Saturday, April 1, 2017

Starstruck by Cyn Balog

Rating: WARTY!

This one is my third Cyn Balog novel. I liked the first two, but ran into issues with this one. It's about this overweight girl, Gwendolyn Reilly, who is so limp she allows people (even her family and boyfriend) to call her 'Dough'. Her boyfriend, Philip Wishman idiotically gets to be called 'Wish'. Honestly? Gwen hasn't seen him in three or four years because his family moved away. He's about to return (why now isn't explained), but in the meantime she's put on weight, and he's grown California surfin' good looks. He's also magically a celebrity for no apparent reason because half the school goes to welcome him back at the airport. Why? No explanation. Gwen doesn't go because everyone else does.

Her behavior is inexcusable. She doesn't say a word to him in their emails or on the phone about having put on so much weight - she simply leaves it for him to find out and potentially be shocked by It, which makes her thoroughly dishonest. When he arrives and they finally meet - the next day at school - she won't even look him in the eyes and she mumbles excuses to get away from him. In short, she treats him like dirt. At this point I flatly did not like Gwen at all.

The novel would not have been so bad if it had not been so predictable. It seemed pretty obvious from the moment the oddball new guy (with the questionable past) turned-up to work in the donut shop her family owns, that Gwen would be breaking-up with her wish and falling right into the arms of her savior Christ-ian, because god forbid any woman stand on her own two feet and be without a man to validate her for any length of time. The alternative to that would be that she manages to make a go of things with Wish.

It's inevitably first person voice, which with a few rare exceptions, I hate. This voice serves here only to make Gwen's constant harping on her weight even more obnoxious than it would have been had it been third person. It's not remotely amusing to read, and it made for a trying slog. Girl, if it bothers you that much, then do something about it. Cyn Balog seems to specialize in stories about young women who are thoroughly lacking in self-confidence and motivation.

I decided I'd give this one a little longer to see if it turned around because the other two books I read by this author weren't bad at all. The problem is that this one is so (forgive me the term) larded with cliché as to be pathetic. Gwen is poor, everyone else on the island is rich. There are not overweight rich kids. There are no other "poor" kids. It's sad that the novel is this thin, but Balog's novels tend to be that way. They just not usually as bad as this one in my experience, and the experience here was a bad one. I did not like this book, and I do not recommend it.

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