Title – Uncross the Stars
Author – Janell Rhiannon
Publication Date – December 15, 2015
Fiona Lavender is the new girl at school. She has a chip on her shoulder and a penchant for poetry. Dario Martinez is the star quarterback, and the most unattainable guy on campus. Their stars cross when they are paired to study Romeo and Juliet for a senior English project. Their attraction is fragile and undeniable. But, Dario is afraid of what love will do; and Fiona is waiting for love to claim her.
Will they uncross the stars and find the love they both need to heal their pasts?
Uncross the Stars is my first book by Janell Rhiannon and I quite enjoyed the sweet, high school romance I found myself experiencing. Initially intrigued by the gorgeous cover and the synopsis that was reminiscent of Romeo & Juliet, I dove in. This book is exactly what a young adult romance should be, innocent and uncertain, packed with insecurities and histrionic emotions. Janell Rhiannon took me back to high school, where everything feels bigger and more life altering than it really is. Janell definitely captures the fickle social alliances and first loves of high school, giving Dario and Fiona’s story an authentic and reminiscent quality. The plot was certainly intriguing with its ups and downs, friendships and backstabbing.
“His fear of hurting someone surged forward. His distrust of love was crumbling beneath his feet. The road he’d been traveling had taken a sudden turn into unknown territory.”
Both Fiona and Dario were charming characters. True to their ages, they both felt very young and naïve, full of big dreams but completely unsure how to make them come true. We get bits and pieces of the complicated pasts that fuel their inability to love and trust, but I would have liked to know more about them as individuals in order to really connect with the characters, especially since I was left wondering what happened with Fiona’s most recent stepfather that she was so quick to dismiss. The tenuous connection between them was constantly tested and it was like watching a match being repeatedly lit and snuffed out, Janell Rhiannon definitely generated a heat between them before the dramatics of high school managed to douse the flames and leave the characters (and myself) wanting.
“You’re afraid it’ll make you weak, too. You’re afraid your stars are crossed.”
The first half of the book moved slowly, picking up about midway when the storyline really gained some traction. As the dramatic events unfolded, I was caught up in the immature and irritating scheming. I liked the tension created by knowing something the main characters didn’t, it kept me on edge, wondering when the floor would fall out from under them. My exasperation with Ryan grew as the book progressed, so I was really hoping for more of a comeuppance when karma finally got him in her crosshairs. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get another book or at least a novella to look into Dario, Fiona, and Ryan’s futures. It felt as if they barely had their feet back under them before the story was coming to an end. I look forward to watching Janell Rhiannon continue to develop her craft and delve into her characters, excited to see where this author plans on going next.
Looking at that cover of Uncross the Stars by Janell Rhiannon, how could you not become intrigued? Combined with the synopsis, which hints at a forbidden, star-crossed lovers type of feel, it immediately got added to my TBR. Once I dove in, it had a total Shakespearean vibe within a modern day setting which I found to be pretty interesting.
“Fate means our future’s already determined.”
Uncross the Stars is described as a love story, but I felt that the romantic aspect was completely overshadowed by the betrayals. Dario is the star quarterback of his high school with everything great going for him. His best friend, Ryan, is jealous and wants to steal the spotlight. The novel almost became a tale of the antihero, rather than the hero. When it came down to it, Ryan was ruthless, cunning, manipulative, and not afraid to ruin anyone who got in his way. Fiona was the innocent bystander in the entire situation. She fell for Dario and became the perfect way for Ryan to get to his best friend. At the end of the day the reader is left feeling extremely bad for her because she’s somewhat insecure, incredibly trusting, but a little naive when it comes to the relationship department. It’s hard to describe any of these characters in much detail because there wasn’t a lot of character exploration. What we learned about them felt very surface level, which also lead to a hard time connecting to them.
“It’s in our blood running through our veins like threads tying us to what’s written in the stars.”
Uncross the Stars is a very quick read. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of action happening or character development. There were also some grammar issues sprinkled throughout. However, the backstabbing and bullying, is incredibly appropriate to the age group written about. I thought that the events very easily could have unfolded in any high school with any group of kids. Your heart kind of breaks for those involved and what they’re struggling to overcome, but hoping that they come through it stronger and wiser. While I did have some minor struggles, I can see the potential and would definitely be interested to see what else Janell Rhiannon puts out into the world.
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