Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Review: Starstruck by Cyn Balog

By Cyn Balog
OUaT Book ARC Tours
Publisher: Delacourte Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: July 12, 2011
Book Format: Paperback, pp 256
Age Demographic: Young Adult
b&n // amazon

For Gwendolyn "Dough", she wears a lot of insecurities on her sleeve and deals with weight issues, and takes a lot of verbal and sometimes physical abuse from other's. She's constantly comparing herself to the other "prettier" girls at her school and even her younger sister, Evie. So, when she finds out that her best friend Wish, is moving back after having spent the last four years living in California with his grandmother, she's worried what he'll think when he sees her for the first time. She spends a little bit of time trying to avoid him, until she can't. Then when she does see him in school, she notices that he looks at her the same way he's always looked at her; nothing has changed except his looks and her weight.

Things are a little off or different about him, like his obsession with the sun and how he freaks out about the rain. It isn't until Christian, the mysterious guy with a trouble past, points out to her that something is sort of wrong with Wish. He's practicing rituals used by the Illuminati, an ancient cult of astrologers who practice rituals to manipulate the stars in an effort to improve their lives. This is all pointed out to her through a mark on Wish's neck that Christian explains is a sign that he belongs to the Illuminati.

❝My Thoughts❞

I was excited and eager to read this book, when I found out about it. The synopsis intrigued me and I was hoping that the book would shine a little more background knowledge on the Illuminati, which is the cult-like group that uses astrology to better themselves materialistically. They're able to absorb the energy from the stars and somehow manipulate the elements and other's to see what they're projecting.

Gwendolyn "Dough" can be a very likable and relatable character in some respects. I like that she can be witty and have a dark sense of humor, sometimes. But, in all honesty, I did sort of find that her constant complaints about her weight issue, her comparison of herself to her younger Evie, the fact that she seemed to take a lot of verbal abuse and sometimes physical from others, and constant worry over whether or not Wish would break up with her when she see's just how much she's changed in the last four years to be quite stressing and frustrating at times. At one point, I just wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of it. If you don't like the way you look, then do something about it instead of sticking another donut in your mouth and proceeding to complain some more.

Although the book read pretty quickly, it was still about half way into the novel that it gets into the reason Wish has "morphed into a blond god" as Gwen would put it. As far as the romance goes, I found myself half wishing that the author would have explored a possible tentative relationship between Christian and Gwen, as I feel they were better suited for each other. I don't know, I just felt like the whole Gwen and Wish relationship was way too cookie-cutter for me. It was almost as if it were a little "too happily" ever after or something.

I'm not normally a fan of love triangles, but I feel like this would have been a fantastic one and the novel gave it the perfect set-up towards the end, but that's all I'll say to that as I'm hoping there's possibly going to be a sequel.

One thing I did enjoy quite a bit, was the fact that after Wish had seen the changes in Gwen, he still cared about her as he did four years ago when they were twelve years old. It was refreshing to see a novel where the heroine is average borderline obese and she's still liked for who she is by both guys who seem to care quite a bit about her. If I had to pick a favorite character, it would definitely be Christian. I can't help it, I have quite a thing for the mysterious types with a troubled past, and he was definitely not a disappointment.

Aside from Christian being my favorite thing about it, I loved the realness of this novel and I would encourage anyone to read it, if you enjoy reading novels about people who aren't afraid to be who they are and are true to themselves.

This was not a bad novel by any means, despite the few drawbacks that I felt it possessed while reading it. Actually, it was really good in how it set-up the character's and developed the mystery that Christian helped Gwen to solve, stemming around her boyfriend Wish. I will have to say that I did sort of feel as if the back half of it was a tad bit rushed, but still it read really well and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

So, I have no problem giving it three stars.


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