ARC Review: Summer of Supernovas7:37:00 PM
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Publish Date: May 10, 2016 by Crown BFYR
Received eARC in exchange for an honest review through NetGalley.
Summer of Supernovas is a stellar tale of love and fate and the intertwining of destiny with a warring head and heart. For a genre I generally don’t read too much of (contemporary romance) it was the astrology aspect of this novel that pulled me in and wouldn’t let go until I had finished each and every last page. All my life I've been fascinated with the celestial sphere above us and the constellations, planets, and galaxies that those in the generations before us often looked to for the answers to questions only mystics and diviners could ask. The great philosophers that are now revered for their thinking, Galileo, Aristotle, Nicolas Copernicus and Pythagoras, among countless others were also revered for their affinity for the heavens above and the gaseous bodies that foretold destiny and fate in its many forms. Today we often see astrology in the form of our daily horoscopes and Twitter or Tumblr accounts that categorize the signs into various animals, behaviors, or TV characters. (My personal favorite was a recent "Signs as Grey's Anatomy Characters" where my sign, Aquarius, was said to be my favorite character, Lexie Grey.)
Social media phenomena aside, the story of Wilamena Carlisle and her love story fated in the stars is one of learning to put your faith in your own heart and following your gut when necessary. It has a bit of everything, coming-of-age, teen angst and self-discovery, electric romance, and a band of characters as unique and multifaceted as there are stars in the night sky. Wil Carlisle's mother had a strong connection to the stars and the way they played a part in determining one's destiny. Imparting this love onto her daughter left Wil with her life laid out before her and no clue how to proceed when it came time to find love in her life, as dictated by her celestial chart mapped out to the exact date and time of her birth. With only 22 days before her Fifth House of Relationships and Love goes into retrograde, Wil must battle her own heart and true emotions as her head guides her in a different direction. Ultimately, Wil is faced with a choice that could shake the planets out of alignment as she knows them as she must learn how to balance her destiny with the true desires of her heart.
My one qualm with the book was the slow build to resolution. Perhaps that's why I don't read contemporary too often; I find the slow build to the climax, though realistic in many ways, is an excruciating wait to endure for the exciting parts. I know some people who DNF’d it early on due to the build, but some part of me decided to push forward because I could feel the end would be promising. I suppose I'm just impatient in that sense! And though the first half of the book was slow, it allowed time for the characters to really develop and come into themselves in a realistic manner. I got to really get a sense for Wil's personality and her traits that make her stand out, aside from her astrological obsession. She has a love for vintage fashion and the simplicity that is found in everything, and though she is resigned and polite she is also full of the moxie of the era she loves (the 1940s) and none of the demure nature of the housewives of the time. Her best friend Irina is a fiery girl with lots of edge but a warm and loving, protective core. Grant is every bit the dreamboat you would expect, a total gentleman and a creative soul with a heart of gold. Plus, he's a musician. *swoon* Meanwhile his brother Seth is opposite him in many ways: Seth is all shiny and new, full to brimming with grandeur and romantic gestures. Most of all, Wil's Gram is fiercely protective of Wil, a talented baker whose personality holds as much duality as her chocolate espresso cupcakes.
Altogether this cast of characters develops the story at an intricate, yet even-paced rate in the beginning. For some this may drag on, and though I found myself yearning for something more exciting it was the characters and their interaction with one another that made up for it. By the second half of the story, the pace had hit top speed and didn't stop until the very last chapter.
The small town of Carlisle set the stage for the wild and grand romance that eclipsed the story. There were instances where romance stories that defined a generation, such as that of The Notebook and Titanic, shine through in the sentiments expressed by the characters. A unique love triangle where each point of the triangle loved one another, whether romantically or fraternally, becomes the focal point when things really begin to get exciting. You'll find yourself torn between the brothers just as Wil is, before ultimately rooting for Wil to choose the one she has had feelings for all along.
I give this book such a specific rating of 3.75 stars because, well, I’m just so gosh darn picky. The characters felt unique and had such good development. The setting wasn’t center stage, though, and felt a bit like a cookie cutter small town. The romance could be a teeny bit trite at times, but by the end it felt realistic and right. If you find yourself wishing for more excitement in this book when reading, please trust me when I say it’s worth the wait until the second half! In the end, Darcy tells a lovely story of finding first love, forgiving yourself and your past, and realizing that although things may not be fated in the stars, it doesn’t mean they aren’t meant to be.
Having devoured this book in less than a day, I reached out to Darcy Woods requesting an interview. Despite having a fully booked schedule, she graciously agreed to take the time to answer my questions! So stay tuned within the next week or so, I'll be posting our interview right here!!