Stars In Your Eyes By Kacen Callender Book Review

Stars In Your Eyes is advertised as the first adult romance by Kacen Callender. And it starts that way, but half way through it metamorphoses into a heartfelt and gut-wrenching look into trauma responses.

The book starts with a trigger warning from the author, so you know there will be some intense themes, especially when they explain some of it is taken from their own personal experiences. This makes everything even more emotive, especially as you’re lured into investing in the characters by fun romance tropes at the beginning.

The Plot

Mattie Cole is the new golden boy of Hollywood. Logan Grey is a bad boy with a troubled history, and they’re meant to be the latest epic love story. But after a disastrous beginning to their working relationship, which puts their movie on the rocks, they are convinced by the producers to start a fake romance. They agree even though they hate each other, and inevitably the sparks turn from hatred to something deeper. But both of them have pasts to overcome if they are to make this relationship work, and some demons are almost insurmountable.

The Review

In the beginning Stars In Your Eyes is the quintessential romance, using the enemies to lovers and fake dating tropes very successfully. I gulped down the beginning. It was easy to read, and I was hooked by the building tension between the two leads. They’re hot, the sexual tension is hot, and the enemies to lovers is hot hot hot.

You know there will be some kind of heavy trauma, but you’re happily lapping up the fake dating fails when it starts to rear its head. And it gets tough. I still gulped the book down, but it quickly became an investment in the hope that these characters would be able to heal and find themselves in the end.

It is obvious that Callender knows what they are writing about, especially with the terms used by the therapist and the healing journey. It makes for a darkly realistic read and one that I found quite gut-wrenching.

Luckily this is a romance book, and even though it has some heavy-duty scenes (this is not escapism romance), it does have a happy ending. Which I needed by the end of it. I was worried the author would leave me in an unfinished state of sadness.

I really enjoyed it and read it very quickly. A few small problems were some preachy moments, which I think were created by the author desperately wanting the right message to come across. The writing advice of show, not tell, could have helped some instances I think, but it wasn’t a big problem.

There is a lot going on in this little novel. There’s colourism, homophobia, biphobia, pedophilia, sexual assault, consent culture, sobriety, and even a scathing look at celebrity culture. The strength of the main plot is the reason why it’s able to carry all of these themes. Sometimes it feels like there’s not enough time to focus on all of them though.

Summary

Stars in Your Eyes is an exciting romance with a heavy duty punch to the gut half way through. It’s too late though, you’ll be hooked by then and have to read white knuckled to the end to heal your heart.

— Bliss
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Hi, I'm Bliss, the reader and writer behind Books For Bliss. Discover book reviews, lists for your next great read, or a story to make you feel great. It's all right at your finger tips; happiness on a page. Read More

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