Verdict: Through two people’s journey back to each other, STARSTRUCK comments both on the power of love and the hidden issues of American space exploration.
An epic love story, STARSTRUCK traverses all of the genre’s tropes while maintaining a relationship it’s impossible not to love.
Rose and Linton are star-crossed lovers in the age of space exploration. STARSTRUCK follows their love story from when they’re hot-blooded teenagers on through adulthood as they lose and find each other across Australia. Rose and Linton’s path to a happy ending is fraught with complications from the very beginning, and yet the pull between them is beyond compare. STARSTRUCK presents a couple willing to do anything for each other in a time where man is on the moon, and pieces of space are crashing down to Earth.
The biggest flaw with STARSTRUCK is the extremeness of Rose and Linton’s situation. The issues they face are so overwhelming and absurd that at times the novel feels like it’s hitting a list of soap opera tropes. It’s still enjoyable to read, but there’s a large amount of suspension of disbelief required in order to really buy into the novel’s plot.
The beauty of STARSTRUCK lies in the love Rose and Linton share. Even when faced with challenges that seem impossible (and in the real world likely would be), the power of their connection is undeniable. On their own, Rose and Linton are both fairly unexciting people. It’s the love they share, and the effect that this love has on them over the years, that makes them interesting. The novel’s other characters are genuine, in fact Linton’s brother is incredibly well defined, but it’s the relationship that is the true protagonist of this novel.
One of the most interesting parts of STARSTRUCK is the overt implications being made about NASA’s handling of the fall of Skylab and its effect on Australia. It’s unusual to see such political commentary in a book whose plot is so romantic, but it works. Shell makes it easy to see the parallels between the failed space station and the issues her characters face, and with a careful hand leads readers to question what really happened with Skylab.
Through two people’s journey back to each other, STARSTRUCK comments both on the power of love and the hidden issues of American space exploration.