Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Stargazing From Nowhere by Isabel & Marilyn Thomas

Title: Stargazing From Nowhere
Authors: Isabel & Marilyn Thomas
Publish Date: July 22nd, 2013

Kristen Morgan's blog is about to get her into trouble. Deep trouble.

Online, she is known as "Stargazer" from the popular Stargazing from Nowhere blog, while in real life she is a regular fifteen-year-old high school student. This online anonymity is quite liberating, allowing her to be completely honest with her readers. Through a twist of fate, Rising Tide, the band she has bashed the most online, ends up in her small town, which sends Kristen into an excited panic. To continue gathering fresh material for her blog, she poses as a Rising Tide fan. After sneaking into the band's private party, she comes face to face with the band's drummer, Michael Stevens, who happens to be even more gorgeous in person than she cares to admit. Something unexpected also happens to her when she meets him: she becomes giddy, nervous, and inarticulate, leading Kristen to realize that her interest in Michael has nothing to do with her blog, but everything to do with her heart.

As Kristen and Michael grow closer, does she have to make a choice between blog or boyfriend... Or is the choice made for her?”

Stargazing From Nowhere by Isabel and Marilyn Thomas is a really cute story of ordinary girl meets rockstar boy and falls in love. It's very funny and had me grinning the whole time I was reading it. The main character, Kristen, gets herself into the oddest, funniest, and often most humiliating, situations. It reminds me of watching an episode of I Love Lucy!

Kristen is a bit of an odd character. She's very easy to like with all of her good natured scheming, but she's a sensitive character who is heavily influenced by others. Kristen's mother, while meaning well, spends most of the novel trying to force Kristen to do things against her will and Kristen does nothing to stop her! She does the same when Peter, a friend of her's, just decides that she's his girlfriend. She's basically like, "Well, I don't want to do this, but it's what everyone expects so maybe I should." All I wanted was to see this girl put her foot down, just once. The caged feeling Kristen has thought the book is translated beautifully to the reader, but Kristen won't get angry when the people she loves most help contribute to it. Even when her own mother has the gall to tell her that her place is to settle into a life she doesn't want and to marry a boy she doesn't love. Kristen just sits there and takes it without ever telling anyone what she wants. Sure, things work out okay, but that isn't the point. The point is that I would have loved to see Kristen use her voice to make people see her opinion of things, especially since she wants to be a journalist.

Kristen, as a narrator, just doesn't have a unique voice. She switches back and forth between sounding like a teenager and an adult. And she repeats herself, a lot. A good chunk of the book could be completely eliminated and it would have no effect on the plot itself because it's all repeated thoughts and ideas. But the thing that annoyed me was how the teen characters spoke too formally. I know that grammar is something a lot of people look for when reading, but I feel, when reading a novel at least, that perfect grammar is not realistic, especially for teenagers. Here's an example from a conversation Kristen had with Evangeline about a necklace she received for her birthday:

Was it a birthday gift?" she asked suspiciously.

I placed a hand protectively over it. "Yes."

"From whom?

{Stargazing From Nowhere, pg. 215}

I don't know about you, but From whom? sounds so out of place coming from a teenage girl's mouth. I've always felt dialogue should sound realistic to the way people actually speak and not just grammatically correct. Or this one:
He studied me. "I really like you." 
"I really like you, too," I said shyly. 
He smiled at me, and I at him. 
{Stargazing From Nowhere, pg. 224}
And I at him? That just sounds so forced it's almost painful. But maybe that's just something that bothers me, I don't know. It wasn't something that prevented me from enjoying the story, at any rate.

There's a running theme throughout Stargazing From Nowhere about online anonymity and negativity. It really resonated with me because I can see how a person could start out blogging because they love something and are excited about it and end up in a downward spiral of pessimism. I've seen it happen to more than a few blogs I've visited. It's easy to start out sharing your love of books and before long get caught up in the jealousy and negativity that comes along with it. You want to be bigger than other bloggers so you'll get all the best books, you review so many books that eventually you barely even enjoy reading them anymore, your negative reviews begin to outweigh your positive ones. Isabel and Marilyn Thomas shine a light on the idea that negativity can be contagious and once you get caught up in it, it's hard to pull back. And that goes for all things in life, not just blogging. I think it's a really great idea that I haven't seen discussed much in other books.

All in all, Stargazing From Nowhere was a cute read with an interesting message that I would recommend to anyone who likes light contemporary romances. Especially ones with cute rockstar boys!

For more about Stargazing From Nowhere check out these sites!

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