Saturday, 19 June 2010
Review: Sweet Hearts - Star Crossed by Jo Cotterill
Publisher: Red Fox
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B-
Fliss isn't exactly outgoing. But on stage she really comes alive. And this summer, she's playing Juliet opposite her dream Romeo - Tom Mayerling. If only she could tell him how she feels! But unless Fliss finds some inner confidence, she's going to miss her chance with Tom. Because someone else has her eyes on Fliss' role - and her leading man...
Star Crossed is the first book in the Sweet Hearts series, which is perfect for younger teen readers, particularly those who are fans of girly fiction by the likes of Luisa Plaja, Liz Rettig and Carmen Reid. It's a quick, enjoyable read set against the backdrop of a Romeo and Juliet theatre production, and is one of those books that sunny summer days were invented for.
Fliss, Tom and Samantha were the most memorable characters for me, though I didn't get as invested in Fliss and Tom's romantic chemistry as much as I'd have liked. Fliss was a character I could relate to through her shy nature and inability to stand up for herself, and I was glad to see that she had evolved quite a lot by the end of the book. Cotterill addresses themes of confidence and believing in yourself, which I think is important for a lot of teenagers to read about. I know I certainly struggled with that in the past, as I'm sure many other teens do, and realising you're not alone is a great lesson to learn.
I really didn't like Fliss's mum, Jeanette, who was one of the most loathsome parental characters I've come across recently. She in no way supported Fliss in her dream of being an actress, not even at secondary school level. I think parents should support their children in whatever they do and, though that doesn't always happen in real life, I still think it's a good message to put out there. I don't like reading about parents who constantly put their children down, and that's the problem I had here, minor though it was.
Star Crossed is definitely on the lighter side of teen fiction. It doesn't delve into too much mature territory, and instead chooses to focus on relatable topics that won't be hard for most teenagers to tap into. Family life, first crushes and classmate enemies are all on the cards for readers of this book, and I think we can expect similar things from the next instalment, Strictly Friends. When I need a feel-good read, I know what I'll be turning to.