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Review: Steering the Stars by Autumn Doughton & Erica Cope

This wasn’t a bad book. And it does attempt to portray an honest and raw friendship. However, there were a few elements missing. For instance, this book dragged on, and it took forever for something big to happen. There were tiny sprinkles of drama.

They are not able to carry the book alone. Those tiny bits produced little or none character development and felt a little unnecessary. They mostly came from lack of communication. Before I go any further, I would like to discuss the plot a little bit more.

The book is told in alternating POVs- Hannah and Caroline. They are best friends and very inseparable. Hannah, the aspiring writer, has been accepted into a prestigious writing program in London. Caroline is the straight-A student, who is stuck in Oklahoma without her best friend for a year. Hannah faces many challenges while away in London and could potentially fail. And Caroline, who is used to being invisible, is suddenly front and center and on a stage.

The friendship between Caroline and Hannah was advertised to be the main focus. And surprisingly, at times most of the book dealt with boy issues. More focus should have been on the friendship, and the romance should have taken a back seat.  

Another issue, is that the main conflict felt like a letdown. Readers spent the majority of the book waiting for an exciting thing to happen, and when it does it falls flat and delivers a weak outcome. The characters did not really grow from the conflict, and there were some things still left unclear. Also, the authors introduced characters (for example Ava) and subplot and then completely dropped them to focus more attention on the romance.

The book does end on a happy note. The only problem is that the future of the characters are unclear. The readers are left to wonder what happens next.

Characters

The “before London” friendship between Hannah and Caroline was never shown. We didn’t see what they were like before Hannah left the country. Instead, the book immediately picks with Hannah landing in London, and the readers are told what great friends Hannah and Caroline are. The majority of the conversations between Hannah and Caroline take place by emails, so the interactions between them are limited. And even then the friendship begins to be filled with lies and half-truths.

It is believable that Hannah and Caroline are friends, but the friendship does not seem as spectacular without the before London.

It appeared as if Hannah actively wanted to avoid London. Instead of accepting the new location, she seemed to always complain that there were never American things around. Also, she moved to London to go to this prestigious writing program, but writing seemed to be pushed into the background. She was apparently very talented; however, it seemed more like something told than shown.

Caroline was more likable than Hannah. And I think that she demonstrated more character development than Hannah. It was interesting to see how she reacted to being pushed outside her comfort zone.

It is worth mentioning that it was unrealistic that she automatically got the lead role in the play. And although her relationship with her father would have brought an extra kick to the book, it is hardly explored.

Final Analysis

Steering the Stars promises a heartfelt story about fate and the magic of friendship; however, it does not deliver. Romance dominates the plot, and the unnecessary lies begin to bloom within the friendship which creates a weak conflict.

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