Starworld
Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true self: the girl who was abandoned as an infant, whose adoptive mother has cancer, and whose disabled brother is being sent away to live in a facility. When an unexpected encounter results in the girls’ exchanging phone numbers, they forge a connection through text messages that expands into a private universe they call Starworld. In Starworld, they find hilarious adventures, kindness and understanding, and the magic of being seen for who they really are. But when Sam’s feelings for Zoe turn into something more, will the universe they’ve built survive the inevitable explosion?

Starworld Details

TitleStarworld
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 16th, 2019
PublisherCandlewick Press
Rating
GenreLGBT, Contemporary, Young Adult, Fiction, Romance, GLBT, Queer, Realistic Fiction, Health, Mental Health, Young Adult Contemporary, Mental Illness

Starworld Review

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
    January 1, 1970
    I read this book from start to finish in just over 3 hours because I got so sucked into the story. I feel like I have whiplash 😳 review to come later when I’ve had more time to actually process what I read!
  • Adriana
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5 StarsThis story is hopeful, bittersweet, hard-hitting, and affirming all at once. The friendship betweeen Zoe and Sam leaves my heart soaring ❤Also, this book contains:▪ queer rep (note: this is not an f/f romance)▪ mental health rep (OCD & anxiety)▪ adoption rep▪ developmental disability rep(And it was all handled extremely carefully, IMO, which I appreciate.) 4.5/5 StarsThis story is hopeful, bittersweet, hard-hitting, and affirming all at once. The friendship betweeen Zoe and Sam leaves my heart soaring ❤Also, this book contains:▪︎ queer rep (note: this is not an f/f romance)▪︎ mental health rep (OCD & anxiety)▪︎ adoption rep▪︎ developmental disability rep(And it was all handled extremely carefully, IMO, which I appreciate.)
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    Just received my copy.This book is legit gorgeous!The ombre blue to purple...I cannot wait to jump into this one.Take me to Starworld!
  • Kylie Amber
    January 1, 1970
    * I was sent an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *The ending fell flat because what was being worked up to flopped and didn’t happen.
  • Kristy
    January 1, 1970
    Despite running in very different circles in school, Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have more in common than they think: they both want to escape the difficulty that is their home lives. Sam is a quiet loner, content to spend Sundays with her best friend, Will. She loves the stars, but isn't sure she'll ever be able to study them, thanks to her mom, whose life is ruled by obsessive compulsive disorder. Ever since her Dad moved overseas, the burden of caring for her Mom falls squarely on Sam. Meanwhile Despite running in very different circles in school, Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have more in common than they think: they both want to escape the difficulty that is their home lives. Sam is a quiet loner, content to spend Sundays with her best friend, Will. She loves the stars, but isn't sure she'll ever be able to study them, thanks to her mom, whose life is ruled by obsessive compulsive disorder. Ever since her Dad moved overseas, the burden of caring for her Mom falls squarely on Sam. Meanwhile, at school, Zoe seems carefree and popular. But her charisma hides her secrets: she struggles with the fact that she's adopted. She also has a mom in remission from cancer and a disabled younger brother who is the main focus of her parents. When the girls have a chance meeting at school, they exchange phone numbers, and suddenly find themselves bonding over text messages and a land they've created together: Starworld. Starworld gives Zoe and Sam the escape from reality they both so desperately need. But can it survive all the outside influences and stress each are facing? "If I have a superpower, it's invisibility. Like the perpetually overcast skies of Portland in winter, I'm part of the background -- a robot with a disappearance drive, the dullness against which everyone else shines." ~Sam This was an interesting and somewhat different YA novel. I enjoyed the story of two brave girls battling tough circumstances. Boy, poor Zoe and Sam certainly had the weight of the world on their shoulders. I really liked both of our main characters. The book tells the story from each of their perspectives, making it easy to know each girl. I found myself a bit more aligned to Sam--probably because she was queer and shy (like drawn to like, right?). As other reviews have mentioned, some of the book is in texting format, as Sam and Zoe fall into Starworld. Being far removed from teenagehood myself (sigh), I will admit that I did sometimes sort of "fast read" or skim those sections. I appreciated them--because Starworld meant so much to these girls and their friendship--but the text-speak wasn't always the easiest to read and digest. I had picked this up thinking it was a love story, but it's not a true romance, though there's love in other forms. There's some great representation in this book: a queer character in Sam, plus discussion of adoption, mental illness (OCD and anxiety), disabilities, and more. All were very well treated too, I felt. The book felt a little slow at times. It felt a little repetitive in its insistence on Zoe feeling different due to being adopted. Still, I was very drawn to Sam and Zoe's story. There was a strength in each of them, and I was intrigued to see what was going to happen. Sam's arc as she struggled with her romantic feelings was especially strong and wonderfully done. Even though much of the book is serious, it's also very funny at times, with some excellent quotes and zingers. (I really did love Sam and her sense of humor; she was right up my alley.) "I hate using phones for their original intended purpose. It's like Alexander Graham Bell wondered, Hey, what could maximize the awkwardeness of human-to-human communication? And then answered himself by giving us the ability to speak to one another through stupid disembodied little boxes." I mean, right? One of the best quotes ever. So, overall, this book is really a love story of friendship and triumph. It's very easy to root for the characters and get caught up in their lives. I was often just aghast at how much these poor girls had to go through. If you're not necessarily used to text-speak, it may give you a pause, but Starworld is a big part of the book (obviously!) and it's woven well into the story. This was a different and intriguing read, and I'm glad I picked it up. 3.5+ stars (rounded up to 4 here). I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Librarything in return for an unbiased review (thank you!).
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  • Catherine ♡
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to both NetGalley and LibraryThing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*Actual Rating: 2.5Hm. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I absolutely LOVE the premise and the idea of all the characters. On the other hand, actually reading the book was a lot less enjoyable for a number of reasons.First though, a blurb. Starworld is written in two main perspectives. There’s Sam Jones, who lives an invisible life at school and relies on her one and only friend *Thank you to both NetGalley and LibraryThing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*Actual Rating: 2.5Hm. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I absolutely LOVE the premise and the idea of all the characters. On the other hand, actually reading the book was a lot less enjoyable for a number of reasons.First though, a blurb. Starworld is written in two main perspectives. There’s Sam Jones, who lives an invisible life at school and relies on her one and only friend, Will. Her mom has OCD, and after her parents' divorce, it only got worse—Sam has no idea how she could ever leave home and pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Then, there’s Zoe. Zoe is popular and loved by everyone, but her life isn’t as great as it seems to be. She was abandoned as a baby, her adoptive mother has cancer, and her brother is being sent away to a facility. As Zoe and Sam’s lives collide unexpectedly, they find themselves creating a whole new universe where they can escape from the real world, and they dub it—Starworld.So, I LOVE the idea of Starworld. I jumped into the story imagining flowing colors and adventures and excited to read outlandish descriptions. Unfortunately, the way Starworld was written in the same way I used to roleplay in Harry Potter forums. Like this: *hugs* *coughs on dust* And by being written this way, Starworld just seemed unremarkable and amateurish; I found myself cringing too often—the texting and writing style was reminiscent of what I typed as a ten-year-old.Other than that, the plot seemed a little flat. There were some ups and downs, but once again, it felt very childish when they were based on silly misunderstandings.I also think the characters could have been explored more in general; Will was a character that I already loved. Yet, even as the best friend, he barely got any screen time! Overall, I think more intimate interactions between Sam or Zoe and OTHER characters could have helped this book a lot and given us a clearer picture of how these characters lived in their environment, not just with each other.Overall, this was still a fun little read, and giving it two stars definitely feels really low, but it was the writing style of Starworld itself (in its texting format) that disappointed me so much I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving it a three.
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  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
    January 1, 1970
    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .Starworld is a sweet book, told from the points of view of Sam and Zoe. (And incidentally, written by two authors whose work I rather enjoy.) There were definitely wins for me, with a few reservations, so I am just going to break it down as such! The Wins: •Holy emphasis on family! This is beautiful, frankly. The times I felt the most emotion while reading is while these two young wom You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight .Starworld is a sweet book, told from the points of view of Sam and Zoe. (And incidentally, written by two authors whose work I rather enjoy.) There were definitely wins for me, with a few reservations, so I am just going to break it down as such! The Wins: •Holy emphasis on family! This is beautiful, frankly. The times I felt the most emotion while reading is while these two young women were interacting with (or speaking about) their families. Having them be able to open up to each other about struggles they felt unable to share with anyone else was really sweet. And goodness, the sheer love that radiated from their respective family units had my heart melting over and over again. I found that they were all so relatable, as they had their own problems (some very severe) but tried desperately to work together to make things better. •The characters were quirky and adorable and seemed really relatable. They were both trying to come to terms with so, so much life upheaval. And not just your typical "growing up" stuff, though that was part of it for sure. Sam is dealing with an absent father, a mother with a mental illness, a best friend who's starting to move on a bit without her, and well, feelings for Zoe. Zoe has a whole host of family situations from a special needs brother, a mom who's just gone through cancer treatment, and the fact that she's adopted. Not to mention, a boyfriend she doesn't seem so keen on, and friends who she has been distancing herself from. So when their worlds collide, it makes sense that they'd gravitate toward each other. Which leads to my next point... •Zoe and Sam leaning on each other was lovely. Really, it is incredible that they were able to find solace in this imaginary world they created. And that they could trust each other with this stuff that was both too big to handle alone, yet too hard to open up to anyone else about. The Reservations: •The actual "Starworld" was a little hokey. Look, I am all for them having this cute little inside world. But I don't know that I needed to read all the texts about it? In role-play-speak no less? At first I thought it was a little cheesy, but after that wore off, I just was mostly bored and just skimmed those parts. 🤷‍♀️ •I didn't really love the ending. I mean, I guess I hoped the story would go in a different direction? And maybe that's on me, but... my opinion stands. And I'll give you the least spoilery version possible, still under spoiler tags because I personally hate spoilers but... I feel like this one is kind of big for people who were hoping for certain things from the book, so. (view spoiler)[If you are here for a f/f romance... look elsewhere. Sam loves Zoe, but, well. That's about the extent of that. And I feel like Zoe handles some stuff really poorly. (hide spoiler)] Bottom Line: Super sweet in terms of family and friendships, but lacking in a couple areas as well. Overall though, I was glad I read it.
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  • Alaina
    January 1, 1970
    I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Starworld was really cute dammit. Yet, it somehow made me feel disappointed in how it ended? Not quite sure what the whole plan was here but damn, it just fell completely flat. I was underwhelmed and I'm not okay with this.In this book, you will meet Sam and Zoe. I honestly really enjoyed their characters and was amazed with how two writers made everything flow nicely throughout the book. These two just sort of clicked with I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Starworld was really cute dammit. Yet, it somehow made me feel disappointed in how it ended? Not quite sure what the whole plan was here but damn, it just fell completely flat. I was underwhelmed and I'm not okay with this.In this book, you will meet Sam and Zoe. I honestly really enjoyed their characters and was amazed with how two writers made everything flow nicely throughout the book. These two just sort of clicked with one another and it was nice to just sit back and watch what would happen. Well, until it ended and now I don't know what day, month, or year it is. Throughout the book, you will definitely hit some bumps along the road of their adventure. I definitely wished things went differently in this book. Yes, with the ending but with other stuff as well (which I don't want to spoil dammit). Overall, I still enjoyed this book but hoped for a different outcome.
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  • Lara (Bookish_turtle)
    January 1, 1970
    This book wasn't bad, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.I was so ready for this to be all about a girl obsessed with outer space!! And like, it was, but also it was really more just a standard contemporary but with less romance and not much outer space in it at all. The concept was really good though, and quite unique which I enjoyed.The characters were okay, but neither of them felt super unique? Which I was especially surprised by, because there were two different authors I expec This book wasn't bad, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.I was so ready for this to be all about a girl obsessed with outer space!! And like, it was, but also it was really more just a standard contemporary but with less romance and not much outer space in it at all. The concept was really good though, and quite unique which I enjoyed.The characters were okay, but neither of them felt super unique? Which I was especially surprised by, because there were two different authors I expected totally different character voices, but they just blended together a bit for me which made the first person perspective hard.But both of their family lives were super interesting to read about, and that was definitely my favourite aspect of the book.Here's to hoping my next book has more rockets in it!! Many thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a review copy! All opinions are my own.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    *loves this book so much* :D :D :D
  • Lindsey
    January 1, 1970
    Talk about being completely blown away by a book that you expected to be a nostalgic whimsy read! Y'all, this book was EPIC and I LOVED it. I loved the synopsis and have a particular weakness for a dual POV book with two authors that each write one of the characters, so this was one I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. The basic story is that two girls from opposite ends of the social spectrum end up involved in each other's life, and it quickly becomes a profound relations Talk about being completely blown away by a book that you expected to be a nostalgic whimsy read! Y'all, this book was EPIC and I LOVED it. I loved the synopsis and have a particular weakness for a dual POV book with two authors that each write one of the characters, so this was one I was really looking forward to and it did not disappoint. The basic story is that two girls from opposite ends of the social spectrum end up involved in each other's life, and it quickly becomes a profound relationship for both of them. The thing that struck me most about this plot-line was how COMPLETELY relatable it was. Some of my most intense and important female friendships have sprung from some of the hardest moments of my life, where I just happened to reach for a tether at the same time as the other girl did - and it turned out we grabbed the same line. The other thing that I found so noteworthy about this book was how complicated, messy, and REAL it was. I have a gripe with books that add in timely subject matter just so they can say they've included it. It feels as though some authors have a checklist next to them, and they just write a sentence, i.e. "And Lindsey had anxiety.", check off "Anxiety Disorders," and then somehow want to claim that they're hip to the difficulties and have representation in their works. HOWEVER, as messy as these girls' lives were, none of it felt contrived. And when you break it down, they're dealing with a lot: divorce, adoption, LGBTQ+, disability, anxiety disorders, cancer, abandonment, etc. Not once did I feel like a situation was created to fit one of these issues -= it just felt like reading about two girls that I probably knew in high school and had no idea the lives they were actually living.Lastly, the way their relationship was formed and the beautiful world they created was so amazing. It felt really reminiscent of The Bridge to Terabithia, and this + the nostalgia of creating my own imaginary worlds as a kid made this such a fun part of the story. I loved the silliness of their dragon companion, and was especially tickled that he was fueled by Taco Bell hot sauce. (If you know me at all, you know I **love** me some Taco Bell!)Okay, so as it turns out I have one more thing ... it's somewhat of a spoiler, so I don't really want to lay it out here - but suffice it to say that I was hovering at 4 stars until the ending of the book. And it skyrocketed to 5 stars because of how the authors chose to end the book, which made it an even better representation of so many relationships I've had. Read the book, y'all. Share it with your girlfriends. Share it with your teen patrons. Share it with your kids. Just. Read it.
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  • ☼Shannon☼
    January 1, 1970
    *is wondering why she thought this was going to be a lesbian romance**is thinking about Zoe possibly being asexual*Zoe doesn't think about sex or how attractive she finds somebody while talking about how much she loves romance. That's what allosexual people do, right? I might be reading into it though.*is wondering why she didn't see the thing coming**is thinking about Zoe being adopted and her feelings about it*My dad was adopted and never wanted to meet his birth parents. I understand that its *is wondering why she thought this was going to be a lesbian romance**is thinking about Zoe possibly being asexual*Zoe doesn't think about sex or how attractive she finds somebody while talking about how much she loves romance. That's what allosexual people do, right? I might be reading into it though.*is wondering why she didn't see the thing coming**is thinking about Zoe being adopted and her feelings about it*My dad was adopted and never wanted to meet his birth parents. I understand that its his decision to make but I always felt like there was a piece of me missing. Its my history too. For Christmas, I got myself a DNA kit. The ethnicity results were enough to fill the hole that was missing. (99.3% european). I've never actually stopped to think what actually being adopted would be like.*is glad at all the Doctor Who references included**likes seeing 2 teens whose home lives are far from normal**likes that it was set so close to home*
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    What an adorable story. Starworld is the first novel I’ve read by either author, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it much more than I though I would. The fantastical elements of ‘Starworld’ as designed by Sam and Zoe were outstanding. And the care and sensitivity with which each of their family’s issues were covered was masterful. The authors were clearly well-researched and informed. The relationship between Zoe and Sam was also beautiful. With some people you just click, the What an adorable story. Starworld is the first novel I’ve read by either author, and I must say I am pleasantly surprised. I enjoyed it much more than I though I would. The fantastical elements of ‘Starworld’ as designed by Sam and Zoe were outstanding. And the care and sensitivity with which each of their family’s issues were covered was masterful. The authors were clearly well-researched and informed. The relationship between Zoe and Sam was also beautiful. With some people you just click, they become a part of you. And it’s hard to let that go if things go awry. Sam’s chapters were hilarious. And whichever author wrote her ‘voice’ has a wicked sense of humour. And much love goes out to the creation of a cool and arty, yet socially awkward nerd girl. I especially enjoyed the ending and how not everything was tied up in neat little bows - because life never turns out that way. 4.5 stars. Thank you to Audrey Coulthurst, Paula Garner, Candlewick Press and NetGalley for an arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Emily (emilykatereads)
    January 1, 1970
    Well, looks like 2019 will be the year I don't waste time on books I'm not enjoying. I DNF'd this one at page 102. Although, I did skip to the end and read most of the last 50ish pages so get the idea of where everything went. And yknow what, I'm totally fine that I gave up on this one. This is one I requested because I loved another book I read by Audrey Coulthurst, and I saw that this one looked sapphic... and well, It didn't pull through the way I'd hope. I'd say this definitely features a gi Well, looks like 2019 will be the year I don't waste time on books I'm not enjoying. I DNF'd this one at page 102. Although, I did skip to the end and read most of the last 50ish pages so get the idea of where everything went. And yknow what, I'm totally fine that I gave up on this one. This is one I requested because I loved another book I read by Audrey Coulthurst, and I saw that this one looked sapphic... and well, It didn't pull through the way I'd hope. I'd say this definitely features a girl who loves another girl, but it isn't the sapphic book that would make you feel good. So if you're looking for that feel-good gay romance, I'd maybe look elsewhere. This book does cover lots of important issues that are super relevant, though, as well as it's a story about finding yourself. We follow both Sam and Zoe within their own chaotic family worlds, and they form a bond over texting, in their world they call "Starworld." *cringes at how deep it tries to make this kind of texting*In theory, this sounds like my kind of story. And yknow what, I totally get the escape a fantasy world brings. But even after 100 pages, there was... no plot? It was character driven, and driven by their Starworld. But their Starworld consisted of random texts about a Dragon named Humphrey and some Taco Bell and hot sauce?Okay, I mean there was more to it than that, but that's basically what you get with the first 100 pages. Which isn't enough to draw me into the allure. And then there's the fact that immediately in the first chapter, I already disliked the Sam's POV. It had a strong case of "I'm special, because I'm not like everybody else" and there was too much of a stand-off attitude towards any of the "normal" people. I'm not going to say you shouldn't give this one a chance, though. There's some issues touched on here that might be exactly what someone needs to read. I can't speak to how great the representation is, since I neither have disabled family members to this extent nor did I finish the book to see how well it's handled, but we see intersections not typically seen.Thanks to the publisher for sending me an arc for an honest review!Review can also be found on my blog!
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    DNF at 23%. I just couldn't get into this book at all. I think it will have a very specific audience that will love it, but I am not that audience. I found it kind of depressing and quirky and other than the very pretty cover, I don't really have anything positive to say about it and I really couldn't make myself read anymore. I found Sam incredibly off-putting. I found the writing in her chapters especially were just not my style.
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  • Honora Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    4.5I got this book as an arc and did not know what to expectwowieI got really into this book until it depressed me like a truck to the face.I enjoyed the characters and Sam and Zoe were so amazing but the ending just killed me. A lot of it killed methe premise over all was so cute and sweet and friendshipy that I fell in love but it also broke my heart at the end. I know this is a stand alone but it left me with a want for more of the starworld created. Thinking back I enjoyed it and it depresse 4.5I got this book as an arc and did not know what to expectwowieI got really into this book until it depressed me like a truck to the face.I enjoyed the characters and Sam and Zoe were so amazing but the ending just killed me. A lot of it killed methe premise over all was so cute and sweet and friendshipy that I fell in love but it also broke my heart at the end. I know this is a stand alone but it left me with a want for more of the starworld created. Thinking back I enjoyed it and it depressed me but it was an enjoyable story about friendship It did however cover some tough topics, mental illness, OCD, adoption, and a couple more but I don't regret reading
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  • mahana
    January 1, 1970
    Sapphicathon: Read a book with a cover you love & Read a book where the romance isn't the focusstorytime: i was robbed of the 2 days it took me to read this
  • Kait Goodwin (Kait Plus Books)
    January 1, 1970
    *hopes you enjoy this book as much as I did*Full review to come at kaitgoodwin.com/books! 😊
  • Carmen
    January 1, 1970
    Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst, Paula GarnerI received a copy from Candlewick Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Sam Jones is a loner intent on staying invisible and hiding her feelings. Referring to herself as a robot, she’s content with flying under the radar until she graduates and escapes her home life. Everything changes when she’s noticed by one of the popular girls at her school, Zoe Miller. On the surface, Zoe is perfect and has her life together. Sam can’t fathom w Starworld by Audrey Coulthurst, Paula GarnerI received a copy from Candlewick Press through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Sam Jones is a loner intent on staying invisible and hiding her feelings. Referring to herself as a robot, she’s content with flying under the radar until she graduates and escapes her home life. Everything changes when she’s noticed by one of the popular girls at her school, Zoe Miller. On the surface, Zoe is perfect and has her life together. Sam can’t fathom why she’d even want to talk to her. What she doesn’t know is that Zoe works hard to appear perfect. Abandoned by her biological mother, she was adopted by a loving family, but she considers herself a drop-in. On top of things, she’s both stressed and worried because her mom has cancer and her younger brother might be sent to live in a facility full time. Together, Sam and Zoe let their walls down, confide in each other, and create a fictional universe that they can both escape to.Written in rotating perspectives, we follow Sam and Zoe as they navigate the difficult patches in their lives. Through Sam’s perspective, we learn that she walks on thin ice when home because her mom has OCD and has a list of seemingly random and irrational rules that must be followed. As someone with OCD, I can understand how compulsions and random rules related to them can seem bizarre and irrational. Trust me; I know! It was interesting to see how it affected Sam, but I also felt a little offended that she thought her mom couldn’t cope without her to help with rituals.Through Zoe’s perspective, we see that she’s not as perfect as she makes herself appear. She struggles with abandonment issues because she was surrendered for adoption, but she also feels bad because she loves her parents and knows they love her. Convinced that she is defective, Zoe does everything she can to appear perfect because she worries that she’ll be left behind if she appears anything less than flawless. At home, Zoe has alienated herself from her friends because she hates the way they look at her younger brother for having developmental disabilities. She also worries about her mom and her battle with cancer, which is in partial remission when the story begins.When these two characters meet and become friends, they both start to learn that it’s okay to let their walls down and let people see who they are and what problems they have. I love their friendship and how much they learn from each other as well as how much it makes them grow as people. I enjoyed watching them blossom and learn that they don’t have to appear or act a certain way. They can be themselves and people will still like them.I have a few minor issues with this book. The first one is that Sam comes off as extremely pretentious for someone who is supposed to be so different from her peers. It was a bit off putting at first, but thankfully it lessens as the chapters continue. My other issue is the way that the text messages between Sam and Zoe are written. It was cringe worthy and left me wondering where the authors got the idea that teenagers talk like that. I find it hard to believe that two people would have entire conversations, via text message, written the way that these text messages were. If I hadn’t been hooked on the story, I might’ve considered not reading the book over these passages. Thankfully, I marched along, but these passages took me out of the story every time they appeared.Overall, I enjoyed the story and look forward to seeing if the authors collaborate on future projects. I think they work well together and the story they delivered is relatable, aside from those terrible text message passages, as well as engrossing.
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  • Kiki Cole
    January 1, 1970
    From the cover to the characters to the hidden secrets buried behind two characters’ facades, this upcoming novel explores the depths of emotion and mental illness. OCD, anxiety, adoption, and mental disease are some of the main focal points of this diverse read. I thought it was so beautiful and geeky, but the ending kind of dented my heart in terms of how unexpected it was. I would definitely have hoped for a way different ending, but I guess it worked out in a decent way. The relationship bet From the cover to the characters to the hidden secrets buried behind two characters’ facades, this upcoming novel explores the depths of emotion and mental illness. OCD, anxiety, adoption, and mental disease are some of the main focal points of this diverse read. I thought it was so beautiful and geeky, but the ending kind of dented my heart in terms of how unexpected it was. I would definitely have hoped for a way different ending, but I guess it worked out in a decent way. The relationship between both characters had me reflect on my past friendships and how we used to create a whole other fictional universe. The fact that social media and imagination can allow people to do that is amazing and I’m happy that this book had managed to make it come to life.
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  • Chelsea Marie
    January 1, 1970
    If you read the description of this book and get all excited by the potential lady loving lady vibe, do not pick up this book. I feel like I've been queer-baited into reading this, and it made me super angry.(view spoiler)[Yes, one of the girls does fall for the other, but it is not reciprocated and she has her heart broken. Poor little lesbian with her misplaced affections. I felt like there was so much build up to this as a storyline, but the author backed down within the last 50 pages. (hide If you read the description of this book and get all excited by the potential lady loving lady vibe, do not pick up this book. I feel like I've been queer-baited into reading this, and it made me super angry.(view spoiler)[Yes, one of the girls does fall for the other, but it is not reciprocated and she has her heart broken. Poor little lesbian with her misplaced affections. I felt like there was so much build up to this as a storyline, but the author backed down within the last 50 pages. (hide spoiler)]I gave two stars because I did enjoy the writing and the storytelling and I absolutely loved Sam as a character. Mental and physical disabilities were portrayed really well and I was impressed by that. The queer-baiting is something I just couldn't get over, though.
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  • Casia Courtier
    January 1, 1970
    First, thank you to the publisher and Jean Book Nerd for the copy of Starworld. Second, there was no compensation in the making of this review and everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone.Oh. My. God. Hardly ever is there a YA contemporary that pulls me in every direction, where I can relate to almost all of the characters. I believe the one last year was Eliza And Her Monsters. This year though has to be Starworld.Starworld is a book about two girls who hide from the world in their First, thank you to the publisher and Jean Book Nerd for the copy of Starworld. Second, there was no compensation in the making of this review and everything that follows is my opinion and mine alone.Oh. My. God. Hardly ever is there a YA contemporary that pulls me in every direction, where I can relate to almost all of the characters. I believe the one last year was Eliza And Her Monsters. This year though has to be Starworld.Starworld is a book about two girls who hide from the world in their own way and collide to make a world of their own that brings out a deep friendship and personal growth. But, this book has more than that. It deals with anxiety, OCD, the feeling of being alone, disabilities... the whole kit and caboodle. I was glued to this book. I also had to put it down. I was pulled everywhere. Like Zoe, I had personal pressure to try and be the best person I can. Not for personal growth but because I was afraid people would hate me (technically I still deal with it). I also have a brother who is disabled.Like Sam, I say the weirdest things and because of it, I tried to keep my mouth shut for a good portion of my teen life and well, I still kind of do it. Her brain was beautiful and it made me giggle because that's my brain too! Minus the math. I can't math.She also had to deal with a mother who has OCD. I don't have a mother who is OCD, but I have a grandmother who is a hoarder and... with my own anxiety, I am scared I will become that or ritualistic in some way. If anything, reading the progression of this aspect in the book opened my eyes to wonder why my grandmother is so anxious. I'm still scared I will become something akin to it, but I am more open to being compassionate about it instead of the anger and hurt that comes with fear and misunderstanding.There is so much more to the book than what I've said. I could go in depth, but then you wouldn't want to read the book. I was smiling, I was rooting for both girls, and I was scared because I knew what was going to happen and I didn't want either of them to get hurt in the fire. This is a beautiful book. It sticks with you and keeps you going. I hope to god these two work together again and craft another amazing work. Final Rating: 5/5Note: May I add that my Whovian self was very giddy through all of Sam's mentions of the great scifi show and others? Seriously, I love her. I love Zoe. I love them so much. Note Note: I also love that there are resources available for all the things mentioned. It shows to me that you guys not only want to help spread the compassion to the readers who don't understand, but you also want to help those who have nowhere to go. It's awesome. 
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  • Marie
    January 1, 1970
    There is a term for these kinds of books that I learned recently, and it's Quiet YA. I think it can be used to refer to books that readers considered underappreciated, but here I'm using it to mean a book that is: heavily based on character development, with stakes that are very personal and not grand and world-changing. Many of these books seem to be on the slower side, though, so if you are always looking for that action it may be a hit and miss.But if it's right for you, these can really hit There is a term for these kinds of books that I learned recently, and it's Quiet YA. I think it can be used to refer to books that readers considered underappreciated, but here I'm using it to mean a book that is: heavily based on character development, with stakes that are very personal and not grand and world-changing. Many of these books seem to be on the slower side, though, so if you are always looking for that action it may be a hit and miss.But if it's right for you, these can really hit you in the heart.This book follows the story of two teenagers, Sam and Zoe. Sam is a kind of social outcast, who loves painting and aerospace engineering. Her social isolation stems from her fear to bring people home, due to her mother's OCD. In the years after her parents divorced, it has fallen to Sam to look after her.Zoe, from the outside, seems to have the better life, especially with her higher social standing. However, she is an adopted child which has often led to much speculation about the circumstances regarding her abandonment, and the big why. She also has a younger brother who is disabled.I'll stop for a moment here to say how much different representation this book has. While I personally have only dealt with personality, it seems from the acknowledgements that the authors went far to make sure they were as accurate and respectful as possible. It has:-lesbian rep (note that this is not a romance)-OCD and anxiety rep-developmental disability rep-adoption repAfter the two girls meet by chance when Sam's painting catches Zoe's eye, they begin texting. Quickly, they find that they are able to confide more personal information with each other, and also create a sort of online world as an escape. Through texting, they go on adventures through space, riding on a dragon powered by Taco Bell hot sauce.The texting, unfortunately, I found cringey at times. It is supposed to be quirky and odd so mostly I excuse that, but it wasn't as smooth as I would have liked. However, I really did like the friendship that developed in this world. The girls are so supportive and understanding of each other, and think a big theme in this book is self-acceptance. None of these characters are perfect. They make mistakes, and honestly, teenage life can be messy. But their friendship is, well, goals. They really help each other along without crossing the line and becoming clingy and dependent on one another.And the ending, ahhh... I know some people may not like it, but I thought it was really well done!
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  • Esha Dickson
    January 1, 1970
    TW: cancer, adoption, OCD, anxiety, developmental disability.I received an eARC from NetGalley.. Sam Jones lives under the radar and Zoe Miller puts up walls to maintain her people-pleasing status. Both girls are struggling with elements of their home lives. When their paths cross, Sam and Zoe find comfort in each other and in the new world they create - Starworld. But when Sam begins to have feelings beyond friendship for Zoe, their new world may not survive the inevitable explosion.I requested TW: cancer, adoption, OCD, anxiety, developmental disability.I received an eARC from NetGalley.. Sam Jones lives under the radar and Zoe Miller puts up walls to maintain her people-pleasing status. Both girls are struggling with elements of their home lives. When their paths cross, Sam and Zoe find comfort in each other and in the new world they create - Starworld. But when Sam begins to have feelings beyond friendship for Zoe, their new world may not survive the inevitable explosion.I requested this book because it sounded like a fun, deep, and memorable book. Now I’ve finished it, I’m not sure it ticks all those boxes. Firstly, Zoe and Sam’s friendship absolutely melted my heart; their banter and support for each other is so hopeful in amongst all the hard hitting things each girl is dealing with. Not only this, but the rep in this book I found to be very realistic, although I cannot personally speak for much of it. Where this book fell flat for me was the ending. I can’t say much beyond that without spoilers, but it just wasn’t what I was waiting for. There are some misunderstandings that felt... childish, for lack of a better word. I’m not sure if this is just me that thought this but it definitely frustrated me. Finally, this book has queer rep, but it is not a f/f romance like is advertised. I’ve looked at other reviews and some of them use the term ‘queer-baiting’ to describe this. Ultimately, while this was a fun read, it just could have been so much more.“Thinking of the world in terms of fantasy is sometimes the only thing that helps me survive.”“I am doomed to disappoint someone. And I hate disappointing anyone.”“I will probably never know why my birth mother didn’t want me, but the pain of it never abates. Even the smallest slight reminds me of my first life experience and forever legacy: rejection...I wish being unwanted didn’t hurt so much, but it does.”
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  • Manon the Malicious
    January 1, 1970
    *4.5 Stars*I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Since her dad left to live in England, Sam considers herself a robot, no emotion, no attachment, the only exception being her best friend, Will. She barely interacts with anyone other than him and her mother and it's not like she can have people over anyway...Zoe's life is perfect. At least, that's what she wants everyone to believe. Her boyfriend is great, her parents love her, she's pretty much already admitted int *4.5 Stars*I was provided an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Since her dad left to live in England, Sam considers herself a robot, no emotion, no attachment, the only exception being her best friend, Will. She barely interacts with anyone other than him and her mother and it's not like she can have people over anyway...Zoe's life is perfect. At least, that's what she wants everyone to believe. Her boyfriend is great, her parents love her, she's pretty much already admitted into the college her dad works at and her mother's cancer is in partial remission which means she's doing better. But Zoe hides her feelings a lot, like how she wishes she could be be in the school play, how she feel about having been adopted or what's really gonna on at home with her brother... She actually hasn't had anyone over in years.All of that gets shaken up when, out of the blue, Zoe starts talking to Sam about a painting she did that would be perfect for the set of the play Zoe is designing. The two girls start texting, open up and fly away into their own escape world, Starworld.I started this book and I was mesmerized. I fell for Sam instantly and really liked Zoe. This book was undoubtedly character driven because not much happens, and still, I could not stop reading. I just loved the dynamics between the two girls but also between them and their family. The entire thing just rang true from beginning to end, from Sam's mother's OCD to Zoe's family and all that entailed but also Sam's anxiety and her relationship to the world.It just made me feel so much. I laughed, I cried, I felt the shame, the anger, the despair, the yearning, the disappointment, all of it.I saw a lot of reviews saying this book was bittersweet and it definitely was, but I think that was part of what made it rang so true for me. And, also, I think it brings hope, even in dark times...
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    *I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*STARWORLD sounded like such a fun idea. Two girls exchange numbers for what is, essentially, a school assignment. But then they start texting each other as an escape from their problems, and together they create Starworld - an adventure through text that grows and progresses with each exchange.However fun the idea seemed, though, I just did not find STARWORLD to be very compelling. I could empathize with the p *I received a digital ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*STARWORLD sounded like such a fun idea. Two girls exchange numbers for what is, essentially, a school assignment. But then they start texting each other as an escape from their problems, and together they create Starworld - an adventure through text that grows and progresses with each exchange.However fun the idea seemed, though, I just did not find STARWORLD to be very compelling. I could empathize with the problems these girls were facing, but I could also see the end coming right from the start. While I appreciate that this ending was more realistic than most would have been given the same set up, this book just wasn't for me.I liked Sam as a character much better than Zoe. Even though Zoe was going through a really tough time at home, her friends and boyfriend were incredibly understanding and supportive. She thanked them by ignoring them and pushing them aside. I get that teens don't always react well, but Zoe just made me roll my eyes.And while this Starworld they created together seemed fun, it came off feeling superficial and altogether too cheesy for my liking. I was not invested in any of the relationships, characters, or situations, and I really didn't care too much about how it ended. 🤷🏼‍♀️
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  • Eve beinguniquebooks
    January 1, 1970
    When Zoe approaches Sam to get her to help the school play, they have no idea of what's to come.Sam's best friend Will is also shocked as he used to fancy Zoe and she never noticed them before now.Zoe however has a lot to deal with, her mum has breast cancer and has to contend with the realities of that.Yet both girls have a lot to learn about friendship and love as well as their family dynamics being solved at last if they can.A pain filled emotional novel as well as being very touching and goo When Zoe approaches Sam to get her to help the school play, they have no idea of what's to come.Sam's best friend Will is also shocked as he used to fancy Zoe and she never noticed them before now.Zoe however has a lot to deal with, her mum has breast cancer and has to contend with the realities of that.Yet both girls have a lot to learn about friendship and love as well as their family dynamics being solved at last if they can.A pain filled emotional novel as well as being very touching and good for showing how sexuality can be a guessing game when you're young trying to find where exactly you got and what exactly your feelings are.Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    So. Many. Emotions. I laughed and got teary eyed (which is a big deal for me, this book may have leveled up my Emotions). This book is about friendship, finding out who you are, seeing yourself as others see you, realizing others don't have the perfect lives we think they do, looking deeper than the surface, and so much more.I love Zoe and Sam's self image journeys. They both feel something is wrong with them and they have different techniques for coping and navigating their lives. When they mee So. Many. Emotions. I laughed and got teary eyed (which is a big deal for me, this book may have leveled up my Emotions). This book is about friendship, finding out who you are, seeing yourself as others see you, realizing others don't have the perfect lives we think they do, looking deeper than the surface, and so much more.I love Zoe and Sam's self image journeys. They both feel something is wrong with them and they have different techniques for coping and navigating their lives. When they meet, they learn about each other and build each other up. They have some bumps along the way and have to find their way back and figure out what works for each of them and their situation.I read Starworld in 2 days, which is rare for me. I just couldn't stay away. Every time I put the book down, I couldn't stop thinking of their next adventure in Starworld so I just stopped putting the book down. I may need to read it again to help sort out these emotion things. :)I thought I'd relate more to Zoe since she puts up "walls" (which my mom is always telling me I do), but part of Sam's story hit really close to home. A lot of this book hit close to home and I wasn't expecting it. I wasn't expecting a lot of the heavy topics, but it's clear they did their research and represent these topics well. They even include resources after the story (for OCD, pregnancy loss, disabilities and ableism, adoption and adoptees).
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  • Elizabeth Mellen
    January 1, 1970
    This was good - I think if I was in the target demographic it might’ve been a 5, but the “Starworld” aspects, while very real to my high school awkward chatting online phase, wasn’t fun for me to read. The rest of the story, though, was compelling and the girls’ varying difficult family lives kept me reading to see how they’d deal. My heart was broken in parts, because I get what it is to be awkward on top of teen angst on top of hard family life.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    Copy received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.Review to come soon!
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