C.G. Drews's Reviews > Starworld

Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst
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bookshelves: contemporary, read-2019, young-adult

I'm still processing how I feel about this one but it's mostly 😭. It is such a heartfelt story and honestly my soul was a wreck about 50pgs in. It's soft and quiet, it's slow and thoughtful, it's about problematic family dynamics and love and deeply intimate friendship. The themes will just break you. And the ending, oh yeah wow. The ending has left me really sad.

| ZOE & SAM |
I loved them bothhhhh. They're so different and yet they clicked so fiercely, so wondrously.
Sam: She's like the antisocial nerd, she's an incredible artist, loves gaming, and has one (1) friend named Will and they are solidly loyal to each other. She also wants to design rockets and fantasy realms are how she gets through the day. Her mum has OCD and it...rules their lives basically. And like I get Sam's frustration and resentment of her mum? But it also hurt how much Sam blamed her mum for an uncontrollable mental illness. Sam is also queer and ends up falling for her straight best friend...Zoe.
Zoe So she's like Miss Perfect and she feels she HAS to be because she was adopted and she just has this overwhelming sense that she has to be "worthy" of it. Her brother, Jonah, is 15 and extremely disabled and looking after him is hard. Her mum is so frail and sick from cancer too. And like...I just felt for Zoe. Her heartache. Her fears. Her extreme kindness. Her ability to reach out to people who need a friend. She needed an escape and her friendship with Sam provides that. My heart aches for Zoe. UGH SHE'S LOVELY and I 100% get why Sam fell for her.

The story is about friendship, how fragile it can be, how fierce it can be. How it can rescue you....and damn you. They create a safe place for each other and I adored them together. How awkwardness melted into love, how they were non-judgmental and understanding of each other's messed up home lives.

It's not a romance -- it's a friendship story. (view spoiler)

Just want to shout out to the writing for being a thorough DELIGHT. It was just easy to read, fun and the dialogue had a wondrous flow. Sam and Zoe had really different voices, personalities, and reactions to things and...they were just so well crafted?! The whole story was just really well written and I am !!!! over good writing.

aka it reps things that I am extremely interested in (and fit into; although not in the specific strains the book deals with) and you can tell the authors put so much heart and consideration into the rep. I broke for the disability rep and how it was full of love, but also regret that Zoe's family couldn't take care of their son properly (it was never a case of "tossing" out a problem though; and I loved that the book didn't ever portray Jonah as ruining their lives or anything). I didn't love the OCD rep for Sam's mum, though. I few aspects made me deeply unhappy, especially with how Sam treated her mum because of it. (I also always have reservations when books feel like a pat on the back for neurotypicals who have to "deal" with disabled/mentally ill people in their lives. I don't think this book did it badly, it just always feel strained for me to read that plot thread.)

Sam and Zoe create basically this magical world called Starworld in their texts. They just tell each other this story, back and forth, of flying a dragon into the stars -- and it's silly and fun and wholesome and a good distraction for when their lives are crumbling. Their family lives are just a mess, but they have each other. And I think the core of the book was that: it's ok to need a safe place, a safe person, and when you're strengthened and ready -- you can face the mountains weighing you down. I do love that message.

You don't have to be alone when life is hard.

Like I really liked it and it made me super emotional. The ending didn't do it for me (I really feel let down) but it was such a soft and whimsical tale with characters who felt real and families that needed sticking back together with glue and tape and girls who taught each other to be brave.
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Reading Progress

June 14, 2019 – Started Reading
June 14, 2019 – Shelved
June 14, 2019 –
page 150
42.61% "this book's #1 goal in life seems to be to maKE ME CRY"
June 15, 2019 – Shelved as: contemporary
June 15, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
June 15, 2019 – Shelved as: young-adult
June 15, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Rebecca (new)

Rebecca I don’t think I can read a book with that much ableism. It seems like just another YA that can’t do disRep right. There seems to be this push for abled authors to write novels about being a family member of a disabled person, and still too few books from disabled authors #OwnVoices

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