Friday, March 21, 2014

Pretend Love - A Review of CATCH A FALLING STAR by Kim Culbertson

A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

Kim Culbertson is the author of the teen novels CATCH A FALLING STAR (Scholastic 2014), INSTRUCTIONS FOR A BROKEN HEART (Sourcebooks 2012), and SONGS FOR A TEENAGE NOMAD (Sourcebooks 2010). 

She believes books make the world a better place and likes to be on the look out for books she really connects with and loves. Any book she reviews on Goodreads is one of these finds.

Happy reading. 

Each month I write a newsletter called Point of View featuring a YA book I love and some ideas for writing and teaching.


This review is a hard for me to nail down.  

This is the story about Carter Moon who lives in a small town in California.  Once Hollywood invades the town to film the next big movie starring bad-boy teen actor, Adam Jakes, the town and Carter may be changed forever.  

Carter is hired to date Adam in an attempt to clean up his public image.  Because of her brother's poor choices, her family is in desperate need of money so she agrees to play the part.

It's no real surprise that Adam turns out to be completely different than the impression that he gives.  He and Carter begin to draw closer as their fauxmance begins to feel more and more real.  It sounds a bit cliche, but is also cute and romantic.

My struggle with this book is with Carter herself.  I have seen other reviewers describe her as too perfect.  I simply found her boring.  She was very flat very 'beige'.  She was just not believable.  I had to heavily rely on the other characters to carry me through this story.

This is a weird thing, but I was also thoroughly distracted by some of the character names in this story. Carter's best friend was called Alien Drake.  And not once that I can recall did she ever call him by a shortened name.  I get that 'Alien Drake" was his nickname, but I cannot imagine referring to one's best friend that way all the time.

There were many parts of the story that I loved.  Carters friends were wonderful characters.  I loved that they would go and stargaze and then blog about the stars and the great mysteries of the world that were solved while watching them twinkle in the night sky.  There were blog entries at the beginnings of the chapters and it was a completely creative and fun way to set the tone for the chapter.

I know I mentioned some negatives about this book, but really, if you are looking for a cute and sweet YA Romance, you should give this a try.

Overall, I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars

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