Author: Minnie Darke
Summary: When childhood sweethearts Justine (Sagittarius and serious skeptic) and Nick (Aquarius and true believer) bump into each other as adults, a life-changing love affair seems inevitable—to Justine, anyway. When she learns that Nick bases his decisions on the horoscopes in his favorite magazine—the same magazine for which Justine happens to write—she decides to take Fate into her own hands. But as Nick continues to not fall headlong in love with her, other Aquarians are making important life choices according to those same horoscopes. Charting the ripple effects of Justine’s astrological meddling, Star-Crossed is a delicious, intelligent, and affecting love story about friendship, chance, and how we all navigate the kinds of choices that are hard to face alone.
Note: an eARC of this title was acquired via NetGalley.
“Only by luck, though,” Justine said. “Only by… lucky, random chaos…. There are choices within choices within chances. It’s all so complicated and tangled. How does anything ever go the way it’s supposed to?”
Star-Crossed will probably fall under the radar among all the other new May releases, but I really hope more people read it. The book is a cute romance that focuses just as much on our protagonist’s professional life as it does on her personal one. The leads are well-matched, and their rekindled friendship feels authentic. As the plot moseys along, Minnie Darke weaves B- and C-plots into main character Justine’s and love interest Nick’s will-they-or-won’t-they (or perhaps how-they-or-when-they?) back-and-forth. Although it wasn’t until a reviewer on Goodreads pointed out that the plot reminded her of Love Actually and Valentine’s Day that I finally had my own aha moment—because this comparison is just perfect—I still found the book charming and enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
This book is a bit longer than most contemporary romance, but I never felt like the plot dragged on needlessly. I can see how readers might find the “cusp”s in-between chapters as mere filler, but I found them to be a unique and fun way to further flesh out the world that Darke created. I certainly enjoyed Valentine’s Day, but Star-Crossed is a better-written version of that kind of film; with an expanded timeline, the characters are allowed to breathe. Although we primarily follow Justine, we also get to spend time with Nick as well as all of the side characters with which they interact. We might not know why Darke includes something or how it connects until the end of the novel, but once we figure out the reason, it feels so satisfying, narrative threads finally pulled taut to reveal a clean stitch.
Reviews for Star-Crossed on Goodreads are mixed, but for me, a chance request on Netgalley for an unknown author definitely paid out. I wanted to read this book, planned my nights around how much time I could give to it around other obligations. And once I’d finished, I actually said out loud, “I liked that” as if it were some sort of surprise, like I’d forgotten how much I’d enjoyed the book along the way.