Pub. Date: June 1, 2010
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Source: Personal copy
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Once a perfect pair, Pete and Annabelle are separated by Annabelle's obsession with astrology. When Annabelle dares Pete to open a summer business on the beach, generating personal horoscopes, their hilarious bickering rises to a fever pitch."
Pete and Annabelle have known each other since middle school. They spend their summers at Gingerbread Beach and even though they root for opposite sports teams (Yankees/Red Soxs), they have had major crushes on each other for years. They have both been counting down the days till they can return to Gingerbread Beach for the summer again. Except this summer is different. Annabelle has become obsessed with astrology and even uses it to help her predict the outcome of sports games. Pete, who is not into New Age trends, does not like this new change in her at all. This immediately creates a lot of tension, so Annabelle dares him to open a "Star Shack" on the boardwalk with the hopes that she can spend more time with Pete and prove that astrology is real. However, the plan backfires and what was supposed to be an incredible summer starts to fall apart fast. The Star Shack by Lila Castle is a cute summertime read that will put a smile on your face.
Annabelle is a likable character, although her obsession with astrology was over the top. I could see why it would drive Pete nuts. I liked their chemistry though and their witty banter. The chapters alternated with Annabelle and Pete's point of view, which was a nice touch. I was rooting for them to get back together from the instant they parted; they are such cute couple. I think my middle school female students would love this book mainly for that reason.
The setting of Gingerbread beach is also really cute. Even though it rains there a lot, I found myself making some personal connections to the various places there, like the local coffee shop, the boardwalk, the beach, etc. All of the places all seemed like real locations that you could encounter at any beach community.
The Star Shack is similar to a lot of Sarah Dessen's novels, but it lacks that extra depth and spark. Although I enjoyed The Star Shack, if you really want a summertime read that is deeper and has more character development, go with Dessen; however, if you want a quick beach read that will warm your heart and bring a smile to your face, The Star Shack won't disappoint.
*Buy The Star Shack