Series: The Ladybirds #4
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens on March 10th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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A spotlight shines down on the two of us and everyone drifts into the shadows...
Pearl is destined to be the star of this year's school musical. Being the lead is all she wants - especially as it means kissing super-hot Jake Flower.
Then a new girl walks into the audition... Hoshi can sing, she's an amazing dancer and she's seriously cute. Before Pearl knows it, she's stolen her part, her friends and Jake's attention!
But this girl doesn't know who she's messing with. Pearl's used to battling every day and she's not going down without a fight. Sparks are going to fly!
Star Struck, the fourth book in Jenny McLachlan’s companion series, is a very fast-paced and easy contemporary read. If you’re looking for something quick to read, with some good character development, you should check out these companion novels. I’ve previously read Sunkissed (The Ladybirds #3) and also enjoyed the character development and female friendships in that novel.
This book is about Pearl, a tough girl who causes lots of trouble for her teachers and friends at school. She loves musical theatre and almost always gets the lead female role. But not this year. In her school’s production of Romeo and Juliet, Pearl is pushed to the side when a new girl, Hoshi, comes to her high school. And it isn’t just her drama teacher who seems to love Hoshi – it’s all of Pearl’s friends and her crush who seem to love Hoshi more than Pearl as well. Having no one to turn to, Pearl decides to take matters into her own hands.
I liked the character development that was in this book. Pearl goes from being a bit of a bully to becoming a great friend. Hoshi really brings her out of her shell and makes her a better person. However, I did have some problems with the character development, which I also remember having when I read Sunkissed last year. I felt like Jenny McLachlan purposely made Pearl very, very dislikeable at the beginning of the book so that whatever character development she had would seem a lot more profound than it actually was. I found her to be really nasty and vindictive in the first half of the book and I’m not sure that making her normal at the end is sufficient character development. However, I am glad that she learnt to respect others and herself by the end of the book. I just wished that she hadn’t started off as such a terrible friend and human being in the beginning of the book.
In addition to being a fluffy contemporary read about friendship and high school, this book also explores domestic violence and physical abuse. Pearl’s older brother is a little bit of a psychopath and loves to take his anger out on Pearl. There were some really sickening scenes where he physically abuses her and destroys her belongings (and in particular, one scene that is so disturbing that I can’t even think about it). I’m glad that the author tries to explore this issue in Star Struck because domestic violence and violence against women is such a big issue today. However, I don’t think that it was properly resolved. The book ends with a temporary solution to the situation and I would have liked a little bit more resolution to the issue. A lot of people who are going through the same situation aren’t going to have the same solution as an option and I don’t think that the book did the issue justice. Another aspect of the book that I really liked was the LGBTQ+ aspect of the novel. However, again, I didn’t think that it was explored enough. It kind of came out of nowhere and I’m not sure that it was necessary to have included it in the book. But I did really appreciate the gesture and the message that it conveyed.
Even though there were some things that were a little bit underdeveloped for my liking, I still really enjoyed Star Struck and finished it in one sitting. It’s a great book about female friendships and I enjoyed the characters in this book for the most part.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia for sending a review copy of the book.
Star Struck was published by Bloomsbury Children’s on March 10th 2016 and is available at all Australian retail stores for RRP $AU14.99.