Publishing Info: March 12, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 1, 2013 (Marked as DNF)
A new series set in the golden age of glam . . . 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.
Despite my frustrations with picking up a book and deciding not to finish, I actually really like writing DNF reviews for a very specific reason — There’s always a different reason I’ve chosen not to finish. In the case of STARSTRUCK, it really wasn’t that I felt like the book was awful or unbearable. I made it about 100 pages into the book and just didn’t find myself connecting with any of the characters or the setting.
STARSTRUCK is set in the golden age of Hollywood (think Singin’ in the Rain — after the transition from silent films to “the talkies”, where movies stars are THE legends). I really thought this was going to be such an interesting time period to read about and I was really hoping to get swept away with all of the glamor of Hollywood, but I just never made that connection. Instead of really getting into it, I had a hard time placing myself in that time period.
The characters didn’t come together for me either. Margaret was a perfectly nice girl — and the character I really got to know the best throughout the first 100 pages — but I never got interested in her story and didn’t find myself behind her or rooting for her to have all of her dreams fulfilled. If I can’t get behind the main character, it just makes it really hard for me to continue with a book and not struggle with it the rest of the way.
Another thing I knew would be the final nail in the coffin was the mystery. There was a small mystery set up and Margaret was curious enough to start digging and possibly solve it… But I found myself not really caring what happened at all. Before I became obsessed with YA, I was a mystery girl through and through. If the mystery of the story doesn’t interest me, there’s no way I’m going to make it through and come out the other end of the book enjoying it.
Overall, STARSTRUCK didn’t seem like a “bad book”. It just wasn’t the book for me. If all of these things interest you, I’d say give it a shot! Personally, I just didn’t make the connections with the book like I had hoped to and chose not to invest the time in finishing when I could tell I was already struggling.
** Updated 4/24 ** Disclaimer: It has come to light that I need to put a disclaimer regarding DNF reviews. It is my policy to review every book that I read and I include books that I wasn’t able to finish in that category, provided I had read enough of the book to share my thoughts. For the case of STARSTRUCK, I was working with the publisher on this book and had informed them that I was struggling with the book and had chose not to finish. I had full permission to post my review from the publisher and that is why I chose to still write a review for this book. I understand that marking books as DNF can be a sensitive subject, especially when posting reviews for them so I thank you for respecting my feelings about the book as understand the reasons why I posted a DNF review.
Margaret: Margaret was really the only character I got to know well enough to talk about, and even then I’m not sure what to say. She was a perfectly fine girl but seemed very plain (despite the descriptions of her beauty). Her personality didn’t pop off the page for me and I just had a hard time saying, “YES, I want good things to happen to you!” I just didn’t even feel invested in Margaret’s story.
I’ve come to realize that I just don’t particularly connect with this era. I have trouble reading with a few select time periods for some reason and I’m not sure why but this happens to be one of them, unfortunately!
12 thoughts on “Starstruck – Rachel Shukert”
I do work on occasion as a reader for a highly successful literary agency and publishing house and am always told that if I can’t get past the first four chapters then that book isn’t getting published so I think a DNF review is definitely legitimate and ethical. I also write a readers report on why I didn’t finish so if its good enough for professional publishing agencies then its definitely okay for bloggers. Brittany was spot on in her review because it was HER review. It’s up to other readers to ultimately make their own decisions.
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this! I’ve never known the publishing side so that’s very interesting to hear!
Personally, I think your choice to share a DNF review is pretty fair considering you got 100 pages in. I think that you did a great job making it clear what aspects just did not work for you, and based on that, other people will be able to judge whether or not they’ll enjoy a book. Everyone has different tastes so it stands to reason that everyone will enjoy different books as well.
That having been said – I’m actually excited about this one. There’s something intriguing about the setting, and I adore the cover. I only got it fairly recently, and I’m hoping to read it soon. Here’s to hoping I like it!
Thanks, Alexa! I really hope you like it. Sadly I just didn’t feel connected to the book but I really think a lot of other people out there could really enjoy it! It’s a time period that I feel like you don’t see out there often!
I’ll be honest, I RARELY review DNF books, mostly because I don’t feel that’s fair to the book. However, when I’m part of a tour or whatever, I feel like I owe it to the author and the publisher to either give a good review or opt out of it, because I always think the point of a tour is to spread the good word about the book. Although, I do hate it when people are like “if you don’t like it, please don’t review it!” I think I prefer what you did here, giving an honest reasoning behind WHY this book didn’t work for you, whether you finished it or not. I think it’s incredibly classy that you didn’t have any snarky comments or “oh this book is terrible” comments about the book. I mean, even though I trust you as a reader and the books you rec, this one sounds good to me. I probably won’t read it, because I just don’t want to, but despite everything you said, the premise still sounds good.
Anyway, my point is… you kept it classy. Keep up the good work! I actually like DNF reviews that are honest like this! 🙂
I’m so glad that you still reviewed this one even though it didn’t work for you. It wasn’t a book on my radar at all, to be honest, but the premise sounds interesting so now I think I will keep my eyes open for other reviews and decide if I want to read it!
I am sorry that you didn’t like this one but I give you credit for reading so far into it before marking it as a DNF, I definitely wouldn’t have given it that much of my time! Also, how awesome are you for contacting the publisher and asking for her opinion regarding reviewing this book? DNF are really sensitive subjects, it really frustrates me when people say “do not read this” or RATE IT ON GOODREADS when they have barely read it..but I digress, you didn’t do that! You wrote an honest and thorough review which I can totally respect and it honestly put this book on my radar for the future!
I have this one at home and was looking forward to reading it. I’ll still give it a try, but I hate books where I can’t connect to the characters and I often DNF books like that, too.
For sure! I’ve heard some really good things about it as well so of course it’s worth a try! It was just a personal connection for me that I never made and I felt bad that I wasn’t liking the book. I’d be interested to hear what you think! 🙂
I don’t usually comment on posts, and I usually like your reviews a lot. But I have to say something that has bothered me elsewhere–I think it’s highly suspect, even unethical, to review a book you haven’t finished. Don’t want to finish it? Characters didn’t grab you? Fine, then don’t review it. You’re not reporting on the whole story, because you didn’t have it. This is the policy of legitimate book reviewing outlets–if bloggers consider themselves those, then they should have it too.
And it makes me double angry, I guess, because I LOVED this book, and to hear you put it down just as the stories of the three girls intersect, and Margaret’s character is about to come into her own, leave home, and go to Hollywood for real, and that small mystery becomes a VERY large one, and the book really gets going. It’s like, you are rejecting the book based on stuff that is all a prelude to the cool part. Which, if that’s a problem for you, okay, but again–then don’t review it! Don’t turn readers off an awesome book, when you don’t have the whole story, Which is awesome and exciting. And it’s amazing to me that people will happily read 600 pages of like, Bella Swan doing nothing but talking about the color of Edward’s eyes, but won’t read through a great, well-written book that has a huge payoff at the end.
Like I said, I don’t mean to sound mean to you or anything, but this thing about people reviewing DNF books really burns me up. Finish it, and then we’ll talk.
Good morning Kathryn!
First, thanks for commenting, I noticed that you stated that you usually like my reviews a lot so I am sorry that the first time you are commenting is to let me know how angry you are about my opinion. I am going to do my best to touch upon the issues that you had with my review:
First, I want to mention that I disagree with your use of “highly suspect” and “unethical” in response to reviewing books that are unfinished. These words bring to light dishonest and immoral behavior, which is erroneous in regards to something that a person tried, and failed at. I want to remind you that I read over 100 pages of this novel, and didn’t feel connected to it; it was not a book that I put down after only a few chapters. I’m not even going to bring up the fact that you question bloggers and their legitimacy because that will open a host of problems.
To a point, I can agree with you that it is inaccurate and unfair when a person reviews or rates a book that he or she hasn’t read or completed. I was troubled by the idea of marking this book as DNF, especially since I had received it from the publisher that I did go back and contact them to ask if she wanted me to opt out of reviewing and being part of the tour that I was reading it for. I was glad that she encouraged me to still post my review of the novel as authors enjoy positive and negative reviews, as long as the reviewer give reasoning as to why he or she didn’t thoroughly enjoy the book. As you can see from my review, I gave evidence as to why this particular book didn’t work for me and went on to state that the connections between myself and the characters didn’t happen, but not once did I tell people to not read the novel. I try not to discourage people from reading books that I didn’t enjoy because I have several friends who have very different reading tastes from my own and they could very well enjoy this one as much as you did!
I am extremely sorry to hear how angry you feel over my opinion on Starstruck, and I am equally thrilled that you loved it and are so passionate about making your feelings known. You said, “It’s like, you are rejecting the book based on stuff that is all a prelude to the cool part,” and my response to this is simple, I didn’t enjoy the prelude, and therefore had no desire to continue on with the novel. Regarding your comments on Twilight, there are many readers who will happily argue the importance of the color of Edward’s eyes much like you have argued your love of Starstruck. That is the beauty of being an avid reader, we all have different opinions. As stated in my review, some books may work for one person, and not work for another.
Finally, in response to your last comment “Finish it, and then we’ll talk,” I would have happily chatted with you about the things I did or did not like about Starstruck. However, you have already made your opinion clear regarding my review, so I fear there is nothing left to talk about.
Thanks again for commenting, and I hope you will comment again in the future on a review from me that you enjoy!
I really appreciate you taking the time to write such a long and thoughtful response to my post. And please know, I’m not calling you personally unethical, and I’m sorry if I sounded accusatory that way. But I’ve been reading a lot of DNF reviews lately (elsewhere, and about other books) and they just really bother me. I just don’t think they’re fair, and I’m sorry, but that’s just my opinion. I didn’t mean to make it sound like yours was less fair–in fact, compared to a lot of others I’ve read, it was pretty even-handed. But I personally am just very opposed to this practice, whether the publisher condones it or not. Although I give you a lot of credit for contacting them. That’s very cool of you.
I am glad to hear that it doesn’t seem to turn other people off the book/series. I enjoyed it so much and I think other people will too. But this is much more about my problem with DNF reviews than Starstruck itself, which, obviously, people are entitled to different opinions about. As you said, that’s part of what makes reading great!
Anyway, I’m sorry to take my frustration out on you. It’s just something that has been bothering me lately and you caught me on a bad day, I guess. Thanks again for your reply!
Really Kathryn? I find DNF reviews helpful quite often. Brittany (and many other bloggers) do a good job of explaining why the book didn’t work for them. DNF reviews never turn me off of books.