Saturday, March 23, 2013

Book Review: Starstruck

StarstruckAuthor: Rachel Shukert
Publication Date: March 12, 2013
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers

“Wit, pluck, darkness, pitch perfect period details, juicy twists, and big heart. This book is one to savor.”--Anna Godbersen, New York Times bestselling author of the Luxe and Bright Young Things series

A golden age of glam . . .

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.

Larry Julius put on his hat. ‘This is Hollywood, kid. Who the hell knows the difference?’

The Dream Factory. Margaret heard the phrase a thousand times, she’d always thought it was one of those hazy terms, like Tinseltown or La-La Land, that movie magazines and gossip rags like to toss around to make it seem as if Hollywood were a land apart, a through-the-looking-glass kind of place where the rules of the real world did not apply. She’d never considered that it might have something to do with the fact that being on the studio lot felt a lot like stepping into a dream.

And yet here she was, just another starstruck eighteen-year-old girl. A girl in love with a boy and the starry vision of herself she saw in his eyes. A girl in love with her dreams, who thought she was willing to give up anything to make them come true.

Olympus Studios was like another world. Set on the side of a hill, it was partially hidden by fat clouds, like some artist's rendering of the mythological home of the Greek gods that was its namesake. Rows of fragrant eucalyptus trees flanked the winding path that led to a tall outer wall of glittering pink stone. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Olympus’s chief rival studio, had a famous slogan: ‘More Stars Than There Are in Heaven.’ Maybe MGM had more stars, Margaret thought, gazing up at the enormous wrought iron gate, worked in an Art Deco motif of moons and shooting stars. But what did it matter when entering the gates of Olympus was like entering the gates of heaven itself?

For those attracted to the glamour and lights of Hollywood, this will be a perfect read for you. We first meet Margaret, who becomes Margo later on, as she sits in a diner near the flashy streets of Hollywood. We soon learn that she is about to be discovered by one of Hollywood’s biggest names, Larry Julius. Margaret’s story turns into a story about three girls who are all trying to make names for themselves while pushing and shoving their way through the Hollywood lights, camera, and definitely a whole lot of action! When the famous Diana Chesterfield turns up missing everyone starts questioning their positions and who they can really trust.

I will be very honest when I say that this book started off a little slow to me. I have always been intrigued with Hollywood and all the publicity, stars, and mysterious stories that surround it; however, when I first started reading I was getting a little tired of the background information and wanted to cut right to the chase. Things did pick up drastically once we find all three girls in the center of the action. Margo’s life was rather mundane at home and I was tired of reading about her life as a schoolgirl. But when she got to Hollywood and was thrown in the lion’s den, the plot certainly became a lot more interesting and the story took some amazing twists and turns.

Two things in this book were done really well. One was a character. Amanda Farraday was my absolute favorite character and I loved rebellious personality and the fact that she came from a horrible background, but rose above it. She was written with this fire and spark that none of the other characters had and I absolutely loved it. Secondly, I loved the mystery behind the missing Diana Chesterfield. I kept relating her story to Marilyn Monroe, in a way, because that is just how I have always viewed Hollywood in the early and middle 1900’s. Her missing character had me on edge and it was one of the driving aspects that made me get through this novel so quickly!

***A HUGE thank you to the publishers at Delacorte Books for Young Readers for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. great review! I added this book to my TBR. New for me. Sounds like a great historical fiction.