Thursday, September 25, 2014

Review: Starstruck

historical fiction


By Rachel Shukert
Delacorte Press, March 2013

About the Book

Every week they arrive in Los Angeles—beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It’s all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she’s discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She’s more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother; and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all—ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana’s boyfriend—Margo’s new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.

Set in Old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

 My Review 

Starstruck is delightful and fun. It is set in 1938 in Hollywood. It features three heroines; the narration switches back and forth between all three throughout the novel. The three aren’t always friends. But they aren’t always enemies either. Each girl has a dream, a hope, an idea of how they want their happily ever after to come about. Selfishness comes naturally, but, that doesn’t mean the girls lack depth of feeling.

 Margaret (Margo) Frobisher (Sterling) has dreamed of being discovered for years and years. She is more than a little obsessed with the movies, with the big stars. When she is discovered, her life will change forever. It wouldn’t have to be forever, but her family makes it super dramatic. If she signs a contract with Olympus Studios, if she chooses to become an actress, then they never want to hear from her again. No matter what. She can never come home. Margo doesn’t even take a minute to consider. To be a star is her destiny!

Amanda Farraday has reinvented herself more than once. She is another hopeful under contract at Olympus. She has not had her moment to shine . . . yet. She is not as obsessed with being a star as Margo. I think Amanda would settle for happily ever after off screen. I think Amanda just wants to be loved. Unfortunately, she seems to be caught in a world where appearance is everything and secrets have to stay buried because no one wants to live in the real world. I really cared about Amanda’s story.

Gabby Preston is a talented singer, and a fine actress. Is she a great dancer? Not really. And Olympus wants her to sing and dance and act. To make it big, she needs to have it all, and Gabby isn’t quite there yet. They encourage her to lose weight. They send her to a special doctor with special pills. Gabby is enthusiastic, or as enthusiastic as one can be when struggling. Is Gabby happy? No! She wants to be a big star. She wants a happily ever after. And that means a romance with a star. Even if that romance is dictated and scripted—the product of the studio. Gabby has never felt good enough. She’s always felt like an almost. Gabby, like Amanda, could use some good unconditional love. 

Starstruck also features mystery and romance. For me, this series has more potential than Luxe. I enjoyed Luxe, but saw the flaws and weaknesses with each book. That didn’t stop me from reading the series. I remember liking some characters, hating some characters. There weren’t any characters that I truly loved. In Starstruck I actually cared about all three girls. 

Becky’s Book Reviews
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