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Book Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

In case you had a lazy weekend like me, here’s what you missed the past few days:

  1. Harry Potter 7 Movie: Deathly Hallows Part 2 Review
  2. Reader’s Choice: What should I give away next?

On to the review…

Title & Author: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

Genre: YA- Mythology

Release Date: May 31, 2011

Series: Book 1 in a planned series

Publisher: HarperTeen

How I Got the Book: e-ARC

Description:

“How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.”

Pleasantly Surprised

To be completely honest, my expectations of Starcrossed weren’t too high. I had read a few reviews that didn’t list many positives about the writing or the plot of the book. While I agree with a few things that the critics had to say, I thought Starcrossed was a very entertaining read.

From start to finish, I enjoyed reading about Helen, the Delos clan and the deep mythology surrounding them both. I think Angelini has a great descriptive writing style, which paints scenes and characters vividly.

For example:

Noel whirled and bullied her way around her work space. Everyone was talking and laughing and arguing at the same time, and although Helen couldn’t understand a word, somehow they all seemed to be understanding each other. It was a Delos symphony, and Noel was the meastro.

As an outsider, Helen could see Noel for what she was- the center of the family, the beating heart that fed all the muscle she was tripping over while she was trying to cook. She was the personification of a warm frire and an open door…

I really enjoyed this style of writing and thought Angelini deftly wove a tale of betrayal, love and family honor. Some reviewers were put off by the third-person omniscient point of view, saying that it was almost too much information about each of the characters thoughts and actions.

I can definitely understand their point, but when I really love a story and what’s going on- it doesn’t bother me. I’m a give-me-all-the-details type of person, so I love finding out all of the juicy tidbits. If you don’t like that style, Starcrossed may be a bit off-putting.

Also, I really liked the themes included in this book. It added some depth and meaning to the story. My faves were:

  • Fate vs choice/free will
  • Choosing what your family wants vs choosing what you want
  • Being different vs blending in
  • Repeating others’ mistakes vs breaking a pattern

Not a Twilight Knock-Off

On the down side, Starcrossed did remind me of a certain popular vampire series…

Similarities Differences
  • Helen is completely obsessed with Lucas- in a way that borders on unhealthy (like Bella and Edward)
  • The Delos family reminds me a lot of the Cullens- mega gorgeous and strong but each with unique supernatural powers
  • Helen and Lucas are fighting against the natural order of things to be together
  • Helen’s lacks confidence and self-esteem like Bella
  • The mythology included in the book adds so much interest to the story- plus demigod powers are flippin awesome (and trump being a vampire any day…)
  • Helen isn’t powerless (in more ways than one) and shows potential to stop being…well, spineless
  • The romance is smoldering without the annoying overprotectiveness mixed in (cough, cough Edward)
  • The writing is very skilled. Not that Twilight wasn’t a good story, but the writing in that series was just ok.

Overall

I think the hype surrounding Starcrossed may have put off some reviewers. A lot of praise was generated pretty quickly, and some readers were left feeling a little flat.

If you’re looking a quick read full of forbidden (albeit high school) romance and fascinating mythology, Starcrossed is for you! If you’re looking for a book with a bit more substance and story line beyond “starcrossed” lovers or if you didn’t care for the Twilight series, then I would suggest reading a different book.

For me, the mixture of action, suspense and the world of demigods was a great combo. The pages turned quickly, and I finished the book feeling satisfied.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.