I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
I’m always up for a YA story of differing worlds – especially when it sounds like something from the Breakfast Club. This is the princess and the basket case, finding an unlikely friendship and figuring out where to go from there. And yes, there is a lot of this that is classic and predictable–but there is a surprisingly large amount of original stuff that keeps you on your toes.
I have to start off by saying this: I relate to Sam so hard. SO HARD. I was the outcast in high school, who only really got accepted at all once the rest of the school realized I had a talent. (For me, it was theatre. For Sam, it’s art.) I spent most of this book doubled over in laughter, hearing my own high school voice in Sam. And back then, there was a piece of me that would have loved for one of the Popular Kids to suddenly notice me.
But true to real life, there is so much more to Zoe, and to Sam, than what the school sees. We see Zoe struggle with who she believes she needs to be, with her special needs brother, with her mother’s diagnosis. On the other side, we see Sam struggle with her own identity, with her mother’s obsessive personality, and with the fallout from her parents’ divorce and her father’s move. And it’s only in the strange friendship between the two of them that either seem to find respite: in the land of make-believe they create, between the asterisks of text-conveyed actions.
*uses this as an example, in case the readers aren’t familiar*
*spent way too much of my life talking like this*
*will stop now*
In their text adventures, they can escape the world around them–but only for a little while. And it’s not long before the rest of the world starts to creep into their Starworld.
This is a refreshingly real YA novel, that could take easy ways out and doesn’t, because the real world doesn’t usually give you those options. There are hard decisions, mistakes made, messy endings. And when I was all set to be upset about how the book ends, we get the perfect epilogue to ease the way out of the book. It’s touching and sad, it’s hysterically funny and real, and if you’ve ever wanted to escape on the back of a burrito-eating dragon and fly away to a beach in the stars–well, you’ll fit right in.
Rating: ****.5 – Very Highly Recommended