Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini


Title: Starcrossed

Author: Josephine Angelini

Publisher: HarperTeen

ISBN: 978-0062011992


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it’s getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she’s haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they’re destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


I loved the spin Josephine Angelini put on Greek mythology in her debut book, Starcrossed.  I love all of the novels hitting stores shelves with re-imagined myths and fairytales, and I don’t think I will ever get tired of them.  There is a timelessness about them, and such a huge body of material to play with that I’m not even concerned about them sounding too much alike. 

I had very high expectations for Starcrossed, and despite it feeling overlong a few times, it did not disappoint.  I was sucked right into the story, and found it difficult to put the book down, especially after Helen goes berserk and tries to kill Lucas, a guy she hasn’t even met yet!  What was that all about, I wanted to know.  I mean, what would compel this mild-mannered young woman, who by nature is rather  timid, to try to strangle a complete stranger?  That was a great WTF moment, and I was hooked from that point on.

Though Helen’s timidity occasionally irked me, I did like her character.  She has a level-head on her shoulders, as long as she isn’t a slave to the frenzied whispers of the Furies, urging her to kill, kill, kill some guy that she doesn’t even know.  She and her dad live on the island of Nantucket, and Helen has always felt like a freak.  She doesn’t fit in at school, and her only real friend is Claire, a little spitfire who always has her back.  If it wasn’t for Claire, Helen would be totally alone.  Weird things happen wherever Helen goes,  and her classmates quickly ostracize her.  Her self-confidence is sadly lacking, and she does everything she can to just fade into the background.  That’s not so easy with her height and stunning looks, but she still tries to stand out as little as possible.

When Lucas and his family move to the island, Helen’s life is turned upside down.  She’s drawn to Lucas, but for all of the wrong reasons.  She wants to see him dead.  Every time she sees him, she has an obsessive compulsion to kill him.  What Helen doesn’t know is that she is descended from one of the four great houses of Greece, and that all of them are under a curse – one that compels them to kill anyone they see from another house. 

As Helen and the Delos family work through the curse, as well as the visions of the Oracle, they discover that there’s a lot more at stake than overcoming the need to commit violence on members of the other houses.  Helen and Lucas find themselves doing the impossible – they begin to fall in love.  They uncover betrayals, murders, and the mystery behind the disappearance of Helen’s mother.  And once they learn more about both of their families, they are forced to see just how forbidden their love really is.

I loved this book, despite it occasionally feeling overly long.  Illogical and unnecessary roadblocks were thrown up to keep Lucas and Helen apart, and these plot points slowed the flow of story for me.  The complexity of the reimagined mythology more than made up for the pacing missteps, and kept me turning the pages well past my bedtime.  I found Starcrossed a wonderful introduction to the trilogy, and I can hardly wait to find out what happens next.

Grade: B+

Review copy provided by publisher

2 thoughts on “Review: Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

  • May 31, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    Okay, I have this one loaded up on my Kindle but it’s been languishing…think I’m gonna move it up to the top & dive in! I do love all the reimagined myths, too! Mythology (whatever the origin) really just rocks.

    Thanks for the awesome review!
    Mary @ Book Swarm

  • May 31, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    I loved Starcrossed. I think it’s a must read. Glad you liked it.

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