Overwritten and overreaching, yet intermittently compelling, Angelini's debut novel, first in a planned trilogy, follows 16-year-old Helen Hamilton's stumbling discovery of her mythic identity. A new school year is starting, and a new family has joined the small island community of Nantucket—the Delos clan, wealthy, beautiful, and numerous. Helen hates them all, Lucas Delos in particular, with a mindless ferocity that even she doesn't understand. He responds with a strange acceptance of her attacks that draws Helen into an unwilling collusion as they try to find a way to coexist. Lucas, however, is reluctant to explain the knowledge he clearly has, until a terrifying accident forces his hand. Angelini includes family drama, school angst, and a Homeric horde of characters to complicate the basic love story; many have mythologically meaningful names—Cassandra, Ariadne, Tantalus, etc.—though their connections to their namesakes are complex and ambiguous. Nevertheless, the awkward, fate-shadowed romance between Helen and Lucas has many moments of sweetness and emotional connection, which should keep readers invested. Ages 12–up. (June)
A gorgeous, haunting saga that completely swept me away. I fell for Lucas just as hard as Helen did. OMGods, I can’t wait to read more!
One of the most cinematic books I’ve ever read. Dramatic and intense! I can’t tell you how many times I gasped while reading this book. Starcrossed plays out like a movie in your head.
Move over, Romeo and JulietJosephine Angelini debuts a dizzying tale of action, drama, and romance with just the right twist of humor and tragedy. Modern mythology has never been sexier!
Gr 9 Up—Another entry in the supernatural love category. This time it is the story of descendants from the gods and goddesses of ancient Greece. These demigods are controlled, it seems, by the Fates, condemned to reenact ancient grudges ad infinitum. It doesn't take long to figure out what is going on, as the names of the characters are a dead giveaway, especially since they are all in the same family, and readers get an inkling of "special powers" right from the beginning. Helen is the main character, and, you guessed it, she has the "face that launched a thousand ships." In addition, she is incredibly strong and fast and heals herself. When first she meets Lucas (wait, he doesn't have a Greek name but that will be explained later), she instantly loathes him. Of course, it isn't long before Helen and Lucas are inseparable, and yet, strangely, he won't kiss her. Forbidden love rears its head à la Twilight. There is, of course, an ancient curse that they must somehow break, etc., etc. The characters are a little flat and the writing is uneven, but there are times when the story is compelling. It's too long, though, and some passages are seemingly not connected to the plot or character development. Evidently, there will be a sequel, as there are plenty of loose threads at the end, and not a Fate in sight to snip them. Better choices include Tera Lynn Childs's Oh. My. Gods. (Dutton, 2008) and Lauren Kate's Fallen (Delacorte, 2009), both with sequels.—Robin Henry, Wakeland High School, Frisco, TX
What if Bella Swan were a demigod?
Helen is the loveliest girl on Nantucket, but until the sexy Delos family comes to the island, she's always tried to stay under the radar. It's not just her looks that attract attention; Helen knows her strength, speed and hearing all approach superpower levels. But she can't stay hidden in the presence of the Delos cousins, Jason, Hector, Cassandra, Ariadne and the sexiest one, Lucas—yes, Lucas. (Some complicated handwaving explains why he is named Lucas instead of—as was intended—Paris.) Readers trained on trendy Greek mythological fantasy won't be surprised to learn both Helen and the newcomers are demigods. In their blonde beauty (really!), they look exactly like their quasi-mythological ancestors and are cursed by the Furies and the gods to replay ancient dramas across history. Lucas and Helen are both drawn together and forced apart by fate and desire. The cousins, meanwhile, help Helen develop her powerful demigod abilities while tutoring her on the massive forces arrayed against her. Though weirdly inconsistent perspective, startling shifts of voice and scenes that feel like they've been copied almost directly fromTwilightbreak the flow, the drama's epic scale complements the love story's pacing. A refreshingly strong heroine carries readers into the setup for book two.
Teens who have outgrown Percy Jackson and moved into the paranormal-romance phase won't mind the amateurish prose; they'll be caught up in the we-must-we-can't sexual tension.(Paranormal romance. 13-15)