Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!
Marsha Truitt isn’t popular in school, but she’s used to it. Constantly taunted by cheerleader Trina, she does her best to ignore her with the support of her two best friends. M’s home life isn’t much better – her aunt and uncle were forced to take her in when her adopted parents died shortly after adopting her. Her aunt is a total tyrant and her uncle is usually tongue-tied around his domineering wife.
When hot newcomer Rigel starts to take notice of her, M’s life changes in ways she could never have imagined or predicted. She discovers her real identity and the path that lies in store for her.
While this was a decent read, I wasn’t blown away by it. The writing is very good and it’s clear than Brenda Hiatt is an experienced author. So, no issues with the writing style at all. However, I found it quite slow-paced in the first half and I kept waiting for something to happen to inject a much-needed spark. Though, to be fair, the plot more than made up for that in the second part of the book.
In the main, I liked M and we start to see a transformation in her as the story progresses (not just physical). But I was screaming at her to stand up to her aunt at certain junctures and I wish she had more backbone.
Rigel is a great male lead though I was unhappy with him in the latter stages of the book. While he implemented a selfless plan in order to protect M, I didn’t like that he had to partner with evil Trina to do it. Surely, he could have chosen a different girl!
The romance was sweet and clean, and there was a nice build up to it.
Overall, I found this to be a lot more juvenile than the YA books I usually read. Most of them are categorized as age15/16+ but this is suitable for younger teens.
I was in two minds as to whether I was going to continue the series, but the hinted-at Irish connection is what swayed my mind. Onto Starcrossed next.