{Review & Author Interview} Starstruck by Rachel Shukert

Today I am super excited to be featuring Rachel Shukert's newest book, Starstruck.  It looks like such an awesome book, and if you guys have heard of it feel free to promote it yourself!!!

by Rachel Shukert
Pages: 352
Release Date: March 12, 2013
by Delacorte Press (an imprint of Random House)

The golden age of glam...

Every week they arrive in Los Angeles--beautiful and talented young hopefuls who dream of becoming stars. It's all Margaret Frobisher has ever wanted—and when she's discovered by a powerful agent, she can barely believe her luck. She's more than ready to escape her snobby private school and conservative Pasadena family for a chance to light up the silver screen.

The competition is fierce at Olympus Studios and Margaret—now Margo—is chasing her Hollywood dreams alongside girls like Gabby Preston, who at 16 is already a grizzled show-biz veteran caught between the studio and the ravenous ambition of her ruthless mother, and sultry Amanda Farraday, who seems to have it all--ambition, glamour . . . and dirty secrets. Missing from the pack is Diana Chesterfield, the beautiful actress who mysteriously disappeared, and there are whispers that Diana's boyfriend—Margo's new co-star—may have had something to do with it. Margo quickly learns that fame comes with a price, and that nothing is what it seems.

Set in old Hollywood, Starstruck follows the lives of three teen girls as they live, love, and claw their way to the top in a world where being a star is all that matters.

*A copy was provided by Random House for review purposes*

What a star-studded story!  I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with this particular focus, and, I must say, I rather enjoyed it!  The idea was so awesome, and I really enjoyed how the foreshadowing played into the book, and how the circumstances all lined up.  It was really a very well thought through book, with fluid writing, perfect staging, and a few twists to keep the story interesting.  Add in a few attractive actors, cut-throat actresses, and crazy producers, and you’ve got yourself a book!  One thing that I really loved about this book was the fact that there were multiple points of view, but only one person was the main character really, and the other characters fed into her story (does that make sense?  I know I just kind of contradicted myself).  I really loved the ending and all the twists that it was made of – I never in a million years saw that one coming!  But this was just a very solid book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I wonder if there’s going to be a sequel though, because I never found out what happened to the other two supporting characters…

The three points of views that were featured in this book was those of Margo, Amanda, and Gabby.  The last two had shadowed pasts, and Margo was a rising star.  Perfect!  I really liked each of them because they all were a huge part of the story, had such strong personalities, and really made a difference.  Margo was a sweet belle who wasn’t used to Hollywood, Amanda was a seasoned – well, let’s call her actress – and was as cut-throut as anyone, and Gabby was having major issues.  What a cast!  Not to mention Dane, the love interest, who was definitely lovely.

All in all, this book was beautifully written, had awesome characters, and terrible twists.  What more could you want????

4 pink flowers

~Author Interview~

1. Why did you decide to become a writer?
To be honest, it was less a conscious decision than something that crept up on me. As a kid, I always had a running storyline in my head...like, I would be doing whatever I was doing, except in my head I was a different person, and so were the people all around me. It would look like I was sitting in the principal's office or at piano lessons, but in my mind I was 17th Century French aristocrat facing the guillotine or a young concert pianist at the audition of my life. But I always thought of it as somehow performative--it was years before I realized that I was writing stories, and that I was thinking like a writer. So I went to college for acting, and I started writing things for myself to perform, which turned into writing plays, which turned into writing books. Once I made the decision of "okay, I'm doing this now" things began to happen quickly. It was like I had always been a writer, but I was waiting for myself to figure it out.

2. Who were your biggest influences?
It depends what I'm writing! I like to experiment with a lot of different forms and styles, and doing that, I feel like I have different sets of influences in a way--it always helps to identify what you're trying to do, and then look at the work of the people who have done it in a way you admire. For "Starstruck" I looked a lot at kind of contemporaneous novels about Hollywood at that time, things like "What Makes Sammy Run?" and "The Day of the Locust" and "Inside Daisy Clover." Those books were great, because not only are they great books, they provided a lot of the right kind of research. Like, Budd Schulberg (who wrote "Sammy") knows exactly what restaurant someone might go to, and exactly what it looked like, because he was there. And also because they were written at the same time as "Starstruck" is set, they have a really casual attitude about the period, because to them, it isn't period. That was something I really wanted for my books--to have the period feel very lived in and organic, like you're really there, not sort of constantly commenting on it, you know? I also--unsurprisingly!--was really, really influenced by movies from around this time, especially movies about show business. Things like "Stage Door Canteen," "42nd Street," "The Bad and the Beautiful," "All About Eve." They've always been my favorites, and the book is kind of a tribute to them, that kind of "kid, you're going out there a scared amateur, but you've GOT to come back a star!" That's my favorite thing.

3. Where do you like to write?
At home. I have a little home office set up. I need it to be really quiet, so I can't really try to write in cafes or anything like that. Although I wish I could, it would be nice to get out of my apartment sometimes!

4. Do you have a special routine you like to do before you write?
It depends. I usually take it kind of easy when I first get up, read the paper, have breakfast, email, etc. And then the writing starts to come. I do like to have a little kind of game plan for the day, like, this is the point I want to get to by the time I'm done for the day, and I don't like to really push past that point unless I'm really feeling insanely inspired. It's important to set yourself manageable tasks and give your brain some time to unwind and do some subconscious operating.

5. When and how did you get the idea for Starstruck?
You know, I'm not sure anymore! I'd always loved old movies, and been really obsessed with Old Hollywood--not just the glamor, but the whole way it worked, with the studios, and the star system. But I think it was really two things--I remember reading some interview with Elizabeth Taylor where she was talking about growing up at the MGM lot, how all the child actors had their own school there, and ate all their meals together. And then I remember kind of thinking that the old studio star system was a lot like high school. You had different stars that represented different things, you had these very paternal, very powerful executives who would cover up all your mistakes, but also controlled every aspect of your life. There's a lot of potential for conflict there. And then of course, everyone is also gorgeous and talented and glamorous, so that's fun too!

6. What can we expect from the next book in the series?
It's hard to know how to answer without giving too much away! Basically, our girls are have been around a little more, they're a little more savvy about the world they're in and how to operate in it.  It's a little sexier, a little older, a little more sophisticated. Margo had this meteoric rise, in her career and in her love life--what now? How can you make it last? What do you do when you got everything you ever wanted and it turns out not to be everything it was cracked up to be? Amanda is trying to put her life back together, with some surprising--and very dramatic--results. And Gabby is asserting her independence more, and getting in touch with her wild side, but maybe she's playing with fire. There's lots of exciting new romance, and a lot of supporting players lurking in the shadows, waiting for their chance on the stage. And it's Hollywood, so as always there are lots of juicy secrets waiting to be spilled! I don't want to reveal too much that will spoil the first book!

1. Jelly or peanut butter?
Jam! And it has to be strawberry. Strawberry jam on buttered bread, this is my favorite thing.

2. Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Milk chocolate, absolutely. Between this and the jam, I feel like I'm revealing a lot about my palate, which is basically I like pretty much anything a 6-year-old likes.

3. Cats or dogs?
I have a cat, but I actually prefer dogs. Don't tell her though.

4. Hardcover/ paperbacks or ebooks?
Regular books at home, ebooks when I'm traveling. I feel like I get more absorbed with a print book, but I love being able to take a ton of books with me without having to make room for all of them in my suitcase.



  1. This sounds like a really cute read!! I would have liked this a lot when I was younger. Thanks for the review!

  2. I may have to put this on my TBR list. I had not heard of this book until I saw that it was a new release for this week over on the YA Romantics blog, and to be honest, nothing about the cover really draws me in. I am very glad I came to check your review out though, it changed my mind! This sounds like a really fun book. Thanks for your review!


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