Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella
Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.
Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.
When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.
Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?
Publishes in US: March 30th 2014 by Sweenix Rising Books
Genre: NA contemp
Buy it: Amazon IndieBound Book Depository
Author stalk away: Nicole ~site ~twitter ~facebook ~blog
I wanted to read Starstruck because I saw in on Netgalley and emotional and/or physical abuse is a topic close to my heart and I devour well written books with these subjects. Having a baby when a teen or very young adult and not ready or planned is also something that normally draws my attention, so this is a premise I loved.
I got right into Lex's story and felt for her. She obviously cares so much for her son, Owen and everything she does now is for him. She spends so much time and attention on him and feels besides work there isn't much time for anything else in her life, because she is already tired and weary. We learn about how she ended up with a child, out of college, and left by her husband through time jumps. The first few are a bit jarring but I found that I quickly got used to it and the context. It is almost like just memories. It is so hard to see her jaded by former husband Brad who emotionally manipulated her and did quite a number to her self esteem. Girls like me when I was younger and Lex will believe what they are told by Brad and guys like him because they pray on our worst insecurities and fears about ourselves, so it is easy to believe coming from someone that we love and is supposed to, and maybe does love in their weird twisted sense.
The story is told in alternating points of view, with Jaron, a childhood friend and long time hater of Brad as the other starring character. Its told in third person pov, but I didn't find that to be a negative thing here and quickly got used to it. He is such a sweetie, but he hurt Lex even though he has been in love with her for forever. He comes back to town with his movie, pretty unwillingly. But once there, he and Lex and Owen are constantly running into each other, and he remembers why he fell for Lex and he also forms a bond with Owen which I think is what caused them to keep up continued interaction. Otherwise, I think that both would have been to afraid of being hurt again to keep up the dialogues and the hang out times.
Owen was such a sweet addition to the story. He had a real personality even though at times he is spot on for being three, other times he is written slightly unrealistically. He has too advanced conversations and understanding of art especially, and a talent that I am not sure is possible for kids (unless it is more advanced only from the eyes of Lex?) He brings humor and a sweet childlike wonder to the story without the emotional baggage, just wanting to be around his loving mother and the nice movie star who plays with him and gives him attention.
Towards the middle it slows down some and I still enjoyed but it didn't keep my attention like the beginning and end. I am not sure exactly what it was, because I really enjoyed the friends to falling in love, how slow they took it with Lex being so hurt by Brad and still learning to get on her own feet. The fact that Lex finds out about his feelings since high school she is also considerate that she doesn't want to give false hope, and she wants to rebuild the friendship aspect first, and then if the romantic feelings continue to follow from her, then that will make it better instead of only breaking a lifelong friendship. The fact that Jaron was so patient and understanding, especially once he realized the depth of the emotional abuse that Lex endured spoke volumes about the kind of guy he was. That partnered with his falling in love with Owen and the fun he has with the boy as well as learning to get through the harder aspects like the tantrums and the grunt work and is still willing to want to be in a relationship with Lex.
While there are a few mildly steamy moments, it is not as hot as other NA books that I have read, but there is a certain elegance to the way that she wrote it, as well as giving specific but not too gory details surrounding the emotional abuse.
I loved the way that Starstruck wrapped up, although I would certainly pick up another book about Lex and Jaron. Also, a few things that were mentioned made me think theres a possibility for a companion book with her best friend Maddie, and Jaron's agent, which would be cool.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Could you leave a job or school for a girl/boyfriend?