decimate those in her way, and be able to stand strong for what she believes.