Starry Nights

Starry Nights

3.8 8
by Daisy Whitney

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Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic-he loves spending his free time at the museum musing over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, Julien sees something strange-a peach falls out of a Cezanne and Degas ballerinas dance across the floor. The art reacting to a curse set by Renoir-a curse that trapped a beautiful muse, Clio, in his painting


Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic-he loves spending his free time at the museum musing over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, Julien sees something strange-a peach falls out of a Cezanne and Degas ballerinas dance across the floor. The art reacting to a curse set by Renoir-a curse that trapped a beautiful muse, Clio, in his painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio . . . but love is a curse in its own right. Because Julien has fallen for Clio and to save the world's greatest art, Julian must give up the greatest love he's ever known.

Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Gayle Forman, this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated novel will enthrall as masterfully as the paintings it features.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A cross between The Da Vinci Code and The Night at the Museum, this sophisticated fantasy from Whitney (When You Were Here) borrows from art history and ancient mythology as chaos erupts at museums around the world. Seventeen-year-old Julien, whose mother runs the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, has recently learned that the museum’s paintings come to life by night. Just as he becomes enamored with a girl in a Renoir work who returns his affection, other paintings begin changing and behaving strangely, and reports surface that paintings in America, Great Britain, and Russia are doing the same. To prevent the destruction of dozens of masterpieces, Julien tries to locate the source of the trouble, with help from fellow art-lovers, Renoir’s favorite model, and at least one of the nine muses. Whitney’s anecdotes about artists and their works create a solid foundation from which magic springs. Her romantic interpretation of artistic temperament, inspiration, and beauty will tempt even the most grounded readers to vicariously enter the world behind painted images. Ages 12–up. Agent: Michelle Wolfson, Wolfson Literary Agency. (Sept.)
VOYA - Victoria Vogel
Julien is a seventeen-year-old romantic living in the most romantic city in the world, Paris. His mother even runs the famous Musee d'Orsay. One night he watches elements of two very famous paintings actually come alive in front of him. He is stunned, intrigued, and then amazed when the subject of a Renoir painting appears. Her name is Clio, and he is quickly enamored with her. He soon learns that Clio is a muse and has inspired painters for years. When she falls in love with Julien, she longs to be free of the curse Renoir put on her that has imprisoned her. Unfortunately, her love for Julien is causing famous paintings to disintegrate, since it was her power as a muse that led to their existence. Julien is faced with figuring out how to restore the world's greatest art while preserving the greatest love he has ever known. If that plot sounds a bit melodramatic, that is correct. There are not many teen fantasy romances with male main characters that contain this level of classic romantic elements: a setting that is to die for, characters ripped from classic Impressionist paintings, and a love that is doomed from the start. It could be a classic love story, but unfortunately, it seems to be lacking something. While female teen readers might be sucked in by the setting, they will most likely be disappointed when they find out how American Julien seems. Although the rich depictions of the art will have readers Googling images of these famous paintings, the story may disappoint. Reviewer: Victoria Vogel
School Library Journal
Gr 6–9—Julien is a Parisian teen who loves art and gives tours of the Musée d'Orsay, which his mother runs. He falls in love with the mythological muse Clio, who emerges from a Renoir painting "finally free" and describes herself as "just a 16-year-old girl." Otherwise, Julien is an ordinary teen with typical issues. It's Julien's passion for art, for feeling it with his whole heart, that makes him and the novel different. Readers will learn a fair amount about art history and the sometimes-not-so-wonderful personalities of artistic geniuses. This delightful read has enough magic to enchant the most jaded, and it is a welcome break from zombies and dystopias.—Nina Sachs, Walker Memorial Library, Westbrook, ME
Kirkus Reviews
Famous paintings, fantasy and wish-fulfillment romance blend in contemporary Paris. French teen Julien feels merely adequate, but his privileges and abilities are improbably golden. As his mother runs the Musée d'Orsay and wants to bribe the art-loving Julien into getting better grades, this 17-year-old has unrestricted access to the world-famous museum, even after hours. Despite the present-day setting (iPods; texting), museum security is presented as (as Julien explains) "a myth," with no electronic or technological surveillance to inhibit his night roaming. He's first to see when a "peach falls out of a Cézanne" and a girl "dance[s] her way right out of a Degas." He perceives Renoirs inexplicably losing their color before anyone else does. Soon, at the Louvre, paintings are flooding and burning themselves. From a long-lost Renoir springs a girl to share heady romance with Julien. She's Clio, an Eternal Muse. Julien's sure special, from his authority over the Louvre's assistant curator to his unique status as human muse, the only human an Eternal Muse has ever loved and the only being who can fix the fading Renoirs. To readers unbothered by preposterous premises, implausible explanations and some overblown prose ("She was a revolution and she staged a coup d'état in my heart"), Whitney offers Muse dust, delightful sartorial quirks and the ghost of Renoir. An oh-so-slight flight of fancy. (author's note) (Fantasy/romance. 12 & up)
From the Publisher

“Whitney's anecdotes about artists and their works create a solid foundation from which magic springs. Her romantic interpretation of artistic temperament, inspiration, and beauty will tempt even the most grounded readers to vicariously enter the world behind painted images.” —Publishers Weekly

“As beautiful and sweet as a Cézanne peach.” —Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss

“This delightful read has enough magic to enchant the most jaded.” —School Library Journal"Bold, intense, timely." - Publishers Weekly, starred review, on The Mockingbirds

Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
Julien is a budding artist and a hopeless romantic living in the romantic city of Paris. His mother is head of the Musee d'Orsay thus giving him the privilege of visiting the famous artworks when the museum is closed. The night an orange falls from a painting and the Degas ballerinas perform for him, Julien knows he has stumbled upon something magical. A young girl from Renoir's Girl in the Garden steps out of the painting and Julien learns that she has been cursed and trapped within the painting for over one hundred years. Only Julien, a human muse has the power to save her. The two fall in love and as Clio's love for Julien grows, Renoir paintings in the Musee d'Orsay, the Louvre and museums in Britain and Russia begin the fade. It seems that Clio is one of the nine muses and as her love for Julien grows, her love for the art diminishes thus causing it to fade and ultimately disappear. In a mad dash to save the great art of the world, Julien must enlist the aid of friends, the muse Thalia, and Clio. It is a fantastic plan that places Julien and Clio inside the masterpieces of Monet, Van Gogh, and Toulouse-Lautrec as they race to save the paintings knowing all the while that their love is doomed to failure. Applause for this creative and imaginative realistic fantasy. It has some of the elements of the film Night in the Museum and has a passionate appreciation for art. A male romantic protagonist is a nice change of pace. The flaws lie in the fact that story is overly long and a bit confusing. The ending is pat and goes against the premise set up in the plot. For someone trapped alone in a painting for a long time, Clio often speaks in modern vernacular that does not fit her time period. Art aficionados and romantics will find the suspense, fantasy, and romance appealing. Not a success on all levels but a clever and refreshing twist. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey

Product Details

Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
HL750L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

DAISY WHITNEY is also the author of The Mockingbirds novels and When You Were Here. She lives in San Francisco, California with her fabulous husband, fantastic kids, and the two best dogs. She spends her days reporting on television, media, and advertising for a range of news outlets, and her nights dreaming of Paris, the most wonderful city in the world. Daisy earned a degree in art history at Brown University and has always believed paintings have great stories to tell.

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Starry Nights 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book enchanted me! This is a gorgeous, imaginative tale of art coming alive, and muses and curses and love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the most inventive stories I have ever read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Julien Garnier is a skilled draftsman even if his own works always lack that creative spark found in great art. But that's usually okay. Working as a tour guide in the museum his mother runs means that Julien is never far away from the inspiration and beauty found in the works of Van Gogh, Monet and other old talents--especially other Impressionists. When a peach falls out of a painting and Olympia's cat wanders the museum, Julien thinks he must be dreaming. Then Degas' dancers jete across the museum floor and Julien realizes that, impossible as it seems, what he is seeing is very, very real. When a lost Renoir arrives at the museum, Julien can't help but fall in love with the girl it depicts. He falls even harder when she walks out of the painting and introduces herself. But Clio isn't like the other art. Instead of a mere depiction, Clio is a real girl trapped inside the painting by a strange and powerful curse. As Julien learns more about Clio and how he might be able to free her, other strange things begin affecting are throughout the museum. As the paintings twist and change, Julien and Clio must race to find a way to break the curse--even if it might tear them apart in Starry Nights (2013) by Daisy Whitney. With its beautiful cover and intriguing premise, who wouldn't be excited about Starry Nights? The book itself is physically beautiful with full color endpapers featuring some of the paintings mentioned in the story. The initial summary is also extremely appealing to any art enthusiast. Although this book is adorably romantic with a decidedly French feeling conveyed in the setting, it never quite realizes its potential. Instead of becoming a resonant or memorable story, Starry Nights falls short in key moments where the characters and the events themselves could have gone further. Part of the problem here is definitely too much happening in too short a book. Starry Nights is only 288 pages (hardcover) and Whitney packs a lot into those pages. The realms of believability (even in a story where art comes to life) are tested and stretched repeatedly as new dimensions are added to the story and the premise reshapes itself around this new information. While the settings and the initial premise were delightful the story became mired in less enjoyable details including, sadly, a romantic pairing that was never quite as convincing as it needed to be for such a patently romantic book. Starry Nights will be a joy for art fans and readers looking for a superficially satisfying romance with some offbeat twists. Readers looking for a richer story or characters with more depth may have to look elsewhere. Possible Pairings: Heist Society by Ally Carter, Graffitti Moon by Cath Crowley, The Rescue Artist: A True Story of Art, Thieves, and the Hunt for a Missing Masterpiece by Edward Dolnick, Bunheads by Sophie Flack, Temping Fate by Esther Friesner, Darker Still by Leanna Renne Hieber, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Confessions of a Not It Girl by Melissa Kantor, Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld *This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss your hand three times write this on three other books look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kiss you hand three times write this in three books and look under your pillow
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
(I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Childrens publishing in exchange for an honest review) Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney had such promise. Set in Paris, France it's a story of a romantic teenage boy who falls in love with a girl trapped in a painting. Pitched as “Night at the Museum meets The Da Vinci Code, with a feminist twist.” I should have loved it. It has everything that I like in a book, but it still fell a bit flat. I just couldn't connect with Julien or Clio at all. The premise for a romantic story is there but it lacked the emotional element to really bring it to life for me. There are some unanswered questions at the end. What happened to the father and daughter forgery team? Why does Julien's mother place so much stake in what he sees in the art and its condition? Does she know he's different? That part seemed a bit surreal to me. He's a tour guide, granted he loves the art more than anything before Clio comes along, but he's still just a teenager. Her easy acceptance in regards to his ability to heal the art by his presence alone just left me stumped.  It's definitely a cute read though and I'm sure many people will enjoy it. I just like to immerse myself in a story and its characters. I find it frustrating when I can't connect with them.  The most interesting parts of the book for me where the ones involving Bonheur and his sister Sophia. The humor and sense of adventure these two supporting characters brought to the story are the only reason I kept reading until the end.  I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys a cute love story and young adult fiction. 
CJOmololu More than 1 year ago
It's nightime at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and the paintings are changing, but at first only seventeen-year-old student Julien can see it. As the most famous artworks around the world start to disintegrate, he discovers that his new love might be able to help him save them all. Romantic and passionate,even if you have no interest in art or the artists who painted the world's masterpieces, this book will capture your heart. If you love art, then you should already be reading it. Totally different from all of the other offerings out there, STARRY NIGHTS is that rare combination of fantasy and reality that will have readers hooked from the very first page.