In a novel in two voices, a popular teen and an artistic loner forge an unlikely bond — and create an entire universe — via texts. But how long before the real world invades Starworld?
Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?
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|Age Range:||14 - 17 Years|
About the Author
Audrey Coulthurst is the author of the YA fantasy novels Of Fire and Stars and Inkmistress. She lives in Santa Monica, California.
Paula Garner is the author of the YA novels Phantom Limbs and Relative Strangers. She lives in the Chicago area.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
It was well written and an interesting story, but found the ending a bit disappointing. My 13 year old daughter enjoyed it and would recommend this to her friends!
Talk about being completely blown away by a book that you expected to be a nostalgic whimsy read! Y'all, this book was EPIC and I LOVED it. I loved the synopsis and have a particular weakness for a dual POV book with two authors that each write one of the characters, so this was one I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. The basic story is that two girls from opposite ends of the social spectrum end up involved in each other's life, and it quickly becomes a profound relationship for both of them. The thing that struck me most about this plot-line was how COMPLETELY relatable it was. Some of my most intense and important female friendships have sprung from some of the hardest moments of my life, where I just happened to reach for a tether at the same time as the other girl did - and it turned out we grabbed the same line. The other thing that I found so noteworthy about this book was how complicated, messy, and REAL it was. I have a gripe with books that add in timely subject matter just so they can say they've included it. It feels as though some authors have a checklist next to them, and they just write a sentence, i.e. "And Lindsey had anxiety.", check off "Anxiety Disorders," and then somehow want to claim that they're hip to the difficulties and have representation in their works. HOWEVER, as messy as these girls' lives were, none of it felt contrived. And when you break it down, they're dealing with a lot: divorce, adoption, LGBTQ+, disability, cancer, anxiety disorders, abandonment, etc. Not once did I feel like a situation was created to fit one of these issues -= it just felt like reading about two girls that I probably knew in high school and had no idea the lives they were actually living. Lastly, the way their relationship was formed and the beautiful world they created was so amazing. It felt really reminiscent of The Bridge to Terabithia, and this + the nostalgia of creating my own imaginary worlds as a kid made this such a fun part of the story. I loved the silliness of their dragon companion, and was especially tickled that he was fueled by Taco Bell hot sauce. (If you know me at all, you know I **love** me some Taco Bell!) Okay, so as it turns out I have one more thing ... it's somewhat of a spoiler, so I don't really want to lay it out here - but suffice it to say that I was hovering at 4 stars until the ending of the book. And it skyrocketed to 5 stars because of how the authors chose to end the book, which made it an even better representation of so many relationships I've had. Read the book, y'all. Share it with your girlfriends. Share it with your teen patrons. Share it with your kids. Just. Read it.
StarWorld By: Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner Candlewick Press Teens and YA Pub Date 16 April 2019 352 pages #Starworld #NetGalley Even though this book took me awhile to read I really enjoyed it. It isn't the books fault for the amount of time I took to read it but family and activities that were happening. This book is already out and I highly recommend that you read this book. At first I thought this book would be about space and wasn't sure about it but I was pleasantly surprised. This book is about a made up world called Starworld. This is a made up world that two teenage girls go to in text messages back and forth to take them away from their problems. The girls names are Zoe and Sam. Zoe is adopted with a mom who has cancer and is in partial remission and a younger brother who has special needs. Sam is a girl who likes girls. Her parents are divorced and her Mom has a severe of OCD and Dad lives in London. Sam likes Zoe as more than a friend and Zoe only likes Sam as a friend. This book was hard to put down. I love the world they created and the way they interacted both on the phone and in real life together. Sam and Zoe get along great and have some wonderful times together and things happen which make them look at themselves and to make their lives better.
I wanted to like this more than I did—I was really rooting for it and hoped that my opinion would change in the end... but it didn't. I was really excited to see that the book was handling the treatment of anxiety and OCD, but man was I let down. Sam's mom was clearly struggling with something, and Sam was not being sympathetic at all. I mean, I get it, if you have a single mom and you spend more time taking care of her than anything else, I can see you being annoyed (as a teenager), but as a really, really smart teenager, I don't know how she couldn't see that her mom would benefit from some counselling. She got there in the end, but it wasn't really because of Sam. Sam's character just seemed so immature and self-centered. (Never mind the fact that she's supposed to have this best friend, Will, who gets her and doesn't judge, and we only get one real scene with him, and it's a good one. The book definitely needed more Will.) That same comment can be said about Zoe. Her character also has to deal with some pretty serious stuff (a brother on the spectrum, being adopted, her mom having cancer), and though her life is pretty good, she just seemed to be focused on why her biological mom gave her away. And I mean, as a person who isn't adopted, maybe that is a thing that people dwell on constantly, but the fact that she thought it was because she has a birthmark on her forehead? Really? Her obsession with needing to be perfect was just a little too out of control and, really, never really dealt with. Now I get to actually talking about Starworld—the world that Sam and Zoe create to escape reality. I thought it was going to be way more "space" than it was, but it was really just a very underdeveloped fantasy land with a dragon named Humphrey. I'm not sure if it's because I'm not really the demographic for this book, but the way it was written was not realistic and not very appealing. *wonders whether people agree with her or not* *waits with bated breath for a response* My final point is going to be about the "love story," because there definitely was one forming... though it was terribly one-sided. Sam was very clearly in love with Zoe, and she pretty much told Zoe many times in Starworld and with notes and messages, so when Sam kisses her, she really shouldn't be surprised. The fact that that kiss destroyed their relationship didn't sit well with me. It was handled immaturely by both characters—they really only needed to have one conversation and could have cleared the air. Though I understand they're teenagers, and young love is really tricky.
This book reminded me a lot of the Ridley Pearson Kingdom Keepers series without Disney. It is always an addiction of mine when I read about kids discovering that they have uncovered superpowers and the mischief and chaos that comes with it. From beginning to end this book grabs your attention and it feels like you are being transported into their world following along in the adventure which makes the story even more engaging and enjoyable. This book will definitely connect to the young audience because they can totally relate to Sam and Zoe and their need to escape reality. We will consider adding this book to our JFiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.