Star-Crossed by Barbara Dee

Synopsis: Mattie, a star student and passionate reader, is delighted when her English teacher announces the eighth grade will be staging Romeo and Juliet. And she is even more excited when, after a series of events, she finds herself playing Romeo, opposite Gemma Braithwaite’s Juliet. Gemma, the new girl at school, is brilliant, pretty, outgoing—and, if all that wasn’t enough: British.

As the cast prepares for opening night, Mattie finds herself growing increasingly attracted to Gemma and confused, since, just days before, she had found herself crushing on a boy named Elijah. Is it possible to have a crush on both boys AND girls? If that wasn’t enough to deal with, things backstage at the production are starting to rival any Shakespearean drama! In this sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, Mattie learns how to be the lead player in her own life.
Review: Star-Crossed was freaking adorable. Mattie was easy to relate to, even though I'm much older than her. I still remember those middle school struggles, and Barbara Dee brought them to light in a beautiful way. Reading about her interactions with her siblings and her friends was a delight every time. I will say that I wish we had seen Mattie around her parents more. They always seemed absent which was unfortunate. I also don't think the reactions to her keeping secrets from her best friends was realistic. There just didn't seem to be any consequences to that decision. Her friends were great though. I loved getting to know them, just like I enjoyed getting to know Mattie.

The story was predictable, but fun. The thing I enjoyed the most was how small the focus was on the actual gender of Mattie's crush. The book itself read like a cute story about a girl crushing on a boy. I think kids the same age as Mattie need books like that, where crushes don't really change whether you're crushing on a boy or a girl. There were obviously some moments where Mattie felt ashamed or unsure because she was crushing on another girl, but it felt very natural. I also liked that Mattie admitted she could still have crushes on guys. There are not a lot of books with bisexual main characters, but Star-Crossed should definitely be included.

Overall, a fun read with great characters.

4 howls