A review copy of this book was provided by Crown Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
When I read about this book on NetGalley I was thrilled – it seemed right up my alley. A cute romance between two childhood sweethearts, one who doesn’t believe in astrological signs (which I find very relatable) and one who lets the stars guide his life choices. While the concept was sound, I couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the book due to some issues in the storytelling.
When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for. As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.
Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.
One of the classic romance tropes is one character meddling in the love life of another character. This can be a fun trope, especially when you see characters having to pay for their actions and earn their happy endings. In Star-Crossed it didn’t really feel like any of the characters grew or earned their happy endings, they just went through the motions. Justine and Nick stayed pretty one-dimensional and didn’t develop throughout the book. I found Nick in particular to be wishy-washy and I couldn’t understand his motivations. Going into this book, I expected to relate a lot with Justine because I am a staunch disbeliever in astronomy, but I was surprised to find she was pretty easily convinced to believe in her horoscope. I didn’t find Justine and Nick to have a lot of chemistry – which made it hard for me to root for their happy ending. I also had a hard time believing that every character in this book believed in and put weight into horoscopes – I just couldn’t relate to any of the characters, nor could I suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the book.
This novel fell apart for me when it came to the main plot – even with the supplemental stories it was stretched thin and lacked content. It felt to me that had this book been shorter, it would have a bit more cohesive and had better pacing. The main story was pretty typical rom-com: Justine reunites with Nick and develops a crush. When her crush is not reciprocated, she begins to meddle with Nick’s horoscopes to try to sway him into dating her. There wasn’t much more to it than that – the rest of the plot points were pretty predictable and it made for a bit of a boring read. The main plot was supplemented by side stories of characters who had read the horoscopes from Justine’s magazine and had made decisions in their lives based around them. The fun part of these vignettes was that most of them were interconnected and some even connected to the main plot. It was a fun way to show the butterfly effect of Justine changing the horoscopes at first, but after a while they just detracted from the already simple main story and felt like a crutch. I also found myself forgetting names of characters in the side stories and having to go back to figure out how the stories were connected.
Overall, I was disappointed by the lack of content in the main plot and how predictable it was. It felt like it should be a novella, not a full novel. I would recommend this book to people who love to read their horoscope or who enjoy stories about the butterfly effect that one simple decision can have. 1/5