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Catch a Falling Star

Catch a Falling Star

4.3 15
by Kim Culbertson

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A deliciously charming novel about finding yourself ... and falling in love along the way.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance,


A deliciously charming novel about finding yourself ... and falling in love along the way.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Catch a Falling Star :

"Culbertson writes with sensitivity and sympathy, crafting an entertaining but perceptive character study." – Kirkus

"Culbertson is a capable writer, and she gives Carter a good heart that shines through in the way Carter handles her friendships and that also catches Adam's eye." – Publishers Weekly


Publishers Weekly
Carter Moon loves stars—the kind in the night sky, not the ones that crash and burn to the delight of the media and the celebrity-obsessed masses. But this summer, while Carter is working at her family’s diner, the manager of one of Hollywood’s most notorious young actors, Adam Jakes, enlists her to pretend she is Adam’s small-town sweetheart to help restore his fallen image. Carter would never normally agree to such a thing, but her brother is in trouble because of unpaid gambling debts, and the faux-girlfriend gig pays well. Culbertson (Instructions for a Broken Heart) is a capable writer, and she gives Carter a good heart that shines through in the way Carter handles her friendships and that also catches Adam’s eye. Fans of recent “Hollywood Blvd. meets Main St.” novels like Cherry Money Baby and This Is What Happy Looks Like will enjoy following Carter and Adam through the familiar cycle of the rom-com relationship, from dislike to like, complication to realization, and finally to love. Ages 12–up. Agent: Melissa Sarver, Folio Literary Management. (May)
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
Little, California is a low-key place, and teenage resident Carter Moon likes it that way. When an entourage from Hollywood comes to the small town to film its next heartwarming holiday tale (in the middle of summer), not everyone is happy. Carter, daughter of an activist mother and café owner dad, adopts a tolerant perspective. After all, the film crew’s presence is a boost to the local economy, and it is temporary. It should not have much effect at all, she thinks. Then actor Adam Jakes’s PR man approaches Carter with an offer. The star is in need of an image rehab, and having a wholesome, small-town girlfriend should help. If she will pretend to be his girlfriend in a series of carefully scripted scenes throughout the summer, she will be paid a hefty sum—money her family could use to help Carter’s gambling-addicted brother pay off his debts and enter treatment. It turns out to be an offer she cannot refuse. Perhaps predictably, what starts out as a stilting arrangement grows into friendship and more. Although the premise seems as “Hollywood” as the subject matter, Culbertson’s tale feels authentic and plausible. Carter Moon is a thoughtful protagonist, and readers will be rooting for her to succeed, not just with Adam Jakes; but also in figuring out what she wants from life, and getting back on the dance floor. This is much more than a “girl meets boy” story. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 14 up.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—When a Hollywood movie production invades the sleepy town of Little, California, Carter Moon is one of the rare local girls who is not entranced by the movie's troubled teenage star, Adam Jakes. Distracted by her concern for her brother, who suffers from a gambling habit, Carter is content to avoid the mayhem and limit her interaction with the world of glitz and glamour to making sandwiches and drinks for the production company from the comfort of her parents' small café. The protagonist also enjoys teaching a dance class at the local retirement home and stargazing with her two best friends. Her plans to maintain this simple lifestyle are disrupted by a pressing financial need to guarantee her brother's safety and recovery. Presented with a secret, lucrative deal to pose as Adam Jakes's wholesome, small-town girlfriend, Carter suddenly has a solution to her family's money issues. Unbeknownst to anyone other than her parents and Adam's manager, the teen follows the scripted three-week relationship but winds up learning that she may have more in common with Adam than she thought. While the development of a genuine relationship may be expected, readers will enjoy every minute of Carter and Adam's revelatory moments and conflicts. The narrator's struggles with decisions about leaving home and the next steps after high school will resonate with many teens. The resolution is realistically open-ended but also satisfies those thirsting for a fairy tale ending.—Lynn Rashid, Marriotts Ridge High School, Marriottsville, MD
Kirkus Reviews
When a movie company comes to shoot in a picturesque California town, the movie star's manager pays a local girl to pose as the star's girlfriend in this heartfelt romance. Seventeen-year-old Carter happily works in her family's small cafe in Little, Calif. Although she's a talented dancer, she has no ambition to leave her beautiful town, and she certainly doesn't care about movie stars. Carter's brother, John, has become a compulsive gambler, plunging the family into debt, so despite her disdain for Hollywood, Carter can't resist the large sum of money troubled teen star Adam Jakes' manager offers her. Naturally, as they spend time together on their mock dates, Carter begins to fall for Adam, who turns out to be a nice guy despite his drop-dead-handsome looks and Hollywood background. As an actor familiar with the trials of artists, he gives her some insight into the reasons she stopped dancing. Meanwhile, Carter's star-struck good friends, who don't know about the ruse, struggle to understand her emotions and actions as they gaze on stars in the night sky, with one friend writing a stargazing blog that integrates Carter's experiences with both types of stars. Culbertson writes with sensitivity and sympathy, crafting an entertaining but perceptive character study. Written with a sure hand and keen insight. (Romance. 12-16)

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Kim Culbertson is the author of Catch a Falling Star; Instructions for a Broken Heart, a Northern California Book Award winner; and Songs for a Teenage Nomad. When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches high school creative writing. Kim lives with her husband and their daughter in Northern California. For more about Kim, visit www.kimculbertson.com.

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Catch a Falling Star 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book great book not too romantic and carters devotion to her family is sensational will she ever get her hollywood ending read the book an find out
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
When I read the synopsis of this book, I figured it would be a formulaic "normal girl" meets "famous boy" story – and I don't mean that in a bad way. I love those types of books. Catch a Falling Star was more than that. It was different than the norm and I think that's what made me enjoy it as much as I did.  I can't tell you just how much I liked Carter Moon. She was quite a special character. Her devotion to her family was admirable, as was her strength. Strong families are fare too few and far between in young adult these days and I was pleased to find one in this book. The Moons had their problems, but they were a supportive family. It was refreshing. While I'm not one much for astronomy or even trying to enjoy the stars – I live just outside the city, you can't really see them here anyhow – but I loved the blog posts on the blog she shared with her friend Alien Drake. I enjoyed how they related the goings-on in their small town, particularly with Adam Jakes' arrival and the movie filming, to astronomy. Carter's best friend (and Alien Drake's girlfriend) Chloe was a total trip. I appreciated the friendship shared by the three of them and Chloe's star-struck behavior never failed to make me grin a little.  I would be remiss if I were to write this review and not mention what a fantastic job Kim did capturing the spirit of a small-town and its inhabitants. While I live just outside a big city now, I grew up in a small town and anyone else who has knows what I mean when I say things are just different there. The town has a life of its own and there's a cohesiveness you won't find in larger cities. I love big cities, but when I read about small towns like Little, I can't help but get a little nostalgic for my hometown.  Adam Jakes was a different sort of celebrity. It took me a little while to warm up to him, but I did. He and Carter's arrangement was bound to become complicated. There wouldn't be a book otherwise, right? But the romance didn't feel forced. Their progression from strangers to coworkers, so to speak, to friends and then more was natural. Despite the obvious differences between them, they worked really well together. They both learned a little about life and love together. I can't say Catch a Falling Star was what I was expecting – a light and fluffy romance – but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It touched on some serious issues, but did so in a way that it never felt too heavy or angsty. While romance was part of this book, I wouldn't categorize it as a romance. It was far more coming-of-age story than love story and that's why it struck a chord with me.  I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is really great. Kim  Culbertson wrote an incredible book and it was so hard to stop reading it. This book from the beginning you get hooked immediately and don't want to put the book down. I recommend this book to everyone and you will love it! 
csingh More than 1 year ago
Why in the world have I never read a book by Kim Culbertson before?  I honestly thought this was her debut book until I went to her Goodreads page and realized I had missed out on three of her books.  Better late than never I guess.  Catch a Falling Star could have been one of my teen fantasies manifested.  I used to day dream a lot and I will admit what happened with Carter was one of them.   I absolutely adored Carter.  She's real and grounded.  She loves her family and even understand their foibles.  She doesn't make excuses, just loves them and tries to do what she thinks will help them out.  Even when she realizes her not real feelings for star Adam James might be changing she doesn't lose perspective and her grasp on reality.  Oddly enough, I not only understood Carter's fears regarding change but can relate to them personally.  I may not have a fake relationship like Carter does, but many of her problems are some of the ones I have myself. Adam Jakes was a total enigma.  There was never a point where I had a total grasp on who he was and I loved that.  I also loved Carter's friends Chloe and Drake.  Chloe was hysterical and had me laughing aloud more than once.  If you ask me what my favorite part of the book had to be besides Carter and Adam, it would have to be the blog posts regarding the stargazing Carter, Chloe, and Drake or Alien Drake as he was known, did.  Those posts are beautiful and gave me lots to think about.  I haven't gone star gazing in a very long time, living in the suburbs hasn't really been conducive, but I was yearning to search the skies while reading this book.   I must admit when I started reading this book I wasn't expecting anything really heavy or with depth.  Instead I got the lightness I was expected subtly layered with real substance.  This book is a hidden gem and if any of Kim's other books are like this one, I am in for a real treat.  I can tell you I read this book from start to finish in a couple of hours.  It was worth losing sleep over.  It'll also be going on my keeper shelf. *ARC received from publisher for review.  All opinions are my opinions are my own and I wasn't compensated for my review*  *Purchased a copy of my own as well.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing story! So many covered themes in just one book! Christmas, Movie Stars, Astronomy, Love that seems too good to be true... all in one! I have to admit it is one of the best:)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If the reviewer throws in Capital As in any combo they will drag you into the most boring resume
Casey1KC More than 1 year ago
Kim Culbertson writes for teens with a literary bent...with great detail, warmth, and appreciation for what teens really feel. Her gift is bringing the light in, with humor and sensitivity. This is a fun, happy read with a wonderful, contemporary plot. Don't miss out on this great novel!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think this book honestly sounds great! I would buy it if I had enough money! I only have five dollars!:( Just reading the revews makes it sound good, so how bad can it be?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I saw it at my school's bookfair and I thought it would be good! I was so right! I love this book so much and I want a second part to this so we can find out were are now! So hope there will be a second book to this!!
xrdevilx 18 days ago
It's a cute story. I thought it was the same cliche one you'd see where the regular girl starts dating the famous celebrity. But it wasn't exactly like that. It had a bit of a different plot, which I loved more than ever! Totally recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thia book is just really undescribeable(sorry if i spelled that wrong) it is that good carter is put through real challenges in life and comes out on top even if it is not the top she wanted.her relationship with adam is not rushed or drawn out it is just perfect it goes from fake to walking the line to so real it hurts. I read this book when i was 11 and i read it in a few hours. If you like realistic fiction read this book it is one of the best books i have ever read and i have read a lot of books please kim, write more books or i may die from lack of good books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
book4children More than 1 year ago
This is such a sweet book. I love so many things about it. The main character, Carter Moon, is a small town girl with a big heart. She is happy with her life and doesn't want to chase the big city dreams other people have for her. Adam is a complex, yet stereotypical celebrity character. He wears many faces and Carter is never sure which, if any, are real. Carter does a lot of discovering in her story. She discovers a lot about herself and about love. She also discovers that people aren't always who they appear to be, and that she can't fix every problem she's faced with. Sometimes, they aren't even her problems to fix and she has to accept the shortcomings and disappointments that come with having family and friends. I really liked this book. I would highly recommend it to teens. It's clean, it's sweet, and it's insightful. Lots of young adults will be able to relate to Carter and her journey. Content: A few mild (very mild) cases of innuendo. Clean otherwise. Source: I received a digital galley of this book in exchange for an honest review.