Thursday, October 13, 2011

Review: Starstruck

Title: Starstruck
Author: Cyn Balog
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 256
Where I Got This Book: Own
Rating: 3 Stars

Goodreads Summary: Gwendolyn "Dough" X doesn't think she has much going for her—she carries a few extra pounds, her family struggles with their small bakery in a town full of millionaires, and the other kids at her New Jersey high school don't seem to know that she exists. Thank the stars for her longtime boyfriend, Philip P. Wishman—or "Wish." He moved away to California three years ago, when they were 13, but then professed his love for her via e-mail, and he's been her long-distance BF ever since.

At the beginning of her junior year, though, Wish e-mails that he's moving back to Jersey. Great, right? Well, except that Dough has gained about 70 pounds since the last time Wish saw her, while Wish—according to his Facebook photos—has morphed into a blonde god. Convinced that she'll be headed for Dumpsville the minute Wish lays eyes on her, Dough delays their meeting as long as she possibly can.

But when she sees Wish at school, something amazing happens. He looks at Dough like she's just as gorgeous as he is. But Wish is acting a little weird, obsessed with the sun and freaked out by rain. And the creepy new guy working at the bakery, Christian, is convinced that there's more to Wish's good looks than just healthy eating and lots of sun. He tells Dough that a mark on Wish's neck marks him as a member of the Luminati—an ancient cult of astrologers who can manipulate the stars to improve their lives. Is Wish and Dough's love meant to be—or are they star-crossed?

My Thoughts: I needed a book that I could read in one day (it was the last day of Fall Break before I had to go back to school), and this book fit the bill being around 250 pages and having a paranormal romance story line, which I can always devour quickly. I enjoyed the different paranormal twist about using the stars to influence how others see you. There isn't another paranormal YA novel that I know of that has this same story line, so I liked that it was unique in a genre that tends to follow one trend for months and beats it to death until you're begging for something new.

With that said, I did have a couple of complaints about this book. For one, I thought Dough was way too obsessed with her weight. Every single thought she had dealt with her insecurities about her body, and that is no exaggeration. You couldn't read a single paragraph without her mentioning her "dimply thighs". Of course I can understand a teenage girl being weight-obsessed, but Dough thought of nothing else except how fat she was and how worthless that made her when compared to her gorgeous boyfriend. She should have had more depth than that.

I also had a problem with how the "mystery" of Wish's sudden transformation from geek to god was discovered (I know that there really isn't a mystery surrounding Wish since his secret is given away in the summary, but still). It felt like such a cop out. A teenage boy named Christian happens to get hired at Dough's family bakery at the exact same time Wish moves back, he happens to be from California where Wish just moved from, and he happens to have also dabbled in the magic of the stars. Christian actually knew what Wish was up to after seeing him just once from a distance. I mean, really? Did it all have to happen so fast? The entire book takes place in just a week's time because everything was figured out so quickly.

All in all, I thought Starstruck was a rather mediocre read that served as decent entertainment for one evening. The characters weren't very memorable and the story felt too rushed, but I'd still call it an okay read. I never had a desire to set it down; it kept me turning the pages. I'm still interested in reading Balog's Sleepless because I've heard great things about it from trusted bloggers. I just hope the characters and the story in that book are more fleshed out than they were in Starstruck.

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