Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Starstruck by Cyn Balog

From Delacorte (Random House):
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?

This book was exactly what I was looking for; fun, quick, quirky and not a part of a series.  There was a beginning and an end to this story where everything was taken care of within the pages and finished with a sweet, happy ending that left me smiling and appealed to my little used sappy side.
Gwen was a hilarious heroine.  You know that feeling, when watching a tv show or movie with a heroine that is a complete mess and is about to do something socially inept and you scrunch down in your chair, because you just see it coming and you are completely embarrassed for them?  I had this feeling when watching Never Been Kissed and You Again (among others), but this was the first time I ever had that feeling reading a book.  And it was fabulous.
Wish, for his part, was sweet and lovable.  He was the popular boy we wish all popular boys would be.  You know, except for that whole Lumanati thing, oh wait, we love it when they are a little dangerous and damaged as well! 
Beyond being a sweet love story, the book explored the image issues faced by both girls and boys.  Gwen with her weight and being a social outcast at school and Wish with the lengths he was willing to go to be the good-looking popular boy.  I thought the issues were dealt with honestly without making the story too depressing and heavy. 
I gave Starstruck 4 stars and now am looking forward to reading Cyn Balog's Fairy Tale and Sleepless.

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