“I crouch behind some thick green shrubbery to do my final check. Sunglasses camera, check. Fake iPod camera, check. Real camera (I pat my backpack to make sure), check. That’s it, then; I’m ready to go. With a silent it’s-gunna-be-a-long-night sigh, I reach forward and push the shrubbery aside so I can peer through. The paparazzi are there, lying in wait, like vultures.”
Jo, or Zo Jo, as she’s known in the biz, is a member of the paparazzi. She is a vulture, but she goes about it different ways. At 16 she’s small, she can make herself look younger, passing for 11 or 12, and she uses this to her advantage, getting shots no other pap can get. The day after she gets one such shot of famous teen recluse, Ned Hartnett, she's asked to go undercover - to follow Ned into a retreat in Boston, miles away from home, and get those shots she’s famous for.
During the retreats cheesy group sessions and totally embarrassing team building exercises Jo gets to know Ned a bit more than she would have liked, finding out that theres more to him than what the general public and media think - and she learns a few things about herself too. But what use is learning these things if you don't do anything about them.
Wow! I had this one on my wishlist for ages, dying to get hold of it. I thought Christmas had come early when the author emailed asking if I wanted a copy for review and said yes instantly. I thoughts that Shooting Stars was going to be a fun, possibly cheesy and very cute coming of age story about Jo. What I got was so much more though.
I thought that the whole story would focus around Jo and her falling for some famous guy but there was more, there were family issues, friendship issues, not-knowing-what-to-do-with-your-life issues and best of all, the romance was even better than I thought it would be. I loved that Ned had so much going on himself and it wasn't all just about being famous, though I guess that was a large part of his problem. I loved the storyline and where it took me as a reader and I don't want to say too much because it will give a lot of the story away.
Shooting Stars is full of brilliant characters. Jo was lovely but she severely under estimated people around her. She had some serious issues and they came out - eventually - and that made me like her more. I thought she was a bit too impulsive and crazy for taking on so much at such a young age but I still really liked her. Ned was interesting, very interesting, I cant really go into how much I loved him without giving a lot of the story away but I loved his strength and selflessness, whilst Jo was at the retreat she got to know him as more than just a famous dude at that really changed my opinions on him. Some of the other people at the retreat really made my heart grow too. I loved Katrina and Seth, even if I did want to shake him at times! Jo’s family didn’t really feature much but Wendy was lovely and her dad, well he was a bit messed up - I doubt very many fathers would handle things the same way he did - but other than that, you could really tell that he loved his daughter very, very much.
I did have to suspend my disbelief in a couple of places in this book, like when it came to getting Jo into the retreat without parental consent and things like that. I also couldn’t believe that Jo was able to live in the way she did at just 16 - her dad was away a lot and her cousin who watched out for her was a part of the Cabin Crew for the LA to London airlines. This meant Jo was left alone, a lot. I think in this country if that was going on social services would be involved - especially if the 16 year old was spending most nights out n the town papping and falling asleep at school. But other than that I really, really enjoyed Shooting Stars. I thought it dealt with a lit of issues very well and am very eager to know what Allison Rushby will produce next!
Shooting Stars was published in the US by Walker books on February 28th. There is no UK publisher but it is available to buy online from the US. My copy was sent to me in exchange for an honest review by the author.