Romance is the order of the day in Star Crossed, helped along by a production of the most famous love story of all time: Romeo and Juliet. And while R and J are falling in love on stage, 21st century teens Tom and Fliss are connecting too. As Juliet, Fliss can be more confident than she is in real life, and the gorgeous Tom obviously sees something special in her. It's sweet reading as they speak the lines of their characters and share a first kiss... but poor Fliss can't bring herself to speak what's in her heart, and it starts to look as though self-centred Samantha might have stolen him away for good. The reader will never really doubt that a happy ending is in store, but it's fun getting there.
Of course, Star Crossed isn't just about love. There's friendship too, as Fliss turns to her BBFs Mari and Victoria for support. Her mum is seriously negative about acting as a career choice, and Fliss is starting to wonder if she might be right. And with Samantha going all out to ruin things for her, she needs her friends more than ever. Because if Mari and Victoria have anything to say about it - and they do - there's no way Fliss will give up on her dreams or let a mean girl like Samantha get the guy. There's some really positive messages in here, and I'm sure a lot of readers will relate to how unsure of herself Fliss feels at times.
The first book in a teen series is usually all about introductions, but strangely in Star Crossed I didn't get a sense of who the main players will be in future Sweet Hearts books. The obvious guess is that they'll include Fliss, Mari and Victoria, but I'm not sure whether we can expect the secondary characters from this one to share the focus. I'm definitely hoping the manipulative Samantha and the hilarious Mari make a reappearance in later instalments.
Star Crossed is a light-hearted and gentle start to the Sweet Hearts series. The Romeo and Juliet scenes are a lovely touch, and I'm pretty sure that readers who haven't seen or read the classic play will be intrigued once they've seen it brought to life by Tom and Fliss. I'd recommend this one to tweens looking for a series with sweet romance, strong friendships and a little bit of drama.
Out: May 27th 2010, UK
Thank you to Random House / Red Fox for providing a review copy of this book.