Starry Night - Coffee Shoppe Reads (REVIEW)


Ok, time for some confessions... Sometimes I choose a book merely because I like its cover. Other times it's because someone I trust as having good (book) taste read it. Sometimes, its because of a combination of the first two, plus I like the character that the author played on a show that I'm obsessed with. That is exactly what brought this book into my life.

For those of you who don't know, Isabel Gillies is the actress who played the role of Kathy, Elliot Stabler's wife on Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. A show that I have watched for years, and may be a bit obsessed with. When I heard that Gillies was an author, I was intrigued. When I saw Mariska (Hargitay) with the book, I ended up ordering it. Which brings us to this moment: my first ever review of a book that I didn't totally and completely enjoy. To be honest, I was hesitant as to whether I wanted to review the book as I wouldn't give it a high rating. I decided that it may be worthwhile if I share not only the books I love and enjoy, but also the ones that for me, are duds.

First off, this book falls into the Young Adult genre. I do enjoy reading YA novels (albeit, not exclusively), so that was not the problem. While there were bits of this book that I did enjoy, overall I felt that Starry Night fell short for me in a lot of ways. I felt like the story, which is of a young girl, her first love and how it changes her life, lacked continuity. While reading it felt like parts of the story were missing, which I think primarily stemmed from the dialogue which is where I found the problems to be most distinct. It was at times difficult to follow the dialogue because to me, it seemed to jump around a lot. I also found it to be cheesy at times, although, this might be entirely a personal thing...I can honestly say that I have no idea how young adolescents talk these days...(I am not "down", nor do I have the "411"...points if you know what movie this is from!)

Aside from the flow of the story and the way it was written, I also felt a bit irked by how the story unfolded. It is merely a story...yes. However, I think that I've grown quite tired of stories in which the female characters (main or otherwise), kowtow to the whims and desires of men. Yes I realize that this is a story of first love, but the male character in the book gets away unscathed despite less than stellar choices, while the relationship completely changes the course of the main character, Wren's life. While realistically, this happens all the time to women in relationships, it would have been nice to see a strong and independent woman, especially in a Young Adult novel, to give young girls an alternative to the weak and submissive female characters that live in the YA realm (not to say that this is always the case...just merely where my mind went when reading this book!). I think I would have enjoyed following Wren's art career far more than her love life, but I realize that would have been an entirely different book.

Overall, despite my criticism of the book, I cannot say that Starry Night is without merit. I did enjoy a quote from Nolan, Wren's love interest, in which he says:

 "life is weird, you know? It doesn't always go in a straight line and then" - he was still playing a little - " you have to figure out how the bent up line you got works." (p. 188) 

I also enjoyed when Wren's father, while having a bit of heart to heart with her says:

"To compromise who you are and where you are going because of emotion is bullshit." (p. 265) 

This line really stuck out to me and highlights the type of themes that I wish had been stronger and more dominating in the book. I actually think it was Wren's father, her friend Charlie and her brother Oliver who were the better characters in the story. I gave this book a 3/5 on Goodreads, which if you use, feel free to add me as a friend! If you've read Starry Night , please share with me what you thought of the book! I'm curious to know if I'm alone in my criticism of the story or not!

2016 Reading Goal: 3/12 completed. 

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