Anna Todd’s Brightest Stars trilogy tells the contemporary love story of Karina, a young woman who “grew up military” and is living and working for the first time on her own, and Kael, a 21-year-old soldier now home after two life-altering deployments in Afghanistan. The Burning picks up from the sudden and shocking disruption of Karina and Kael’s developing romance at the end of The Falling: the attraction to one another is undeniable, yet the trust they’ve placed in each other has been broken by a concealed truth. To resolve what may be difficult, or impossible, to repair, Kael’s closed-off past — a past that unknowingly links him to Karina’s family — must be opened and reconciled. And Karina must decide whether loving someone she doesn’t want to live without is worth the pain and risk of it all.
A new love story from Anna Todd begins with The Falling, the first novel in a new trilogy (Brightest Stars) from the #1 internationally best-selling author of the After series.
Twenty-year old Karina is proud of the independent life she is trying to create for herself in Ft. Benning, Georgia. A dutiful officer’s daughter, supportive sister to a troubled twin brother, and caring friend to her roommate, Elodie, she always puts the needs of others ahead of her own, and prides herself on being a fixer of broken things—whether it’s the house she’s just bought or the fragmented family she works hard to keep intact.
Like anyone who has grown up around an army base, Karina also knows the background noise that follows men and women home from war. And when she meets Kael, a handsome soldier on the cusp of discharge, she’s immediately intrigued by his brooding presence and enigmatic silence. As their uncertain and unexpected friendship starts to turn into something more, Karina tries to piece together Kael’s story: he is emotionally closed off, recovering from wounds and other trauma in the aftermath of two tours in Afghanistan. In her practice as a physical therapist, Karina has a strong desire to help him heal, and though it challenges her many insecurities and anxieties, she has an equally strong desire to trust him. But that trust is fragile, like the preciousness of a soldier’s life. It can be gone in an instant. Ultimately facing a crossroads, their relationship will be tested by the one thing that Karina cannot accept, forgive, or understand.