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Starstruck by Cyn Balog
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Starstruck

by Cyn Balog

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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.

~Shel

www.bibliojunkies.blogspot.com ( )
  bibliojunkies | Jan 7, 2012 |
What starts off as a great story about image, identity, and loving someone for who they are veers into absurdity with the addition of a supernatural storyline. Gwen's long distance boyfriend Wish is moving back to NJ after 4 years in CA. While they were apart, Gwen gained a considerable amount of weight and is now firmly secured as the biggest loser in her high school. Wish spent his time in CA getting buff, tan, and "god-like". When they reunite Gwen is sure that Wish will run for the hills. What she discovers, instead, is that Wish's looks aren't what they seem-as a member of the Illuminati Wish uses the stars to help control others perception of him. The supernatural storyline is hinted at early but becomes a part of the plot too late in the book to be taken seriously. This could have been a great book about loving someone for who they are rather than how they look, but the addition of a supernatural storyline just makes it absurd and unbelievable. ( )
  BrittDonohueWhite | Jan 1, 2012 |
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 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, Christian, happens to get hired at Dough's family bakery at the exact same time Wish moves back, the teenage boy happens to also be from California where Wish is 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. Aside from that, there was nothing too special about it, and the characters weren't very memorable. I would still like to read Balog's Sleepless, though, because I've heard great things about it. I just hope the characters in that book have more depth to them than the characters in Starstruck did. ( )
  Kayla-Marie | Oct 12, 2011 |
I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book, but when I started reading, I immediately forgot all my doubts. Cyn Balog with an addictive prose, brings us a funny and realistic story about a girl who has weight problems.

Gwen, also known as Dough, receive an email of her boyfriend, Wish, who lives in California. He is coming back and that is when Gwen's life turns upside down. What is she going to do? Her boyfriend hasn't seen her since he moved to California, and she has gained about 70 pounds.

This is the first time I read a YA book that has a main character who is fat. (Something I think should be more in YA books) She doesn't has a stunning red hair, or an amazing body, or a lovely face. Gwen can be a normal girl, like any other that has real problems, real problems like overweight, or being ignored by the rest of the school. Also add a great personality, funny situations and comments and you will be able to see her clearly. But of course, her character is also complicated. She feels bad about her shape, and she is trying all the time to find something in her body that is nice, like her toes. Specially when she finds out that her boyfriend is coming back. You can see her worried and sad, and trying to look better.

I had the opportunity to read some reviews about this book, and I found a few of them saying that Gwen spends all the book complaining about her shape and she was annoying. In my case, I didn't find her annoying. I found her realistic, and I identified with her, even thought I don't have weight problems… well…not anymore. : S

What I didn't like about this book was the Luminati thing. The book was perfect without that, specially because all that Luminati thing came almost at the end of the book. I thought it was a joke, or something like that. The book was really short for making things more complicated with supernatural themes. Also, I didn't enjoy too much the end. What I understood about it was that Wish needed to be plain and normal to be with her… and hey, a girl has right to dream, right? Why not a hut guy? Why he didn't stay in the way he was?

Well, like I said before, this is a short and funny and light story, good for spending a nice time. But also, among jokes, you will find how cruel can life be when we are not a magazine model, and how cruel people can be for the same reason. Recommended! ( )
  idroskicinia | Aug 2, 2011 |
This book is nothing what I expected. It had some great elements in the book that had me hooked. First off the main character, Dough. I loved this girl. She is so insecure that you just want to help her. She is one character that is real in all kinds of ways. She is selfless and thinks about others. I do dislike the way she see's herself. She is constantly putting herself down and I am glad that someone saw her for her.

Now, the plot of this book is somewhat ironic. Wish is unsatisfied with the way he looks so he turns to worshiping the stars and sun which make him in turn handsome. I thought this is strange yet ironic scenario. He likes Dough for who she is but doesn't like himself? HUH? In the end it doesn't matter what other people think about you, it what you think about yourself that matters. In the mist of everything, Wish put all of that aside to save the one person he loved before it was too late. Wish, I am so proud of you!

I really enjoyed the loved interest in this book. Though I thought it could go either way, it did take me surprise but it was also kind of obvious. I really like that Dough had such a great relationship with Wish. I loved that they had a back round history to each other and even sustained a long distance relationship. It really showed how much they truly do care for each other.

Starstruck is great, written book with a unique yet similar storyline. We all want to change something about ourselves but it is worth risking the person we love? I loved that this plot hit so many things at home for people. It brings to light what really matters, what we think of ourselves. ( )
  Bookswithbite | Jul 13, 2011 |
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Sixteen-year-old Dough is surprised when her long-distance boyfriend returns to New Jersey after four years and still finds her beautiful, despite her seventy-pound weight gain, until Dough learns that he's a member of the Luminati--an ancient cult of astrologers who can manipulate the stars to improve their lives.… (more)

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