Starstruck is a YA contemporary/light fantasy novel by Cyn Balog.
Gwen Reilly has spent the last three years, since her best friend Wish left their small New Jersey island hometown, eating doughnuts. It's kind of hard not to when your Mom owns the place, you live above the doughnut shop, and you run it during the day without all that much help from your little sister. The doughnuts are just so good.
During the last three years Gwen and Wish have been emailing back and forth. In fact, the first email he sent her (when he first left and they were both thirteen) was a profession of his love and hope that she'd be his girlfriend. So, for these last three years Gwen's has been in a long distance relationship with her childhood best friend... Only problem?
Now he's coming back.
This throws Gwen into a panic since, well, she hasn't exactly told Wish that she's gained seventy pounds or become a social pariah. She likes their relationship as is - he's sweet and dorky and his lack of knowing her current situation makes their conversations the highlight of her day.
But that only ends up being half the problem. When he arrives he's not the old Wish she remembers. He's gorgeous, blond, muscled, and sought after by every girl at the high school. Waaaaayyyy out of Gwen's league. Yet, miracle of all miracles, he doesn't seem fazed by her weight gain and still seems into them being together.
Of course this doesn't calm Gwen's nerves though. All she can think is: why???
Not to mention there are some strange developments as well... Wish seems obsessed with the sun, kinda moody when it's not out in full force actually. And the potentially-recently-released-from-prison, creepy dude that's now working at the bakery is convinced he knows what's really going on.
And Gwen doesn't think any of it will end up well for her.
Alrighty - so first off, I loved that our main character Gwen is overweight. Truly overweight - not just by twenty pounds. It has a realistic element that is so rare in TV, movies, and even books. Anybody in the same boat can recognize her struggle to wear something other than Hanes "comfy" clothes, the near impossible task of finding something cute and stylish in her size, and the other issues she deals with. Cyn Balog does it all in a very non-self-pitying way, and shows us Gwen's wit and charm quickly.
But what really floored me? Only a few pages into Starstruck and I was "struck" with how absolutely flat-out HILARIOUS this book is!!! Oh, the situations our poor Gwen ends up in - oh my. You couldn't even try to make me give away the multitude of fantastic, crazy scenes that had me laughing out loud uncontrollably! Seriously, I was at work when I was reading Starstruck and I had to keep catching myself - didn't want to draw too much attention to myself with all the giggling and snorting that was escaping from me despite myself!
Plus, Cyn Balog infuses an element of mystery and oddness to Wish that lends a bit more weight and plot than just being funny. I was fully involved, right there at Gwen's awesome side, wanting to know what was up. It has a sense of fairy-tale whimsy, with a dose of honesty and (surprisingly) suspense.
If you want to be entertained, cheered up, and pulled into a fantastic, touching, genre-bending, down-to-earth yet up-in-the-clouds, relatively short story - read Starstruck. As for me, I was impressed with the level of uniqueness and utter exuberance presented in this tale.
Starstruck is a jubilant little gem that deserves to be noticed and enjoyed!
*Little note to all readers of the Bibliophile Support Group:
After this Friday's review, for the entire month of December and January I will be having five reviews a week! There are just too many books to read and too little time to talk about them! So during this holiday season, please stop by as often as you can to read new reviews every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday!!! Thanks for reading!