Tag Archives: Star-Crossed

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Review by Lizzie B. ’24)

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is an eloquent urban fantasy that takes place from 1873 to 1902. It follows Celia Bowen, born with magical ability, and Marco Alisdair, trained in magic from a young age, as they battle head-to-head in a competition with no clear rules or boundaries. The story twists and turns back and forth through time, flashing between the perspectives of different characters and concluding in a satisfying if not perfect ending. Morgenstern’s mastery over description brings Le Cirque de Rêves to life and the discourse between characters proves engaging if not a bit complicated.

I enjoyed the book greatly because all my questions were answered by the end of the book and I fell in love with the characters and little romances. With that having been said, the story has plenty of complexities that might make this read difficult if you aren’t willing to stick it out. I loved those complexities as they added depth to the story and I absolutely loved the idea of being among the Rêveurs or attending one of the Circus Dinners. As much as I enjoyed it and will encourage others to read it, it is certainly not for everyone. –Review by Lizzie B. ’24

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Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (Review by Emily M. ’24)

Carry On (Simon Snow, #1)Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell tells the story of Simon Snow and Baz Pitch—roommates for seven years, instant enemies, and living at the Watford School of Magicks. There is a war happening in the World of Mages between the old families, the Mage, and an entity called the Humdrum. Simon and Baz must decide who to fight for. This book technically counts as a sequel. The characters are originally from the world of a fanfiction written by the main character in another Rainbow Rowell novel called Fangirl. I did not read Fangirl before reading this, but I found no issues in understanding the plot. The author develops the characters perfectly, and the plot of the story is paced well and leads up to a stunning conclusion. I was pleasantly surprised, and I absolutely loved both Baz and Simon and how their relationship plays out by the end of the novel. Carry On has a sequel out now, and it is planned to become a trilogy soon. Readers of Harry Potter will love this new magical world. —Review by Emily M. ’24

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Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (Review by Anika F. ’21)

Midnight Sun (Twilight, #1.5)Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Midnight Sun has been long-awaited for many Twihards. Honestly, the original series is pretty mediocre, but I wanted to see what the hype was about with this new release. And I was pleasantly surprised?

what was good
1) Bella: her personality is so much more interesting, and I loved learning about her
2) more backstory on the Cullens
3) Edward’s perspective: it was fascinating going through Edward (and by proxy, everyone else’s) thoughts
4) ALICE CULLEN: do I need to say more?

what was bad
1) unjustified creepy stalking
2) unjustified over-protectiveness
3) extensive repetition and redundancy: this book could have been like 400 pages if an editor had stepped in

Overall, I can’t decide if this is worse than the original or better. I think that this one paints the romance in a better light since Bella actually has a personality. On the other hand, this narrative went on and on for 25 whole hours while the original is MUCH shorter. But, hey, I felt 12 again and that’s the most I can ask from a vampire romance book about a creepy, stalker dude. -Review by Anika F. ’21

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The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (review by Sachi B. ’21)

The Sun Is Also a StarThe Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Written by Nicola Yoon, The Sun is Also a Star is a novel revolving around two young adults Natasha and Daniel, who fall in love despite the numerous obstacles that come their way. First, Daniel is Korean and Natasha is African-American, which is a racial difference they believe their families would not approve of. Moreover, Natasha is an undocumented immigrant and is to be deported the exact day they meet, forcing the two lovers to separate. Despite the challenges they face, both Natasha and Daniel attempt to make the best of their bad situations. They focus on the present and on each other, cherishing the time they have left together, instead of constantly worrying when they will have to leave each other.

This book is unique and showcases the perspective and thoughts of each character by labeling their names at the top of every page rather than being narrated from only one perspective. This allowed the reader to really feel what the lovers are feeling, and anticipate and fear what will happen to the protagonists. I would definitely recommend this book due to its beautiful concept of how living in the moment is such an important concept that everyone needs to implement in their own lives. – Sachi B. ’21

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Origin by Jessica Khoury (review by Anya W. ’20)

Origin (Corpus, #1)Origin by Jessica Khoury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pia is perfect. The result of five generations of careful breeding and genetic manipulation she is a girl with unbreakable skin, destined to be untouched by the hands of time. For now, however, she’s just a teenager, studying and working towards her lifelong dream of being part of the team of scientists and creating more immortals… starting with her very own Mr. Perfect. For now. However Pia is a teenager. And teenagers rebel. It is what they do. A few catalysts, a fated meeting in the woods, a visit or two from certain invested parties—and she is set on a whole new path, one that will expose the what is hidden in the light.

Origin by Jessica Khoury is a well written YA novel that pulls you into the story until the very end, even if most plot points can be predicted light-years away by an experienced reader. The romance is sweet, the protagonists’ motivations more complex than is typically found in YA novels, and everything wraps up in a finale as bittersweet as nestle chips. It is a good way to spend a lazy summer morning, especially for YA fans sick of love triangles and unintelligent, flighty female protagonists motivated only by the whims of whatever set of sensations and emotions they ascribe to love. Pia’s actions are driven by logic, reasoning that could realistically come from her life experiences, plain old curiosity and teenaged rebellion. For that, I truly wish I had the ability to give a 3.5 star review. However, once you put the book down or have to slog through a particularly wearisome passage, the spell is broken, and while the book is good, it is missing a little something.
– Anya W. ’20

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Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub (review by Prameela K. ’19)

Still Star-CrossedStill Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After reading Romeo and Juliet, I couldn’t help but wonder: “What happens now?”

Melinda Taub’s novel aims to answer that question, and many of the other ones that readers may ask after finishing Romeo and Juliet. Unsurprisingly, the Montagues and Capulets–who entered a dubious truce in the aftermath of their children’s deaths–are still feuding, unable to suppress the animosity rooted in their bloodline. Intending to quell the dissension that is plaguing his city, Prince Escalus of Verona devises a plan in which he arranges for a member of the house of Montague–Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin– to marry a member of the house of Capulet–Rosaline, Juliet’s cousin and Romeo’s first love (before he meets Juliet). Neither Benvolio nor Rosaline are thrilled about the prospect of an arranged marriage with one another, and they form an initially unenthusiastic alliance in order to put an end to their engagement.

Rosaline is independent and strong-willed, and she develops as a character. While Benvolio also undergoes a significant amount of moral growth, his personality is rather muted, but his chemistry with Rosaline makes up for his blandness. While their relationship is the main highlight of the novel,
another surprisingly appealing element is mystery. There are clues, red herrings, buildup, and an ultimate reveal that is well-executed though somewhat predictable. It’s no Agatha Christie mystery, but it’s interesting enough.

One of the most interesting aspects of the novel is the dialogue. All characters speak Shakespearean English, complete with “thees” and “thous”. The setting is undoubtedly Shakespearean, and the re-imagining of supporting characters from Romeo and Juliet makes Taub’s continuation of the tragedy vivid and creative. Yet one of the weakest points of the novel (and one of the main reasons why I rate this book three stars and not four) is the inclusion of a love triangle–one with a predictable outcome–that distracts from the mystery at the core of the plot and slows the story progression.

Overall, Still Star-Crossed is a good book with an enjoyable plot and a compelling protagonist, and I’m looking forward to seeing how Shondaland’s new show will provide its own take on the novel! – Prameela K. ’19

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Heartless by Marissa Meyer (review by Prameela K. ’19)

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a fan of Marissa Meyer and her science fiction fantasy Lunar Chronicles series, I was eager to read her standalone debut. Once I learned that Heartless was a fairy tale origin story with a Victorian setting, my anticipation only heightened. A fantasy period novel based on Alice in Wonderland? Count me in.

Heartless draws upon many aspects of Lewis Carroll’s whimsical world in Meyer’s re-imagination of the Kingdom of Hearts, where Wonderlandesque oddities and the social constructs of Victorian-era England intermingle to create a setting equally strange and captivating.

At the center is Catherine, a teenage girl with big dreams and an even bigger heart. Unlike many young adult protagonists, she is not overbearing or infuriating, and her kindness is admirable. She is a lover of all things sweet, and her aspiration in life is to open up a bakery–but her parents have different plans for her and aim to consolidate her marriage to the foolish, and incredibly annoying, King of Hearts.

Oh, but of course, there is a love interest: Jest, the roguish and devilishly handsome court jester. He has a mysteriously magical past and the obscurity of his identity may be frustrating at times, but he makes up for it with his humor and charm. He and Cath have instant chemistry and their interactions are chock-full of witty repartee. Oh, and do not forget Jest’s equally mysterious raven, who is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem and only speaks in, well, poetry. Jest is also a friend of the famed Hatter, who was really quite a hunk back in the day — before he went mad and all.

Because Cath starts out as a well-rounded character with a strong sense of right and wrong, there is little room for moral development. Instead, Meyer focuses on her progression from being an aspiring young baker to being the Queen of Hearts. The plot is filled with twists and turns as Catherine embarks on a journey to fulfill her goals and discover who she truly is. While the novel has its fair share of romance, the action is what truly captivated me–Cath’s bravery shines through when it matters the most.

At points, the plot progresses slowly, but as the page count dwindled I found myself more and more enthralled in the characters’ fates. Whopping revelations, nail-biting action sequences, and heart-wrenching plot twists combine to form a stress-inducing final 100 pages that culminate in an ending that is, at first, shocking. But after a few days of deep thinking, I realized that the plot had really been going in that direction all along, and one of the main reasons why Heartless made such a strong impression. – Prameela K. ’19

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Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok (review by Anya W. ’20)

Girl in TranslationGirl in Translation by Jean Kwok
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When eleven-year-old Kimberly Chang moves to New York straight from China with her newly widowed mother, severely lacking English skills and with little help from her uncaring aunt and uncle, hope seems dim. Indeed for her first few years in America the young genius struggles in a rat and cockroach-infested apartment, working every day after school in a Chinatown sweatshop. But gradually, as her English improves and she pushes herself onward–even getting accepted into her dream schools–she begins to create a beautiful future for herself. Until, that is, the day she realizes she must choose between love and the future she wants for herself and her family. In this touching coming-of-age novel about hard work, social inequality, friendship, first love, and infatuation, Kwok paints a beautifully realistic portrait of a teenager struggling and succeeding to take control of her own destiny.

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Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (review by Andrew R. ’17)

Wuthering HeightsWuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In “The Glass Essay,” her long and brilliant verse meditation on aging and self-knowledge, the poet Anne Carson invokes the middle Brontë sister again and again as a parallel to her own experience: “I feel I am turning into Emily Brontë, / my lonely life around me like a moor, / my ungainly body stumping over the mud flats with a look of transformation / that dies when I come in the kitchen door.” On its surface, Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë’s only novel, is a gothic romance: it follows the cruel and sinister Heathcliff and his consuming, almost maddening obsession with a childhood lover. But, for Carson and for me, it’s not the romantic tension that sets Wuthering Heights apart from all other eighteenth-century British novels—it’s the fog of gloom that pervades the book’s pages, from the somber, mist-shrouded moors where the story takes place to the towering tragedies that loom large in the protagonists’ destinies (and in Brontë’s own life). Unremitting gloom might not sound like a compelling backdrop to a romantic novel, but in the end it’s precisely that quality that makes Wuthering Heights linger in my mind in a way few other classics do.

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The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama (review by Shannon H. ’16)

The Marriage Bureau for Rich PeopleThe Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this book was a fun read — I enjoyed learning about marriage practices in India (although I am not entirely sure how accurately the practices are portrayed). The depiction of modern India resonates with me; I understood the ever-present inequality and the social turmoil, and I felt the heated debates between traditional cultural values and modern interpretations of humanity. However, I found that the novel dissolved from a potential critique of the system into a contrived love story between a rich Brahmin male (upper class) and a poor, but still Brahmin, working woman. I was mildly disappointed, but I still found The Marriage Bureau for Rich People a quick and fun read.

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