Hold Back the Stars

A Novel

Hold Back the Stars

A startling and evocative novel, harkening to both One Day and Gravity, a man and a woman revisit memories of their love affair on a utopian Earth while they are trapped in the vast void of space with only ninety minutes of oxygen left.

After the catastrophic destruction of the Middle East and the United States, Europe has become a utopia and, every three years, the European population must rotate into different multicultural communities, living as individuals responsible for their own actions. While living in this paradise, Max meets Carys and immediately feels a spark of attraction. He quickly realizes, however, that Carys is someone he might want to stay with long-term, which is impossible in this new world.

As their relationship plays out, the connections between their time on Earth and their present dilemma in space become clear. When their air ticks dangerously low, one is offered the chance of salvation—but who will take it? An original and daring exploration of the impact of first love and how the choices we make can change the fate of everyone around us, this is an unforgettable read.
  • Gallery Books | 
  • 320 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781501142932 | 
  • May 2017
List Price $26.00
Ships on or around May 23, 2017
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Hold Back the Stars includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


In Europia, the individual comes first—relationships come later. Every three years, citizens are “rotated” to a new location to fully experience their youth and discover themselves as individuals, and romantic coupling is forbidden until the age of thirty-five. But when Max and Carys realize they can’t stay away from each other, a series of life-altering decisions plays out to leave them stranded in space with only ninety minutes of oxygen remaining, struggling to deconstruct the choices that brought them face-to-face with their mortality. In Hold Back the Stars, Katie Khan explores the influences of family, the concept of freedom, and how our decisions can touch everyone around us.

Topics and Questions for Discussion

1. In Hold Back the Stars, the author uses dual time lines to tell the story of Max and Carys’s journey to space. In what ways does this enhance the story? Which time line did you feel more connected to?

2. Carys and Max had radically different upbringings from each other. How do t see more

About the Author

Katie Khan
© Don Wood

Katie Khan

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