Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of. Yes, the middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!
Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt had a unique plot and some interesting characters, and despite the usual teen clichés, I really enjoyed the story. Brenda truly tugged on my emotions in the beginning of this story because I could completely relate to Marsha’s school situation, especially the bullying. Brenda brought life to her characters by giving them depth and lively personalities, and her vivid storytelling drew me into the pages. The narrative was fast paced and the book was overflowing with tension. Now on to those clichés: first there was the insta-I-just-saw-the-cutest-guy-in-school-love; then the-nerdy-girl-always-gets-picked-on-by-the-popular-girls, and my favorite, the-new-guy-likes-me-so-now-I-am-popular cliché. Brenda put them all into Starstruck, but somehow they managed to truly work for this story. There was one more thing that irked me, and that was the aunt. She was annoying: “Humph-ing” all the time, and the things she thought about Marsha were ridiculous, it was impossible for her aunt to know so little about Marsha as a person. When you live with someone, you have to know at least the basics of their personality, but Marsha’s aunt treated her like a stranger most of the time, and when she didn’t it was only to regard her with flippancy.
As a young child Marsha was adopted, but an accident took away her adoptive parents, leaving her in the care of her uncle and cold, strict aunt. Everyday Marsha is teased and bullied at school, but she has her friends to keep her sane, and her dream of one day getting out of her little town. When a new guy, Rigel, starts attending her school, Marsha is thrown for a loop. All of a sudden he is all she can think about (well...he is the cutest guy in the school, and the quarterback of the football team), and even the sound of his voice sends shivers down her spine. When the inevitable happens and they touch, the spark they create completely freaks Rigel out sending him searching for answers. And the ones he gets are almost too unbelievable for Marsha. She is the lost Princess from Mars. Yup. She’s a Martian. Secrets and tension surround Marsha and Rigel because they must keep their identities confidential, not even her best friends can know who she truly is. Increasing the danger to Marsha and her new found community, there is a faction of Martians who are seeking to assassinate Marsha before she can take her proper place on the throne and end the invasion they have planned.