Star-Crossed HorizonsStar-Crossed Horizons by Amanda Russell
My rating: 3/5 cats
One StarOne StarOne Star

this book was written by the fifteen-year-old niece of my former boss.

so, yeah, it’s one of those books i read as a favor to someone, and it’s not my usual genre at all so it feels weird to star cat-rate it as though i have any business having an opinion in the adult contemporary romance department. but a three seems safe—i didn’t hate it, i didn’t love it.

however, if we are simply and objectively assessing it in terms of the age of the author, it’s pretty damn impressive. remember how ballsy it was when melina marchetta wrote The Piper’s Son—a YA novel in which one of the main characters is barely a teenager anymore at nineteen, and the other is in her forties and it’s like whaaaaaaat—that’s a crazy thing to market to a YA audience! this book is kind of the opposite of that—this is a teenage girl who is NOT, as you might expect, writing a new adult romance where characters are close to her own age and the concerns are hooking up and partying and, i dunno—cage-fighting or whatever new adult books are about, since i have only read Beautiful Disaster. instead, it’s a romance novel about grown-ass people with grown-ass concerns like no longer having that taut youthful figure usually prancing their way through romance novels, and about career choices and watching other people become parents while the tick tock is creeping up and where the central relationship is grounded in emotional rather than physical connections and there’s an emphasis on romantic caution instead of the headlong carpe diem that new adult celebrates.

so in that way, it’s risky and original and again—pretty damn impressive.

and obviously, a self-published novel by a teenager is going to have some awkwardness and some problems—some of which are cosmetic and some thematic, but it seems cranky to even call them out since every example can be countered with “yes, but this is the self-published novel of a teenager.”

like so:

are there problems with commas and apostrophes?

yes, but this is the self-published novel of a teenager.

are there problems with subject-verb agreement and verb tense consistency?

yes, but this is the self-published novel of a teenager.

are there repetitions and redundancies that drag down the pacing?

yes, but this is the self-published novel of a teenager.

are there inaccuracies in depicting police procedure/the publishing industry/how adult humans behave or interact?

yes, but this is the self-published novel of a teenager.

and honestly, at the end of the day, it’s not that much more problematic than some of the professionally edited romance novels by adult authors i have read, so with some professional guidance, i can easily see her making a career out of this.

so, yes—a favor read, but not a favor review. the problems are fixable and she’ll definitely be more successful than me in her life.

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