Book Review: Starstruck by Nicole Ciacchella

Title: Starstruck
Author: Nicole Ciacchella
Published: March 21, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Women's Fiction
Source: From Netgalley

Add to shelf: Goodreads

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Lex Harrington is living a stranger’s life. After high school, she and her boyfriend, superstar quarterback Brad Wakefield, headed off to college, secure in the knowledge of their brilliant future. Then an injury ended Brad’s football career, and he convinced Lex to drop out of school and return home with him, where everything fell apart.

Because the glossy surface of their relationship concealed a dark truth: years of emotional abuse culminating in Brad’s walking out on Lex and their infant son. At twenty-three, she’s a single mother with no future prospects, struggling to make ends meet while dealing with the aftermath of her destructive marriage.

When Jaron Richards left for college, he vowed he’d never look back. Brad laid waste to his friendship with Lex, leaving nothing to bind Jaron to his hometown. But his unrequited love for Lex has never faded, even as his star has begun to rise, making him Hollywood’s hottest new actor.

Now Jaron is back in town to film his latest movie, and his presence stirs up everything Lex would rather forget. Can they find a way to pick up the pieces and build a future together?

The title at first had me thinking about the usual Hollywood star falls for a normal girl but that's not the case for this book. There's something more and something deeper than that. 

There are mainly two types of abuse: physical and emotional. Of the two, what others may perceive to hurt the most would be the physical but what would entirely affect the person is the emotional. 

This book demonstrated the effects of such emotional abuse. 

As I was reading the entire book, I silently root for both Lex and Jaron. I don't know why, but I feel like they are just so human. The imperfect dialogue between the two makes me feel like I am actually reading their lives (albeit the Hollywood part, that is) as they struggled to come over the walls they built against each other. 

I like the characters because of how perfectly imperfect they were and yet they struggle to give to each other what they think is best for the other. Lex tries to get away from the demons she and her ex-husband created in her while Jaron struggled to protect his heart from the one who could rip it apart and at the same time, be part of that person's life.

My one quip about this book though is that there are instances that the author focused too much on fixing the trials of the two main characters, leaving the other characters in the story with unresolved conflicts. For instance (highlight if you want to read since it contains tiny dregs of spoiler), how did Lex's mother deal with her husband's death? What is it that finally drove Brad to leave his family? Who is Brad, really? 

At times, I want to see Brad's point-of-view on things because as a reader, I have been given quite a biased perspective because of the effects his leaving left on Lex and their son, Owen. 

Still, this book has touched my heart as it showed how we must be confident and strong and to believe in ourselves so that no one would be able to bring us into deep waters where we might eventually drown.  

"Sure, but art is important too. Art is pleasurable, and that adds value to life. It's also inspirational and influential. It isn't the same thing as being the one to run into that burning building, but it can make people think about the person who does run into the building. Most of us get so caught up in our everyday lives that we overlook those things."


 Nicole also publishes under the pen names Elizabeth Darcy and Anne Wentworth.

Nicole has had a lifelong passion for the written word. As a child, one of her most treasured Christmas gifts was an electric typewriter, which enabled her to crank out her stories even more quickly than she could with a pen. Naturally, the personal computer is one of her favorite inventions. When she isn't writing, Nicole can usually be found curled up in a chair, whiling away the hours with a good book.

One of Nicole's other great passions is travel, and she has visited Europe, as well as traveling to many of the fifty states. Her favorite trips include visits to Paris, Maui, and various parts of Belgium. She feels fortunate that she is married to a native Belgian, as it gives her plenty of reasons to visit Europe as often as possible. Also, it gives her an excuse to eat Belgian waffles regularly.

Born and raised in Michigan, Nicole lives there still with her husband and two beautiful children. She thinks Michigan is the greatest state in the country, and Michigan State University is the greatest university in the world.


(cover image, synopsis, author's image and biography from Goodreads)

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