Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Hi all!

Here's a review for contemporary YA in the real world without any magic or paranormal aspects.

Release date: 28th of February 2012
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: YA, Family & Everyday Life
Pages: 272 in Paperback
Source: Bought from The Book Depository


Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.


Being a teenage paparazzi is certainly an intriguing topic to write a young adult book about. Especially if this teenager happens to not be small fry but instead someone quite established and skillful. What’s more, the person in question is a petite girl with a childlike appearance. I was definitely looking forward to reading this.

Although, the book was as good as it promised to be: original plot, a fun easy read, distinctive and likeable characters, my inability to truly like the protagonist Jo hindered me completely enjoying the book. She was spunky and a strong girl, but I couldn’t relate to her. Also, Ned remained a little too general.

I also have to mention that I loved the plot twist in the end and you could say that I didn’t see that coming. It was a real surprise.


I have mixed feelings towards Jo. I liked how she was independent, fearless, wasn’t afraid to take risks and didn’t stand back and give up. She was also without question exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable in the field of paparazzi-ing. Alone the gadgets she possessed were remarkable. On the other hand I didn’t like that she was too independent, grown up and hard. She seemed to lack the knowledge of having fun and show simple childish joy. She was a bit too shameless sneaking in everywhere, following people, using her appearance to trick others, etc to snap pictures of celebrities. Paparazzi’s obviously don’t have a good reputation and it’s a dirty business, giving the public what they want just because there is demand is no excuse. You don’t have to get what you want all the time. The guilt Jo faced in the book at one point felt out of place considering how she normally behaved in regards to paparazzi-ing. Despite all this, she was a cute and pretty girl who had a dream and kept moving towards that goal.

Ned was typical hot nice guy. I liked him but he didn’t stike me as anything very memorable or special. His other “side” I found a lot more interesting. Jo noticed something off about him and the explanation was really unexpected. It was somewhat hard to believe, ecpecially since it was going on for so long, but nevertheless, it was a very good idea.

Katrina was without a doubt my favorite character, she was witty, friendly, interesting, and sympathetic … I almost hoped that she would be the heroine or at least get her own book. The other kids in the retreat were all intriguing people whose back stories I’m quite certain would be fit to carry their own books as well. I really learned to appreciate Seth and the guy with the hoodie was someone I would have been excited to know more about.

An honorable mention: Manny. He was such a lovable guy! I’m almost convinced that he and Jo would have worked great together as a couple and I think they would have had more in common than Jo and Ned. Still, I like the idea of the two but Ned is the one for Jo.

A small rant on Jo’s father (it seems I write a lot of rants on parents in my reviews): What kind of father leaves her young daughter alone with just a relative to occasionally keep an eye on her and who isn’t around most of the time? Ok, this is not so bad but considering Jo’s job, and the father certainly knew how dangerous it could be, how could he encourage it without proper and constant guidance. Jo might have been resourceful and intelligent, but still there is no justification. However, I did like that he regarded her managing skills highly and he made Jo show effort and independence by not giving her everything just because. She had to work for her dream. In addition to Jo’s father, Ned’s dad, while not a prominent figure in the story, managed to come across as a greedy scheming jerk as well, especially when all the twists and turns of the story came to light.


A cute, fun, quick summer read! I reccommend for all who want to read a young adult book withour any fantasy elements but still an interesting setting.

3 stars!



  1. I been wanting to read this book but never had the chance to. I probably won't reading the book anytime soon. Great review!

    Lisa @ Shatterbooks

  2. This book does look cute and fun, but I can see how Jo being too independent can get on your nerves. Thanks for the review!

  3. Personally, I don't like it when characters are too independent. It makes me feel like the author hasn't quite grasped that teenagers are teenagers. Sure, they can grow beyond their years, but giving them something that normally adults are good at is pretty hard to pull off. :)

  4. Sounds good and fun. Added it to my tbr list!


  5. Sounds like something I would've read in high school. Now most of my reading involves farm animals and if it's not a Boynton board book, it's probably not being read.

  6. Thanks for the feedback! Yes, the book has flaws, but I guess a lot has to do with me not being a teenager anymore. I bet they would gobble it up though, it's a cute book :D