Review: Starstruck by Cyn Balog

(**I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for a thoughtful review).

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?

Let me start off by saying Cyn Balog has done it again. I’m a huge fan of her novels and you could tell that I was excited for her new novel.

I. Loved. Gwen. She is hysterically sarcastic and just a complete teenager. Balog used certain words and slang that teens use today (which made my day). Why did it make my day? Well, a lot of novels I read do not use slang because it will be ‘outdated’ in a few years. I’m glad Balog took the risk because it made the story that much better for me. I pictured Gwen as one of my peers, not some fictional character. Her voice was very easy to fall into, making the story run smoothly because I automatically clicked with her. I applaud Balog for acing the tone of a young adult perfectly.

Starstruck tackles the subjects of insecurity and the desire to fit in / be perfect. Society has a certain view on what ‘perfect’ is; thin and good-looking. Not only does Gwen want to fit in and lose weight, the pressure is also put on Wish and Gwen’s sister, Evie. I really liked how that desire affected more than just the main character because it showed that everyone can be insecure. The pressure to be perfect affects everyone and this novel shows that love is louder.

I found the subject of the Luminati to be very interesting. Obviously, the group and belief play a part in the novel. I wish there was just a little more information about the group because I felt like I did not completely grasp the idea of what they were.

I swear Cyn Balog never disappoints! If you are looking for an awesome read that makes you laugh a lot I suggest you pick up this book! Honestly, how can you not? Go check it out!

Rating: 4 / 5

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