Monday, August 2, 2010

The Star Shack by Lila Castle

Title: The Star Shack
Author: Lila Castle
Pages: 224
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1, 2010

Pete and Annabelle live for their summers together on Gingerbread Beach. They've always believed they were a perfect pair… until junior year, when Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology. Now they can hardly stand each other. Pete thinks that Annabelle (a Leo) has become a total flake; Annabelle thinks Pete (a Scorpio) has become an uptight jerk.

When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the Boardwalk generating personalized horoscopes, their fast-paced, hilarious bickering soon rises to a fever pitch. The he-said/she-said advice of the Star Shack is wildly popular and seems able to fix any relationship problem… except their own.

But when one of Annabelle's star charts helps catch a thief, Pete might have to admit that the stars could really hold the key to the future…and to his own heart.
Pete and Annabelle are meant for each other. Or so they think. When Annabelle becomes obsessed with astrology, Pete starts thinking she's weird and breaks up with her. And since Annabelle knows Pete can't refuse a dare, she dares him to start The Star Shack with her. Too bad it backfires. Soon, Annabelle's fed up of Sarah, Pete, and Gingerbread. She thinks Pete is happy with Sarah, but is he really? Maybe Annabelle and Pete are really meant to be together. Or are they really?

A lighthearted tone, lively characters, and a quaint, yet intimate setting, The Star Shack charms readers with its exceptionally executed split narrative, and lively, quirky supporting characters. Pete and Annabelle's narrative presents both sides of the story and provides the reader with their biased, but nonetheless entertaining take on one another. And although the overall tone of The Star Shack is light, it still embodies deeper emotional turmoil and sentimentality, sustaining a fun, contemplating summer read.

Initially, Pete is perceived as a close-minded jerk but his narration is able to make the reader root for him as well. Pete's baseball obsession as a Boston Sox fan, is significant and sparks plenty of humorous banter with Annabelle and other New York Yankees fans. His internal conflict and pretense stops him from being with Annabelle and his sarcasm and comebacks are defense barriers that keep him detached from her. But as he learns more about astrology, his façade starts to break and he finally starts being true to himself. He finally realizes that Annabelle is really what he wants. His strong narrative truly portrays him as a practical, pensive character despite his faults.

Witty, passionate, and understanding, Annabelle is a well-developed character that emanates a cheerful personality, but is truly sensitive inside. She keeps her emotions well-hidden from the others, but the reader will unequivocally feel her emotions and heartache stirring within her as she struggles with Pete throughout the novel. Her viewpoint is optimistic at first, but as her friendship with Pete dissipates, so does her optimism. And even though their chemistry is palpable from the beginning, both Annabelle and Pete refuse to accept one another.

Astrology and baseball are extremely significant in The Star Shack, the combination of these two very different subjects is connected creatively and tangibly. Here, the idea of astrology is strongly questioned by Pete, and is strongly believed by Annabelle. Both sides are argued well with baseball incorporated into it. Lila Castle smoothly brings controversial topics into this entertaining novel and immediately sparks interest into the subject.

The Star Shack is a balanced, introspective read that makes readers reflect and muse about the subjects presented here. The great chemistry between the characters, the relaxed and easy tone of the book, and the fun concept of astrology and baseball, all pull together to contrive a beautifully written, perfect summer read. (A+)

The Bottom Line: Truly the perfect book for the beach =)

---Field Report---
Originality: 7/10
Ending: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Plot: 10/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 10/10
Theme: 10/10
Imagery: 10/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 5/5
Style: 5/5
Tone: 5/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 96/100 (A+)
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10 comments:

Shy August 3, 2010 at 12:45 AM  

I think I've seen this book before but I truly cannot recall what it is about until I read your review on it. I love how you described the two different subject that were combined in this book. I've never read such combinations, so it must enhance the original feel to this particular book. Excellent review as always! I totally wish I can write like you =)

miss cindy :) August 3, 2010 at 1:14 AM  

I really wanted to read this! It sounds really cute and I am glad you liked it. Great review :)

Karen August 3, 2010 at 3:13 AM  

I like that you get to know what both characters I thinking. Nice review - I'll check it out!

Kate August 3, 2010 at 5:07 AM  

Great review. I've never heard of this book before but it sounds like a fun read.

Mary Brebner August 3, 2010 at 6:35 AM  

Huh. I haven't heard about this book--but I'm definitely adding it to my TBR pile. Thanks for the great review and pointing me to another great book. :)

Darlyn August 3, 2010 at 6:04 PM  

I have to admit I like reading Astrology and i think it's fun.I think this is very exciting to know someone's actually love astrology and not only me. lol.great review!

Erika August 3, 2010 at 8:55 PM  

i always love reading your reviews. i think the way you present them to be objective yet descriptive is fantastic, so very professional. this book sounds adorable, and i'll probably check it out :)

Mary not so Contrary August 3, 2010 at 9:31 PM  

This book sounds so dang cute! Thanks for your great review of it. Although I do believe the Yankees STINK and I'm a big Red Sox fan I think I still might like this book! Thanks Reggie.

Kelli (I'd So Rather Be Reading) August 10, 2010 at 12:43 AM  

This was a great review. I really enjoyed it!

brandileigh2003 September 24, 2010 at 9:30 AM  

I haven't heard of this one, thanks for the review and putting it on my radar.

Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog (From CEP)

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