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ARC Review: Shooting Stars

my thoughts in a few sentences: Shooting Stars is that cute guy/girl who, although he or she isn't the most gorgeous across the planet, makes us laugh and ensnares us anyway. A cute, light, funny read that has all the appeal of a Disney movie, Shooting Stars features a sarcastic main character who unexpectedly reconnects with herself and faces long-buried issues, all while developing an adorable, though predictable crush on the teenage heartthrob of the Hollywood she knows so incredibly well, a kind boy who has secrets of his own to keep hidden. Although it has an element of unbelievability, the differentness of Jo's life makes Shooting Stars that much more of a fun, entertaining read.

interesting first line: "I crouch behind some thick green shrubbery to do my final check."

Rating: Sud-Kissed | Walker/Bloomsbury • NetGalley • Contemporary Romance • 2/28/12 • $9.49



Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.


I understood the gist of Shooting Stars going in, and I had my own predictions as to how the plot was going to swerve, but I didn't expect to be so thoroughly entertained. The dry humor in Jo's narration is so easy to flow into and enjoy that I found myself grinning at some of her mocking commentary. Rushby really nails the voice of a teenager, striking me with the certainty that I was reading about a girl just like me or my friends in manner, though she lives quite the outlandish lifestyle. Despite the predictable route of the story and the unsatisfying resolution, Shooting Stars kept me amused and interested, a light, relaxing read that takes the edge off of its more edgy, darker counterparts in the YA market.

Jo is a paparazzo, second generation, and very good at what she does. One of the few so young—not to mention short—in the business, she tends to capture shots of her celebrity targets in ways no one else can, a notorious master of disguise and sleuthing. But, sticking to what she knows—and what brings in the cash—isn't her lifelong dream. No, instead she hopes to go to school and hone her skills to one day become a portrait photographer. It seems her dream is fated when a high-paying job crops up and whisks her away to a facility where Hollywood sensation Ned Hartnett is said to be staying. What she doesn't expect is her conscience to block the way to success and to unravel the delectable mysteries of her secret crush. Getting to know Ned turns out to be more heartwarming than Jo could ever have imagined, and her constant struggle with how to proceed touches a cord of sympathy in us, as she's torn between taking a huge step toward her goal or sacrificing the chance to make it happen more quickly than she initially planned. Still, her uncertainty doesn't detract from her appealingly cynical outlook that often induces our smiles and chuckles.

Our main qualms with Shooting Stars isn't necessarily due to the unsurprising resemblance in the pacing and plot direction to other airy contemporary novels that read along the same lines, but with the easy resolution to a very minor conflict that leaves a slight impact and the lack of character depth in the main love interest. Really Jo's crush has more of a surface perfection, sparking off the temperature and lifting our smiles, certainly, but never seeping into our hearts with his likes, views, and feelings. And the fun predictability of the story is marred by the downplay of Jo's internal conflict, which incites very little reaction in the guy she means to betray and following that is a cookie-cutter ending that felt half-done.

Even so, with all the hardcore books we read, Shooting Stars is a pleasant break from what we typically read and gives us the chance to relax and feel cheerful as opposed to the soberness and tension we sometimes feel from books we're more heavily immersed in. A fun, heartening read, Shooting Stars is a comical story of reconnection, self-discovery, and the importance of family, all wrapped up in an attractive package.

I'm not at all worried about the stealth thing; I'm used to that. I've spent half a day in a Dumpster, hidden by a cardboard box. I've 'borrowed' a tent from an electrical company and camped out on the sidewalk for a whole twenty-four hours, an orange safety jacket on my back and a hard hat on my head. I've pretended to be a replacement dog walker and effectively kidnapped a dog for several hours. But this—entering a treatment facility, rehab or otherwise, to take pictures—is simply... low. Lower than low. (8%)

Even though I'll never have what they have, I can do this for them. I can capture this fleeting moment in time that will last forever and not just be thrown out with tomorrow's trash. Because I know that they'll keep these photos forever. They'll still be looking at these photos when they're eighty.
It's pretty special to be able to do that for someone. (96%)

17 comments:

Caitlin Lomas said...

This is a great review Asher. I love the sound of this one but I'm glad to be prepared for the ending now, I hate it when endings disappoint me.

The Cait Files

Asher_Knight said...

Yeah, the ending didn't really do anything for me, but overall I really liked the story! Mostly, it was all Jo. I hope you have a fabulous time reading it!

Anna said...

A "pleasant break" kind of read sounds good -- I think I need to check it out. Entertainment value is good even if you're a little disappointed!

Asher_Knight said...

Yes, it felt good to sit and catch a nice lull in between crazy intense reads like the paranormal books I love so much! Hehe.

The ending let me down a little, but overall it was just all-around fun and I chuckled multiple times :)

Jenny said...

I didn't really expect much from this one either when I picked it up, but like you, I was really entertained! While I knew how things would ultimately end up, I was a little surprised at the way Jo got there, I expected more drama when the truth came out, and I was pleasantly surprised when the angst was kept to a minimum:) Predictable yes, but fun just the same I thought. Wonderful review Asher, I always enjoy reading your thoughts!

Christy @TheReaderBee said...

I've been curious about this book for a while now, and yours is the only review I've read for it so far. Glad to see you enjoyed it!

Sam said...

Sounds like a fun light read! Jo sounds like a narrator I would love. Me and dry humour get along just fine. ;) Awesome review! 

Ari said...

This sounds like fun and I can't wait to read it too. One of these days when I'll need t relax a bit I think I'll take a chance with it ;)) Great review!Happy midnight reading!

Asher_Knight said...

 I know, it was so easy to laugh and enjoy myself despite it's predictability. And I think a lot of MG fans would actually like this as well :)

Thanks, Jenny <3

Asher_Knight said...

 I thought it was pretty weird that I haven't seen much buzz about it. It's not a bad book, but a rather entertaining one that brings out tons of laughs. Hope you like it too!

Asher_Knight said...

Oh, yeah, this one is PACKED with dry humor. You should definitely give it a whirl if that's your thing. And thanks, Sam <3

Chelleyreads said...

looks like a super cute read. yes, we all need a break from the heavy reads.

Asher_Knight said...

 It's very cute and fun. Definitely a perfect breather ;)

Liz. R said...

I have this one on my Kindle! Sounds really fun, and I think I need a break from those heavier books. I'm a bit wary about the ending, but at least I can read it without expecting too much. Fab review!

Ruby said...

I wasn't originally interested in this one, but I think you've convinced me. Primarily, because I tend to appreciate lighter YA fiction. Much of it leans heavily in the direction of angst. Sometimes it's nice to get away from that. 

Asher_Knight said...

 Definitely. It's a nice breather in between :) Personally the ending was dissatisfying for me, but it ends in a very movie-esque sort of way, so some might enjoy that.

Asher_Knight said...

 Yes, sometimes the angst can get to us after a while and the lighter stories help balance it out. I hope you enjoy it!