A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Starstruck is the story of three teen girls who are trying to make it as actresses in the late 1930s, during the Golden Age of Hollywood. One is a former "escort" and lived in a brothel, another is disowned by her parents, and the third has a controlling mother and is forced to take pills to control her weight and insomnia. There's mild violence (a slap) and swearing ("bitch," "crap", "prick," "assh--e"). The majority of the characters (both teens and adults) drink and smoke. There's mild kissing and discussion of sex and homosexuality.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When Margaret Frobisher, a 17-year-old Pasadena girl who dreams of being actress, gets a contract with the fictional Olympus Studios in 1938 Hollywood, her world changes forever. She makes friends with charming Gabby Preston and bad girl Amanda Farrady, and quickly discovers that while Hollywood is definitely the glamorous place she's read about in magazines, it's also where dreams can be made and destroyed in the blink of an eye. Told from alternating viewpoints of teen and adult characters, Starstruck follows the three teen girls as they encounter fame, fortune, love, and heartache.
Is it any good?
Starstruck is good fun. It's quite charming and readers will quickly fall in love with main character Margaret, as well as Amanda, and Gabby. It's a coming-of-age story, but it also has romance, revenge, and a little bit of mystery. Historical fiction is all the rage now, so it's fun to see something set during the Golden Age of Hollywood. The writing is good and the story moves by quickly. However, the author's historical research could have been better, especially on items and terms used during the era and how the Hollywood studio system worked. And the way homosexuality is discussed is too progressive for the time. It would have been more accurate to show how much it was covered up and denied.
Author rachel Shukert obviously created backstories for her characters as homages to the lives of Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, Gypsy Rose Lee, and a little bit of Judy Garland thrown in for good measure, but she doesn't do it effectively. In any case, the allusions may be lost on today's teens who haven't heard those legendary Hollywood stories.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the Golden Age of Hollywood and classic film stars. Would you watch any movies from this era?
What do you think about how the movie studios in the 1920s exploited their stars, controlling every facet of their lives, including their private affairs -- covering up and making up stories, including fake romances? How would you deal with that?
Margaret struggles with choosing what she wants -- love or fame. Does she make the right choice? What would you choose?
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