Author: Minnie Drake
Publisher: Transworld Publishers, Random House UK
First Published: 03 October 2019
Rating: 5 stars
“Because love like this wasn’t something you could make happen. It was a magic spark, and you just has to hope that somehow, somewhere, sometime, you would be there when the match struck the flint.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Transworld Publishers and NetGalley!
Sometimes even destiny needs a little bit of help. When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable. To Justine, anyway. Especially when she learns Nick is an astrological devotee, whose decisions are guided by the stars, and more specifically, by the horoscopes in his favorite magazine. The same magazine Justine happens to write for.
As Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, Justine decides to take Nick’s horoscope, and Fate itself, into her own hands. But, of course, Nick is not the only Aquarius making important life choices according to what is written in the stars.
Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, STAR-CROSSED is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.
I adore this novel. It was absolutely enchanting! It’s light-hearted, witty and hilarious in an oh-my-god-this-is-so-embarrassing-and-equally-relatable kind of way.
This romance is set in Australia, which is refreshing, and follows childhood friends turned sweethearts, Justine Carmichael and Nick Jordan. Justine is correcting the spelling of a green grocer’s sign when Nick, dressed as a fish promoting seafood, bumps into her. Justine finds herself thinking about Nick and how they could be in a relationship. Only there are two problems — first Nick has a girlfriend and second, he makes his decision based on Leo Thornbury’s horoscopes. Luckily for Justine, Leo writes for the magazine she works for and she decides that maybe Nick needs a helping hand to get on board with her idea.
I adored Justine’s character. Justine is working herself ragged as copy runner while she waits for her cadetship and to finally achieve her dream of becoming a journalist. She has an almost freaky ability to recall literary quotes and is a stickler for grammatical accuracy. This is to the point she carries around a sharpie to correct any errors that appear on signs, programs and menus. While I loved her character, I didn’t understand why she couldn’t just talk to Nick. But overall I find her relatable. She has this deep-seated fear that she’ll be stuck in as copy runner, never moving on to her ‘real’ life, while everyone around her is growing up.
Nick is a true dreamer. He’s an aspiring actor, who lives for the stage. He doesn’t care that he doesn’t own a car, lives off two-minute noodles and works casual hospitality jobs between his acting roles. He loves acting and doesn’t want to give it up, despite the not so subtle hints dropped by his girlfriend.
The romance is a super slow burn. It takes the pair pretty much the entire novel to get together. I just wanted them to get together right away but the wait was well worth it.
One of the things that I adored about this novel is that you can see the consequences of Justine’s actions. To her horoscopes don’t mean anything and her goal is to influence Nick’s decisions but she doesn’t realise that there are a lot of other readers who also use their horoscope as guides. There is a beautiful symmetry to this. Justine’s horoscopes affect the decisions of these readers and in turn, their decisions affects the overall plot and bring the pair together.
There is an omniscience nature to Minnie Drake writing style when we branch into the side cast. For each person we are introduced too we find out their sign and a little about them. For example, ‘Margie McGee — Aquarius, writer of haiku, bird-watcher and wildlife warrior, regular blood donor (AB negative) and long servings Greens political advisor —…’ I love this, we get a quick insight into each person and it adds to the whimsical nature of the story.
A lot of people roll their eyes at astrology, myself included, and Drake does a wonderful job as highlighting both sides. Those who rely too heavily on and place a lot of importance on their signs and those who think it’s nonsense. I do love how the book is split into each of the astrological signs, starting with Aquarius and cycling through the start signs back to Aquarius.
Star-Crossed is masterfully crafted. There is a similar feel to movies Love Actually and Valentine’s Day. If you’re a fan of these types of movies I highly recommend. The story does take on slightly ridiculous but whimsical twists which each horoscope but it had me smiling the entire time.