Publication Date: April 29th 2014
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: NetGalley, Scholastic
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.
Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?
I received this ARC for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
I love summer reads. Theres just something so cheerful and carefree about those types of books that make them perfect for lounging around on a hot summer day, or along with you on the beach. Catch a Falling Star is one of those reads. Carter Moon loves her small-town life where nothing exciting ever happens. Shes happy spending her days making sandwiches in her dads café and her nights stargazing with her best friends. Shes content with the ordinary life she leads and shes not exactly looking for change. Change, however, finds her when movie star Adam Jakes rolls into town to film a new movie. From that moment forth, things start unraveling, little by little, until Carter is left dealing with the realization that giving up something you love is not the same as dealing with it in another way.
Every time I read about small towns like Little, CA. Im left feeling a bit bittersweet. Im a city girl, hands down, with dreams of moving to New Yorkand you cant get any crazier than that. These types of books, however, leave me with a longing for a small-town life, regardless of how fleeting that thought is. Little, California was just what I was expecting as a setting for a book like Catching a Falling Star. Theres a real sense of community to a place like that, and Culbertson had no problems transporting me into Carters world.
Everything on the surface about Carter Moon screams ordinary and for some reason I loved that about her. She truly is the girl-next-door type, the kind of girl looking for a cause, the kind of girl I wouldnt be ashamed to call my friend. Her genuine love for people and her strong dedication to her family was such a refreshing change from the protagonists Ive been reading about lately. There were also these sneaky, witty remarks here and there that brought a smile to my face. Furthermore, Carter has this calm, quiet strength about her that spoke volumesspecially with everything shes had to deal with brother. Andsurprise, surpriseshes a dancer! Honestly, I wasnt really expecting that from Carter and I wished Culbertson would have given us just a bit more. Carters dancing brought this other delicate and elegant layer to her that shone throughout her interactions with her pupils. Despite all these great qualities about her, Carter still sees herself as utterly ordinary, which is why Adams managers preposition comes across as a complete surprise.
Adam Jakes is the perfect poster boy for a Hollywood child actor. Hes conceited and over-priveledged and at times, a down right asshole. He plays his part well and he makes no excuses. Image is everything to an actor and Adam thoroughly exploits that. As much as I loved Carter, I had a little bit more trouble connecting with Adam. His vulnerable moments came a little bit too late in the novel they were a bit few in between. Plus, he doesnt really apologize that clearly for his behavior and that disappointed me. Still, there were a couple of sweet, real moments between him and Carter that melted my heart a bit. Yet, I think there was more to Adam to explore than what we got. It wasnt until the very end that I was really able to see him.
Carter and Adams relationship started out as a hoax. That ordinary quality of Carters (and the fact that she didnt swoon all over Adams movie star status) made her the perfect candidate. Soon enough theyre posing for the cameras, selling a lie to help Adams image. This is a trope weve seen before in books and Culbertson doesnt handle it any different. Still, it made my heart ache just a bit the more Carter spent time with Adam, only to remind herself that none of it was real. I think my inability to connect too much with Adam is the reason for my doomed thoughts regarding their relationship. I didnt really feel like Adam was that committed to the real possibilitycertainly not at the beginning. I do start to see some change later on that made me happy for Carters sake, but once again, it wasnt until the very end that I came to truly appreciate Adam as the guy for Carter. Theyre a million miles apart and thats one of their biggest problems. However, I was really happy that Adam put on his big boy pants and went after her in the end.
The secondary characters, from Carters family to Alien Drake and Chloe, made for a strong support system for Carter. Chloes starstruck ways also made for a hilarious interlude. Quirky and a bit silly, she brought some laughs to the equation and a smile to my face. Lastly, I really enjoyed those blog posts in between chapters. While I get the feeling that most of them were written by Alien Drake, they made me feel closer to Carter from a broader perspective. All in all, Catching a Falling Star was everything I had hoped it would be: sweet, funny and heartwarming in its own right.