Thursday, January 30, 2014

Review: STARRY NIGHTS by Daisy Whitney

Author: Daisy Whitney
Published: September 2013
Series: Standalone
Genre: YA
Publisher: Bloomsbury
POV: 1st person
Pages: 280
Format: e-ARC
Source: Netgalley
Rating: The Great Hall
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.

Like a master painter herself, Daisy Whitney brings inordinate talent and ingenuity to this romantic, suspenseful, and sophisticated new novel. A beautifully decorated package makes it a must-own in print.

For Julian, art comes to life. As in, art actually comes to life. Once night falls, the artwork hanging in the museum leave their frames and step into real life. But while dancing Degas ballerinas are fun to watch, there's only one painting that Julian wants to see come to life: The Girl in the Garden. Thought to be long lost but recently found, there's something about her that captures Julian's attention. Add in a personality-filled Bonheur (and his awesome sister Sophie), a little magic dust, and an old enemy who is bent on claiming The Girl in The Garden, and you're in for an interesting story.

STARRY NIGHTS features fantastic characters and an even more intriguing concept. Yet, for all the fun that Julian & Co. provide, I was left wishing for more meaning and originality to the story. Whitney tugged at my emotions with her debut, THE MOCKINGBIRDS, so I was very surprised by how little I felt while reading this story. Simply put, STARRY NIGHTS is a cute and light read that will undeniably entertain readers in the mood for such a story, but it does not come close the excellency of Whitney's other works. If you're looking for a quick and fun library check-out, this book is for you. 

Highlights: Paintings come to life1. I really liked Julian, Bonheur, Sophie, Emilie and other characters. I loved learning who Clio really was, especially since her true identity was an interesting twist. The art aspect was fantastic, though I wish we could have seen some of it in the story (if only pictures of the artwork could have been included, that would have been amazing).

Lowlights: The romance was unbelievable. As a crush? Sure. As love? No way. So when the l-word was introduced, I stopped believing in the romance. Also, for a Parisian boy, Julian sounds an awful lot like an American teenager. It's been my experience that people from anywhere tend to have their own local/cultural slang that comes with the territory of growing up in a certain area. If I hadn't been told that this story was set in Paris, I would have assumed it was meant to be Anywhere, USA.

Rating: The Great Hall (high 3 out of 5). This book was very likable, enough that I want a copy in the palace even if it doesn't earn a spot in the royal library. STARRY NIGHTS is a likable and entertaining novel, but there are a few issues. 

1 I took a few Art History classes early in college, and they were outstanding. So, it was very cool read about artwork I've studied before, especially in a story where they come to life. Although I'm not going to lie, the Mona Lisa's secret was slightly underwhelming.


  1. I haven't read any of Daisy Whitney's books but maybe I should read this one first before checking out the more serious books so I won't be as disappointed.

    I like the idea of art coming to life but I think it would be better in an MG novel rather than teen fiction. I would have loved it as a kid.

    Too bad there isn't artwork included. I wonder if the book will inspire teens to find out more about art and art history. That would be cool :)

  2. One of my all-time favorite college courses was art history, which completely took me by surprise. I wasn't expecting that at all, so, this book sounds really cool. I agree with Christina's above comment about maybe if it was targeted for MG, it might have appealed to more people. I have never read any of her books, but this one does sound fun. Thanks for the honest review!

  3. Glad you found things to enjoy but sorry that there was some lacking in the originality department