Star Crossed: Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill
|Star Crossed: Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
| Summary: The sequel to the excellent Aries Rising sees Logan McRae take her astrology book to writers' camp, and try to use it to investigate whether the area is really haunted by a folk singer's
ghost. It's not quite up to the first in the series, but still a very good read for teenagers.
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 288||Date: May 2010|
|Publisher: Running Press|
Logan McRae is excited by the prospect of attending a writers' camp hosted by author Henry Jaffa, who starts off by asking them all to write a project idea and then shuffles them around. Instead of her longed-for astrology feature, Logan ends up having to write about folk singer Sean Baylor, whose ghost may be haunting the locality. The only person who doesn't have to switch is the cute boy at the camp, Jeremy, who Jaffa allows to keep his original topic – of Sean Baylor. So, Logan and Jeremy end up fighting over research material while also clearly wanting to get to know each other better – does the ghost exist? Will they get it together? Who will write the best article and get it published? The answers to all these questions and more lie inside the second book in the Star Crossed series (along with some temporary tattoos!)
I'm split on Taurus Eyes. There's no doubt that Bonnie Hearn Hill is a really good writer for teens – her first book in this series, Aries Rising, was a brilliant start, and I've been looking forward to this sequel for a while. I have to say, I don't think this novel quite lives up to the first – but it's still well above average for its kind. I loved Logan, her teacher Mr Franklin, and four or five other characters in Aries Rising, while feeling some of the backup cast weren't so well fleshed out. There's almost a complete change in the characters for this book, other than narrator Logan – her dad and friends Chili and Paige feature in little more than cameos, while no-one else from the first one really appears at all. Given most of the new characters aren't quite so well described as the older ones, this was a shame. On the plus side, Jaffa is a fairly good replacement for Franklin, and Jeremy is the kind of mysterious lead boy that many teen girls will swoon over. Many of the others – Sean Baylor's sister Ren, Logan's rival Vanessa, and her friend Tati – are all a little on the two-dimensional side.
My other slight criticism was the way the astrology's handled. While I appreciate Hearn Hill is aiming the book directly at believers in the subject, I really enjoyed the first one because even as a sceptic, it was good fun to read, with most of the things Logan worked out being attributable to non-astrological reasons like improved confidence in herself if you preferred looking at it that way. In this book, she seems to be ridiculously good at it, guessing people's star signs within moments of meeting them, and it takes away the enjoyable doubt. (I've just realised that I've happily given five stars to books involving psychic vampires, demons and ghosts, so can't quite work out what's causing me to dislike the increased emphasis on the astrology aspect here – perhaps it's just because it seems a jarring change from book 1.)
So, having listed a few criticisms, here's some good points to balance things out – because as I said, this is still a cut above most of the field. The plot is far less predictable that Aries Rising, and the dialogue is still up there with the best recent teen fiction – I love the way everybody talks here. The presentation is also still fantastic – we get bits from Fearless Astrology, the book Logan uses to help her with her articles, notes she writes to herself, a few articles she writes, and the main narrative. And while I've resisted the urge to try the tattoos myself, I'm sure lots of the intended audience will love them.
Recommended to teens, particularly those with a strong interest in astrology (for whom this is easily five stars.)
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
Further reading suggestion: For another fun and frothy teen read, Planet Janet by Dyan Sheldon is a great pick.
You can read more book reviews or buy Star Crossed: Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Star Crossed: Taurus Eyes by Bonnie Hearn Hill at Amazon.com.
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