Saturday, October 01, 2016

Summer of Supernovas, by Darcy Woods

For Wil, the next few weeks will be especially critical:  a brief period of planetary alignment means that she will have to face her worst astrological fear (the Fifth House).  In plain English, this is a prime period in which she could find the Love of Her Life (just as long as he is not a Pisces!).

To her credit, she does find the right guy with the right sign.  Seth doesn't just have the right birthdate, he's also a nice guy and friendly.  So then, why does she find herself distracted by his brother Grant?  And why does she find herself thinking about Grant instead of Seth when they're together.  Grant can't possibly be Mr. Right -- he has an entirely wrong sign altogether!

Faced with a conflict between what the stars tell her and what her heart desires, Wil makes a mess of things for 300+ glorious pages.  The fact that she is blessed with a loyal BFF, two doting (and unbelievably patient) potential boyfriends, a bunch of supportive adults, and no real responsibilities make this YA romance nirvana.  I, on the other hand, found it saccharine and unrealistic.  Folks may attribute my negative response to my gender, but this is honestly vapid stuff.  I've got no issue with romances.  They can work quite well when the characters have depth, honest motivations, and the reader is allowed to develop sympathy for both side.  A reviewer compared this novel with Jenny Han's books, but there is so much more going on in those books (like guys who actually have feelings and relationships based upon communication).

The set-up (girl obsessed with astrology to the point of ignoring common sense) wears thin and is a paper tiger that she will easily overcome in the end (I was somewhat more impressed with her twelfth-hour defeat of her clown phobia).  It didn't help my mood that, once again, we have the dead mother trope (although ironically much is made of Grant and Seth's angelic mother putting in pinch hitter maternal advice).  The most original (and my favorite part) were the two sidekicks (Irina and Manny) who provide some original (albeit ethnically-stereotyped) comic relief.

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