September 4, 2013

Starry Nights - Daisy Whitney

Starry Nights - Daisy Whitney
Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
Source/Format: BEA 2013 || ARC
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

Starry Nights has a tantalizing cover, complete with the mysterious silhouette of an embracing couple set against the lush backdrop of the sparkly Parisian landmark, the Eiffel Tower. It's poised to immediately captivate potential readers, but sadly, the contents of this novel fail to live up to the promise of its cover.

As always, the positive & negative things will be listed below:

The book would be appealing to lovers of art in all its forms. There are many variations of art touched upon in the book, everything from ballet to painting to sketching to the opera. And as someone who enjoys most expressions of creativity, this aspect of the book worked. The art descriptions are lovely, and each masterpiece mentioned was enticing the reader to want to visit them in their respective museums. The reader would be hard-pressed to ignore the call to creativity that this book employs, and it's truly one of the winning parts of the novel.

Muses. It would be truly strange to explain this aspect, and nearly impossible to do so without spoiling parts of the story. But, as with most forms of art, the muse is alluded to many times in this novel. It seems fitting that Whitney would deliberately weave them into her story, albeit unexpectedly.

The secondary characters in this novel were fantastic. I adored meeting the other characters in this book - the two eccentric children of a famous art collector, Jackson's best friend, the characters in the paintings. Despite some of them only making brief appearances in the story, they felt more alive as characters and easier to love.

Jackson was a completely flat character. He basically lacked personality, and felt completely forgettable. The best way to describe him would be as a blur, where there were moments you knew him and moments you didn't. While it would have been wonderful to be able to root for him,it just didn't click with me in spite of his professed passion for art.

The entire novel read like it was A Midsummer Night's Dream. Everything that occurred in this novel was fanciful, whimsical and highly imaginative. Honestly, this is one of those things where it could be either positive or negative for a reader. While the whimsy was generally acceptable, it felt too outlandish at times and a bit over the top. If that was the author's intention, she certainly succeeded.

I had certainly hoped for more when it came to Starry Nights. Unfortunately, I failed to connect with the story or the main character, which resulted in me feeling apathetic towards this book. While it is likely that I will pick up Whitney's other reads, this is not necessarily one I'd recommend you start with.


  1. I'm sorry this one didn't work out for you, overall- I really enjoyed reading your review, the structure was very interesting, but if not for the final section at the end I wouldn't have been able to tell whether you liked it or not... it seemed just mediocre, so I'm sorry it was worse than that. I think it certainly sounds like an interesting read, though not one that I would have thought I would enjoy from afar, so that's interesting.
    I think I won't pick it up at the moment, but perhaps if I see it around one day I'll look into it more,
    Great review!

  2. That's how I felt too! It was so strange for me to go from reading When You Were Here (which was amazing!) to Starry Nights, which def fell flat for me too. I really wanted to like it because of all the art and the Paris background but it was just too outlandish for me. Oh well!

  3. Aww, that's too bad that the book was a bit lackluster. I have been thinking of trying this one, but maybe I'll push it back down my TBR list. I don't want dull main characters!

  4. Wait, is it Julien or Jackson? Or are they two different characters?

  5. I really bummed to hear that!! I'm still going to try it at some point though!

  6. I've seen mixed reviews for this one pretty much across the board, and being that I didn't really care for her last one, I'm probably safe in skipping this. I'm sorry you were disappointed by it, Alexa--hope your next read is better!

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  7. This is kind of one of those books that I think I WANTED to read, but completely forgot about. I wouldn't mind reading it, but not really running to the store to get it. I hate that it wasn't a WOW book though! Oh well... they can't all be stellar!

  8. I think because I am already a major Daisy Whitney fan, I will like this book. Boo, that the character Jackson is flat. I hate when that happens. Sucks when a book doesn't live up to expectations.

  9. This review makes me kind of sad! Just because the cover is so, so beautiful, I was hoping the book itself would be just as lovely.

  10. This is the 2nd review I read that criticized the protagonist. But the art and whimsy sounds amazing!

    Sara at The Page Sage

  11. Sorry this didn't work for you-I've heard some good but also some bad things about this book. I'm hoping it works better for me because it's on this month's reading list.


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