author Cyn Balog
to be released July 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
source: arc from Around the World Tours
Plot - from the author's website: When Gwendolyn “Dough” Reilly’s boyfriend and best friend Wish moves away in seventh grade, the only consolation she can find is in her family bakery’s donuts. Now, it’s sophomore year, and Wish is coming back. But in only three years, they’ve both changed—drastically. She’s seriously overweight, and suddenly Wish is the most popular guy in school, and girls everywhere want him.
The girls are starstruck.Dough is witty and comes up with great sarcastic repartees (mostly in her mind). However, she reminds me of one of my favorite in-real-life people. Digressing to describe her:
My friend is so helpful, she always arranges surprise parties and baby showers. She visits the sick and the shut-in people. She asks great intelligent thought-provoking questions. Her heart is huge, but -- you saw that but coming. But, she's so self-critical. We sit there in Bible study or at a party, and she starts voicing a comment, "I'm so fat...." or "I'm so dumb..." I've told her many times: "I don't like my friends being criticized. You're criticizing my dear friend harshly. You're criticizing yourself. Hush.""
Back to Dough (pun of the Sound of Music song unintentional), the first twenty chapters of Starstruck has Dough calling herself names: butt boil with cottage cheese thighs. She can't understand why Wish likes her and she keeps expecting him to break up with her. I almost felt like saying, "Dough, enough already!" Others in the book, such as Christian -- a new employee in the bakery -- point out how she dresses and doesn't smile much.
This is a contemporary YA novel -- set on an island in New Jersey; residents are bussed to a high school on the mainland. I was puzzled at the normalcy because Balog's Sleepless has a paranormal character, Eron the Sandman. I kept on reading, in the hopes Dough's self-esteem would improve, and to find out the reasons for the small odd mannerisms that Wish has, such as dressing all in black (no, he isn't goth). Christian is a bit odd too, long dreadlocks and his insight into Dough.
Balog doesn't disappoint, she surprises. I kept on reading faster and faster. Applause to Balog. I have questions to ask her, but won't do it here --- I don't want to ruin the surprise for those who have yet to read Starstruck.