Sunday, March 2, 2014

Starcrush: A Book Review & Author Interview

I was sent this novel via PDF from the author, Justine Erler, for review!  Unfortunately, the past few weeks have been busy with work and school, but now that I am officially on spring break, I had the chance to sit down and read this book!  First of all, I love the cover; it’s simple, yet the two images really compliment the novel.  Overall, I was indifferent in the beginning of the story; however, I did enjoy this novel during the second half of the novel and the ending.

Title: Starcrush
Author: Justine Erler
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Publisher: Trio Capital LLC
Publication Date: December 19, 2013
Pages: 248
Out in Paperback?: No; Soon!
My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Summary:

What if the best things in life were on the verge of ending? What if a single thought --
or a single kiss -- changed everything?  What if you realized that everything you knew --
everything you believed -- was suddenly wrong?

The emotionally-captivating debut novel of Justine Erler's Starcrush series introduces Genna Savoy, a psychically-gifted high school senior who finds herself torn between rival aliens who look ... spectacularly human.

In the first half of Starcrush, Genna meets Byron, deliciously aloof and rock-god cool.
The second half unleashes Elon, drop-dead gorgeous with a killer smile. Each represents
the opposite ends of extreme, scary-wonderful in their own way. In the aftermath
of these encounters, conflicted anti-heroine Genna Savoy struggles to accept her own feelings as the reality of her perfect boyfriend ... slips away.


I drifted into silence as my eyes fell over him, the way he leaned over the desk,
chilled to the extreme. Yet there was something overpowering about him.
That "easy does it, rule-the-world" attitude felt good to be around but just now I
couldn't decide whether this made him the most incredible guy I ever met -- or the
most obnoxious. I was sure that the answer was not somewhere in between.

"So what's he like?" Trinity returned to her first question; the one I had to think hard
about in order to answer.
"He's like...," I said. "Zero to Romeo in less than six seconds."
There was dead silence.
"Are you still there?" I asked.
"Yeah," she gasped, her mind unable to let go of the visuals.


The main character, Genna Savory, leads a relatively normal life, except for the fact that she is a psychic, just like her mom.  She acts like a fairly normal teenager (aside from the psychic abilities), and I appreciated that.  Often times, I can’t stand when a character acts too immature for their age, but I didn’t find this to be the case with Genna.  Genna’s mother and father, along with the other members of their psychic group, were introduced but not elaborated on do to the short length of the novel.  The two main love interests, Bryon and Elon, each were addicting to read about because of their love stories with Genna.  I didn’t find them annoying, but I didn’t care for the “insta-love” that occurred between Genna and each of the boys.


This novel focuses on Genna’s life as a psychic until she meets Bryon during the first part of the novel.  Bryon is a rocker, who ends up auditioning and joining Genna’s band.  Warning: this ended up turning very quickly into an “instant love” situation.  I personally did not care too much for this, as Genna met Bryon and, due to their instant psychic abilities that they shared, they fell in love.  In the second half of the novel, Genna meets Elon.  I have to admit, this is where the novel picked up for me.  There wasn’t too much of an “insta-love” feeling (aside from the fact that it is a shorter novel and things have to move quicker).  Genna was cautious when first meeting Elon, before falling for him.  Throughout the novel, Genna must explore her feelings for these two aliens, Bryon and Elon.

Writing Style:

I really enjoyed the writing style of this book; it didn’t feel overly Young Adult to me, which I liked.  I also liked the paranormal aspect.  I don’t read too much paranormal, but I think I might change that and try to adventure into that genre a little more.  I believe this is the first installment in a series, so I’ll have to be on the look out for the next one, Starcrush: Beyond Perfect!

This is the first e-book that I have read start to finish.  What do you think of e-books?  I almost feel like I couldn’t really connect with the book since I wasn’t holding it in my hand.  But I did love the convenience of taking the book with me and reading it in between classes!  #torn #TryingToDecideAboutAKindle #Thoughts?

Justine also sent this interview to me, which I thought was really interesting and wanted to share!

Starcrush Interview with Author Justine Erler

1.     I think almost every girl at one time had an idea of what a perfect boyfriend should look like and act like.  Did your idea of a perfect boyfriend make its way into one of the characters?

Yes — absolutely!  The book alternates between two extreme versions of the perfect boyfriend.  In the first half of the book, Byron is described as rock-god cool with a moody-perfection that lends enough resistance to make him completely irresistible.  In the second half of the book, Elon is bold and flirty … and yet laid-back and sensual, as if the kiss is never far from his mind.

My personal idea of the perfect boyfriend is caught somewhere between the two main characters.  Part of me wants the dark, romantic and slightly gothic version … while another part wants the super-relaxed, openly seductive “unafraid to dive head-first into fun” version.  Differences aside, my personal ideal is seen in both characters ... overwhelmingly handsome with stylish chin stubble and edgy, hip clothes.

2.     So … aliens.  In the YA world of vampires, angels and werewolves, what made you want to write about aliens?

I refused to be bound by “the rules” that exist with the usual cast of characters: vampires, angels and werewolves. They’re incredibly fun and won’t disappear anytime soon, yet writing about “an unknown” gave me the flexibility and license to do almost anything.

From the start, it was challenging to escape the expected biases against the alien subject. Typically, they’re associated with a super-horror extreme that can easily turn ridiculous if mishandled. The secret to making the idea work was to ground the story in a YA reality … real characters and places with a dialogue-driven plot that’s plausible, and to some degree, based on science. That being said, I didn’t want to go “off world” in the book, or show any of the stereotypical sci-fi scenes. I wanted readers to recognize their own lives in the book.

It’s also important to remember that Starcrush is first and foremost a love story, so I intentionally played down the sci-fi elements and made it relatable to a young, hip audience — set at the amazingly awesome Jersey Shore.

3.     What part (or parts) of the story was most fun to write?

Of course, the love scenes were incredibly fun to write.  I prefer building sensual tension by pulling back at strategic moments, under the notion that anticipation is almost more intense than action. The book moments where the characters tease each other relentlessly were my favorite scenes to write. I also enjoy teasing the reader by being both subtle and direct at the same time … so the shock value is there, but immediately tempered by something less than obvious.

4.     How did you come up with your title?

I was looking for an astronomical term that was easily recognized. “Star” seemed like an obvious choice. Since the book is about crushing on ETs, I naturally merged the two ideas into “Starcrush.”

5.     What advice would you want to give anyone who wants to be a writer?

Read good books and watch good movies. Then read every review you can get your hands on, so you can get outside of your own perspective and learn how others view things. Do this enough, and you’ll be able to anticipate scenes, identify both weak and strong points and apply an “exaggerated awareness” to your own work.

Follow Starcrush on FaceBook and Twitter!

FTC Disclaimer:

This e-book was sent to me by the author for review.  This is not a sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.  No affiliate links were used.

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