Starworld

Starworld

Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have one thing in common: they both want an escape from reality. Loner Sam flies under the radar at school and walks on eggshells at home to manage her mom’s obsessive-compulsive disorder, wondering how she can ever leave to pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Popular, people-pleasing Zoe puts up walls so no one can see her true sel...

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Title:Starworld
Author:Audrey Coulthurst
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Starworld Reviews

  • Adriana

    This story is hopeful, bittersweet, hard-hitting, and affirming all at once. The friendship betweeen Zoe and Sam leaves my heart soaring ❤

    Also, this book contains:

    ▪ queer rep (note: this is not an f/f romance)

    ▪ mental health rep (OCD & anxiety)

    ▪ adoption rep

    ▪ developmental disability rep

    (And it was all handled extremely carefully, IMO, which I appreciate.)

    This story is hopeful, bittersweet, hard-hitting, and affirming all at once. The friendship betweeen Zoe and Sam leaves my heart soaring ❤

    Also, this book contains:

    ▪︎ queer rep (note: this is not an f/f romance)

    ▪︎ mental health rep (OCD & anxiety)

    ▪︎ adoption rep

    ▪︎ developmental disability rep

    (And it was all handled extremely carefully, IMO, which I appreciate.)

  • Kristy

    Despite running in very different circles in school, Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have more in common than they think: they both want to escape the difficulty that is their home lives. Sam is a quiet loner, content to spend Sundays with her best friend, Will. She loves the stars, but isn't sure she'll ever be able to study them, thanks to her mom, whose life is ruled by obsessive compulsive disorder. Ever since her Dad moved overseas, the burden of caring for her Mom falls squarely on Sam. Meanwhile

    Despite running in very different circles in school, Sam Jones and Zoe Miller have more in common than they think: they both want to escape the difficulty that is their home lives. Sam is a quiet loner, content to spend Sundays with her best friend, Will. She loves the stars, but isn't sure she'll ever be able to study them, thanks to her mom, whose life is ruled by obsessive compulsive disorder. Ever since her Dad moved overseas, the burden of caring for her Mom falls squarely on Sam. Meanwhile, at school, Zoe seems carefree and popular. But her charisma hides her secrets: she struggles with the fact that she's adopted. She also has a mom in remission from cancer and a disabled younger brother who is the main focus of her parents. When the girls have a chance meeting at school, they exchange phone numbers, and suddenly find themselves bonding over text messages and a land they've created together: Starworld. Starworld gives Zoe and Sam the escape from reality they both so desperately need. But can it survive all the outside influences and stress each are facing?

    ~Sam

    This was an

    . I

    . Boy, poor Zoe and Sam certainly had the weight of the world on their shoulders. I

    . The book tells the story from each of their perspectives, making it easy to know each girl. I found myself a bit more aligned to Sam--probably because she was queer and shy (like drawn to like, right?). As other reviews have mentioned, some of the book is in texting format, as Sam and Zoe fall into Starworld. Being far removed from teenagehood myself (sigh), I will admit that I did sometimes sort of "fast read" or skim those sections. I appreciated them--because Starworld meant so much to these girls and their friendship--but

    .

    I had picked this up thinking it was a love story, but it's not a true romance, though there's love in other forms. There's

    : a queer character in Sam, plus discussion of adoption, mental illness (OCD and anxiety), disabilities, and more. All were very well treated too, I felt.

    The book felt a little slow at times. It

    in its insistence on Zoe feeling different due to being adopted. Still, I was

    . There was a strength in each of them, and I was intrigued to see what was going to happen.

    .

    Even though much of the book is serious, it's

    , with some excellent quotes and zingers. (I really did love Sam and her sense of humor; she was right up my alley.)

    I mean, right? One of the best quotes ever.

    So, overall, this book is really

    . It's very easy to root for the characters and get caught up in their lives. I was often just aghast at how much these poor girls had to go through. If you're not necessarily used to text-speak, it may give you a pause, but Starworld is a big part of the book (obviously!) and it's woven well into the story. This was

    . 3.5+ stars (rounded up to 4 here).

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Librarything in return for an unbiased review (thank you!).

  • Alaina

    was really cute dammit. Yet, it somehow made me feel disappointed in how it ended? Not quite sure what the whole plan was here but damn, it just fell completely flat. I was underwhelmed and I'm not okay with this.

    In this book, you will meet Sam and Zoe. I honestly really enjoyed their characters and was amazed with how two writers made everything flow nicely throughout the book. These two just sort of clicked with

    was really cute dammit. Yet, it somehow made me feel disappointed in how it ended? Not quite sure what the whole plan was here but damn, it just fell completely flat. I was underwhelmed and I'm not okay with this.

    In this book, you will meet Sam and Zoe. I honestly really enjoyed their characters and was amazed with how two writers made everything flow nicely throughout the book. These two just sort of clicked with one another and it was nice to just sit back and watch what would happen. Well, until it ended and now I don't know what day, month, or year it is.

    Throughout the book, you will definitely hit some bumps along the road of their adventure. I definitely wished things went differently in this book. Yes, with the ending but with other stuff as well (which I don't want to spoil dammit). Overall, I still enjoyed this book but hoped for a different outcome.

  • Kylie Amber

    * I was sent an ARC copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review *

    The ending fell flat because what was being worked up to flopped and didn’t happen.

  • Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    .

    is a sweet book, told from the points of view of Sam and Zoe. (And incidentally, written by two authors whose work I rather enjoy.) There were definitely wins for me, with a few reservations, so I am just going to break it down as such!

    This is beautiful, frankly. The times I felt the most emotion while reading is while these two young wom

    .

    is a sweet book, told from the points of view of Sam and Zoe. (And incidentally, written by two authors whose work I rather enjoy.) There were definitely wins for me, with a few reservations, so I am just going to break it down as such!

    This is beautiful, frankly. The times I felt the most emotion while reading is while these two young women were interacting with (or speaking about) their families. Having them be able to open up to each other about struggles they felt unable to share with anyone else was really sweet. And goodness, the sheer 

    that radiated from their respective family units had my heart melting over and over again. I found that they were all so relatable, as they had their own problems (some very severe) but tried desperately to work together to make things better.

    They were both trying to come to terms with so, 

    much life upheaval. And not just your typical "growing up" stuff, though that was part of it for sure. Sam is dealing with an absent father, a mother with a mental illness, a best friend who's starting to move on a bit without her, and well, feelings for Zoe. Zoe has a whole host of family situations from a special needs brother, a mom who's just gone through cancer treatment, and the fact that she's adopted. Not to mention, a boyfriend she doesn't seem so keen on, and friends who she has been distancing herself from. So when their worlds collide, it makes sense that they'd gravitate toward each other. Which leads to my next point...

    Really, it is incredible that they were able to find solace in this imaginary world they created. And that they could trust each other with this stuff that was both too big to handle alone, yet too hard to open up to anyone else about.

    Look, I am all for them having this cute little inside world. But I don't know that I needed to read 

    the texts about it? In role-play-speak no less? At first I thought it was a little cheesy, but after that wore off, I just was mostly bored and just skimmed those parts. 🤷‍♀️

    I mean, I guess I hoped the story would go in a different direction? And maybe that's on me, but... my opinion stands. And I'll give you the least spoilery version possible, still under spoiler tags because I personally hate spoilers but... I feel like this one is kind of big for people who were hoping for certain things from the book, so.

    Super sweet in terms of family and friendships, but lacking in a couple areas as well. Overall though, I was glad I read it.

  • Lara (Bookish_turtle)

    This book wasn't bad, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.

    I was so ready for this to be all about a girl obsessed with outer space!! And like, it was, but also it was really more just a standard contemporary but with less romance and not much outer space in it at all.

    The concept was really good though, and quite unique which I enjoyed.

    The characters were okay, but neither of them felt super unique? Which I was especially surprised by, because there were two different authors I expec

    This book wasn't bad, but it didn't really live up to my expectations.

    I was so ready for this to be all about a girl obsessed with outer space!! And like, it was, but also it was really more just a standard contemporary but with less romance and not much outer space in it at all.

    The concept was really good though, and quite unique which I enjoyed.

    The characters were okay, but neither of them felt super unique? Which I was especially surprised by, because there were two different authors I expected totally different character voices, but they just blended together a bit for me which made the first person perspective hard.

    But both of their family lives were super interesting to read about, and that was definitely my favourite aspect of the book.

    Here's to hoping my next book has more rockets in it!!

  • Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    I read this book from start to finish in just over 3 hours because I got so sucked into the story. I feel like I have whiplash 😳 review to come later when I’ve had more time to actually process what I read!

  • Catherine ♡

    *Thank you to both NetGalley and LibraryThing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*

    2.5

    Hm. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I absolutely LOVE the premise and the idea of all the characters. On the other hand, actually reading the book was a lot less enjoyable for a number of reasons.

    First though, a blurb.

    is written in two main perspectives. There’s Sam Jones, who lives an invisible life at school and relies on her one and only friend

    *Thank you to both NetGalley and LibraryThing for a free copy in exchange for an honest review!*

    2.5

    Hm. I’ve got mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I absolutely LOVE the premise and the idea of all the characters. On the other hand, actually reading the book was a lot less enjoyable for a number of reasons.

    First though, a blurb.

    is written in two main perspectives. There’s Sam Jones, who lives an invisible life at school and relies on her one and only friend, Will. Her mom has OCD, and after her parents' divorce, it only got worse—Sam has no idea how she could ever leave home and pursue her dream of studying aerospace engineering. Then, there’s Zoe. Zoe is popular and loved by everyone, but her life isn’t as great as it seems to be. She was abandoned as a baby, her adoptive mother has cancer, and her brother is being sent away to a facility. As Zoe and Sam’s lives collide unexpectedly, they find themselves creating a whole new universe where they can escape from the real world, and they dub it—Starworld.

    So, I LOVE the idea of Starworld. I jumped into the story imagining flowing colors and adventures and excited to read outlandish descriptions. Unfortunately, the way Starworld was written in the same way I used to roleplay in Harry Potter forums. Like this: *hugs* *coughs on dust* And by being written this way, Starworld just seemed unremarkable and amateurish; I found myself cringing too often—the texting and writing style was reminiscent of what I typed as a ten-year-old.

    Other than that, the plot seemed a little flat. There were some ups and downs, but once again, it felt very childish when they were based on silly misunderstandings.

    I also think the characters could have been explored more in general; Will was a character that I already loved. Yet, even as the best friend, he barely got any screen time! Overall, I think more intimate interactions between Sam or Zoe and OTHER characters could have helped this book a lot and given us a clearer picture of how these characters lived in their environment, not just with each other.

    Overall, this was still a fun little read, and giving it two stars definitely feels really low, but it was the writing style of Starworld itself (in its texting format) that disappointed me so much I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving it a three.

  • megs_bookrack

    Just received my copy.

    This book is legit gorgeous!

    The ombre blue to purple...

    I cannot wait to jump into this one.

    Take me to

    !

  • C.G. Drews

    It is such a heartfelt story and honestly my soul was a wreck about 50pgs in. It's soft and quiet, it's slow and thoughtful, it's about problematic family dynamics and love and deeply intimate friendship. The themes will just

    you. And the ending, oh yeah wow. The ending has left me really sad.

    I loved them bothhhhh. They're so different and yet they clicked so fiercely, so wondrously.

    She's like the an

    It is such a heartfelt story and honestly my soul was a wreck about 50pgs in. It's soft and quiet, it's slow and thoughtful, it's about problematic family dynamics and love and deeply intimate friendship. The themes will just

    you. And the ending, oh yeah wow. The ending has left me really sad.

    I loved them bothhhhh. They're so different and yet they clicked so fiercely, so wondrously.

    She's like the antisocial nerd, she's an incredible artist, loves gaming, and has one (1) friend named Will and they are solidly loyal to each other. She also wants to design rockets and fantasy realms are how she gets through the day. Her mum has OCD and it...rules their lives basically. And like I get Sam's frustration and resentment of her mum? But it also hurt how much Sam blamed her mum for an uncontrollable mental illness. Sam is also queer and ends up falling for her straight best friend...Zoe.

    So she's like Miss Perfect and she feels she HAS to be because she was adopted and she just has this overwhelming sense that she has to be "worthy" of it. Her brother, Jonah, is 15 and extremely disabled and looking after him is hard. Her mum is so frail and sick from cancer too. And like...I just felt for Zoe. Her heartache. Her fears. Her extreme kindness. Her ability to reach out to people who need a friend. She needed an escape and her friendship with Sam provides that. My heart aches for Zoe. UGH SHE'S LOVELY and I 100% get why Sam fell for her.

    The story is about friendship, how fragile it can be, how fierce it can be. How it can rescue you....and damn you. They create a safe place for each other and I adored them together. How awkwardness melted into love, how they were non-judgmental and understanding of each other's messed up home lives.

    -- it's a friendship story.

    Just want to shout out to the writing for being a thorough DELIGHT. It was just easy to read, fun and the dialogue had a wondrous flow. Sam and Zoe had really different voices, personalities, and reactions to things and...they were just so well crafted?! The whole story was just really well written and I am !!!! over good writing.

    aka it reps things that I am extremely interested in (and fit into; although not in the specific strains the book deals with) and you can tell the authors put so much heart and consideration into the rep. I

    for the disability rep and how it was full of love, but also regret that Zoe's family couldn't take care of their son properly (it was never a case of "tossing" out a problem though; and I loved that the book didn't ever portray Jonah as ruining their lives or anything). I didn't love the OCD rep for Sam's mum, though. I few aspects made me deeply unhappy, especially with how Sam treated her mum because of it. (I also always have reservations when books feel like a pat on the back for neurotypicals who have to "deal" with disabled/mentally ill people in their lives. I don't think this book did it badly, it just always feel strained for me to read that plot thread.)

    Sam and Zoe create basically this magical world called Starworld in their texts. They just tell each other this story, back and forth, of flying a dragon into the stars -- and it's silly and fun and wholesome and a good distraction for when their lives are crumbling. Their family lives are just a mess, but they have each other. And I think the core of the book was that:

    I do love that message.

    You don't have to be alone when life is hard.

    Like I

    liked it and it made me super emotional. The ending didn't do it for me (I really feel let down) but it was such a soft and whimsical tale with characters who felt real and families that needed sticking back together with glue and tape and girls who taught each other to be brave.

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