Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner - AVERAGE

Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst and Paula Garner, 335 pages.  Candlewick, 2019.  $18.

Language: R (59 swears, 20+ “f”); Mature Content: R; Violence: G



Pretty, popular Zoe’s perfect life has never intersected with weird, inept Samantha’s at their high school until the day Zoe sees Sam’s painting and wants to borrow it for a high school production.  Their casual text conversations turn into the creation of their own magical universe which they eventually call Starworld.  Both girls need the escape of Starworld.  Zoe’s supposedly perfect life is complicated by her repressed feelings over having been placed for adoption as an infant and that her severely autistic brother is large enough that they are looking for a supervised home for him. Sam’s father has been absent for years now, leaving Sam behind when he moved to England and her mother’s OCD behaviors have become out of control and oppressive.  As the girls becomes friends and spend more time in Starworld, Sam falls in love with Zoe. Thinking Zoe might feel the same way, Sam makes a move – now both girls have to figure out how to proceed when their friendship comes to a crashing halt.

Rather than giving us a fairy tale ending, Coutlhurst and Garner give us reality in a form that is compelling and believable.  While the description makes it sound issue heavy, the authors really weave everything together skillfully.  The mature content is a flashback to Zoe’s brother stripping naked and playing with himself in front of one of her friends.

Cindy, Library Teacher, MLS

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