Starcrossed -- Josephine Angelini


Helen Hamilton is so extremely shy that she has crippling stomach cramps whenever she gets attention from more than a few people at a time. She prefers to be invisible, and has trained herself to hold back in academics, sports, and even socially. She has a small group of friends, but she's also on the Bad List of her high school's resident Queen Bee.

Then a new family moves to Nantucket. The Delos clan is rich, beautiful, talented, and pretty much everyone on the island is fascinated by them... except Helen. For some reason, she's irritated by all of the conversation about them. Even their names are enough to kick her into a foul mood. She chalks her mood swings up to the fact that she hasn't been sleeping well: she's been having nightmares about these three wailing, crying (tears of blood, natch) women.

That's all before she even meets any of the Delos family members. When she finally sees her new classmate, Lucas Delos, in person, she... well, she attacks him. We're talking burning, murderous rage. For a guy (who's way hot, of course) that she's never seen before in her entire life. And when that fight goes down, guess who she sees in the hallway? Yes, indeedy. The women from her dream.

Turns out, Helen Hamilton is just as weird as Mean Girl Gretchen has always maintained. It's just that she's weird in a way that no one would have ever expected: like the Delos family, she's a Scion, physically and mentally gifted, because she's descended from a demigod. But there's a serious drawback: it's ingrained in her to want to murder anyone descended from the other Houses... and vice-versa.

Would I recommend this wholeheartedly to Twilight fans? Yes. It's got the similarity in set-up, of course, with a girl and her single dad, a beauteous family moving in and the "Oh noes! We want to be together but we can't! storyline, though in this case, SPOILER it's more a "Oh noes! We want to be together but we can't A) because we want to kill each other, and B) because it would End the World, and C) because of a twist that fans of Cassandra Clare will be familiar with!" END SPOILER storyline, and so on.

TL;DR: It's very likely that it'll go over well with the Meyer fanbase.

Would I recommend this wholeheartedly to paranormal romance fans who also happen to be Twilight detractors? Yes. While there are some melodramatic moments and the dialogue occasionally gets a bit clunky, Josephine Angelini's writing is far stronger than Stephenie Meyer's*. Also, Helen has a personality. And, although she doesn't have years of combat training under her belt, she's strong, fast, and talented, and so physically, she's no pushover. (Translation: she doesn't have to get saved by the dudes on a regular basis.) [ETA: Also? NO LOVE TRIANGLE.]

The Greek god connection is fun, there are lots of unexpected twists in the plotting, and Helen's best friend is THE SHIT. (<--I don't say that lightly. I had my doubts about her at first, but ultimately, she is made of awesome.) And lastly, I thought Angelini did a great job of Helen and Lucas rolling their eyes at the selfishness of Helen and Paris all of those centuries ago—until they both realize just how much it sucks to fall in love with someone it's impossible to be with.

Fun stuff. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.


*ETA: Which, yes, is a low bar. But, still.


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Book source: Book marketing company.