August 21, 2013

Latest Read: Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney

Here are the basics ...
Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney
Publication date: Sept. 3, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary/Paranormal
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: Seventeen-year-old Julien is a romantic—he loves spending his free time at the museum poring over the great works of the Impressionists. But one night, a peach falls out of a Cezanne, Degas ballerinas dance across the floor, and Julien is not hallucinating. The art is reacting to a curse that trapped a beautiful girl, Clio, in a painting forever. Julien has a chance to free Clio and he can't help but fall in love with her. But love is a curse in its own right. And soon paintings begin to bleed and disappear. Together Julien and Clio must save the world's greatest art.. at the expense of the greatest love they've ever known. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Starry Nights is a love letter to the arts. To painting, ballet, music but especially painting. It reminded me of an art history class I took in college (except more interesting - sorry art majors!). I do love art though. I may not always understand it or see the emotion behind every brush stroke, but I enjoy walking through museums and seeing all the beauty that surrounds you. The book takes place in Paris (another bonus) and we see what it's like to work at the Musée d'Orsay through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Julien.

Julien seemed almost too perfect to be true. Extremely romantic, knowledgeable about art, music and ballet and I pictured him as being quite the cutie. I'm pretty sure boys like that don't exist (at least not at that age) but I still liked his voice. When he was talking to his best friend or lost in his own thoughts, there was an authenticity there. He's also surrounded by so many interesting characters. I liked his best friend Simon and his girlfriend, two siblings he meets through his mother's work who love art as much as he does, a ballerina he befriends and even Clio the girl trapped in the Renoir painting. It's through his interactions with them that his personality shines and moves the story along.

(Major) reservations: Even though I knew going into the book that there was this paranormal (that's what I would consider it, right?) aspect, I had a really hard time suspending my disbelief. The author's descriptions of the art and the museums felt so real but the curse and seeing the paintings come alive at night never seemed to click. I had a hard time buying it and buying into Julien falling in love with Clio so quickly. I'm not a huge fan of insta-love to begin with but it was just too much at times. I also felt like Paris itself and the culture wasn't utilized enough. While the descriptions of the museums were vivid, not much was said of the city itself. I honestly wouldn't have remembered it took place in Paris if they didn't mention the Louvre constantly.

Do I recommend?: It's a quick read and I think anyone who's taken (and loved) an art history class would genuinely enjoy that aspect of this book a lot. But if you're more interested in the story and the relationship between Clio and Julien, you may find yourself disappointed. Again, it could be one of those things that you just have to read for yourself but I wasn't a huge fan.

Happy reading!

3 comments:

  1. I didn't know that there was paranormal in this book so that's interesting to know! From the cover (and the blurb), it doesn't seem like anything other than a contemporary! I do love me some art but the news about not utilizing the gorgeous city of love makes me cry.

    Thanks for the great review, Rachel!

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  2. It's so great to hear your thoughts on this. I actually haven't heard much about it. I had no idea there was a paranormal aspect either. That's kind of surprising. I definitely want to read this one, but it's good to know what I'm getting in to!

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  3. I love the art aspect of this book, I really do. And setting it in Paris was definitely a great decision! But sadly, like you, I didn't like this book as much as I wanted to. The paranormal aspect just didn't make sense to me, and I really think that the romance was such a turn-off. It was... interesting.

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