Sunday, June 12, 2011

Starstruck by Cyn Balog ARC Tour

 First of all, I would like to say a great big "TY" to Yara over at Once Upon a Twilight for including me in this ARC tour.  Yara, you rock!  The blog tour button is clickable, so you can see other reviews of this book.  Just click on it and it will take you to the OUaT blog and the tour stops.  Now, on to the book review!

Starstruck by Cyn Balog

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 Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book.  Cyn Balog has been on my TBR list for a while, but I haven’t gotten around to any of her books.

I am definitely going to make time to read them now.  Starstruck blew me away!

I’m not sure exactly what it was about this story that was so wonderful.  One thing I loved is that Dough is such a normal girl.  Not even normal, really.  She’s overweight and not popular.  I get tired of these books where the main character is supposedly “plain” and “non popular” for some mysterious reason, yet they are also beautiful and flawless.  In this book, we see why Dough is not popular.  She’s overweight, suffers from self-confidence issues and is a geeky, smart girl. 

The story with the mystery behind the transformation of Wish was a great storyline.  But even better was the real transformation of Dough from a wallflower to a girl who embraced herself as she was and started to like herself and be more confident.  The supernatural element of the story almost felt secondary to me, but I was perfectly ok with that.

Another appealing part of the book was how real the characters felt.  I teach high school and I’ve seen every one of those characters in my high school!  Ms. Balog managed to capture the high school stereotypes realistically.  It didn’t feel forced and the dialogue didn’t feel like she was trying too hard to write “teenagese”. 

I think this book will have a lot of teen appeal.  Many of the teens that I teach who read are those sort of geeky, smart girls!  This is a story that is perfect for them because they can see just how life-changing it is to embrace who you are and not worry about it.  It is also a very quick read.  It jumps right into the story without too much background being given and it sucks you right into the action.  I can see teen readers gobbling this one up.

The only thing I didn’t like about this book is that I wish I had gotten more information about the Luminati.  It felt like a plot device that was never brought to fruition.  It left me frustrated that I never really understood exactly what they were and how the whole thing worked.

I have to give this one an A-.  It’s an inspiring story that’s easy to read, has a nice paranormal twist to it and is inspiring to all of us “normal” people out there.  The minus is because I think the Luminati story line was under developed.  Regardless, it’s a nice, quick summer read that will leave you feeling happy.

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