Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Standalone. Point (April 2014) Own
Nothing ever happens in Little, California.

Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. She's planning on a low-key summer of days working at her parents' restaurant and nights spent stargazing with her best friends Alien Drake and Chloe, all while avoiding even thinking about life after senior year. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned public relations mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Suddenly, Carter's beautiful, sleepy town has turned into a giant glittery set and, much to Carter's annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of the stunning star. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck.

Her family really needs the money, and to her own surprise, Carter finds herself saying yes. It'll be just like any other summer job, right? But keeping a secret this big from her friends isn't easy, and it turns out, Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. Worse yet, she might actually be falling for him. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life and get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood ending in real life?

The promise of a great friendship in Catch a Falling Star, is the reason I picked this book up. And there is a great friendship built in this story, much to my delight. There is also a ton of emotions that came up that I didn't anticipate. The feelings of not knowing what to do with the rest of your life, dealing with addiction, letting people down, putting on a mask in front of others, being unsure about love; it all comes up in what I thought was going to be just a fluffy read. 

The premise is very fluffy. It's kind of cliche in a Disney movie kind of way. But, that's what I wanted out of this book. Sometimes romantic sappy reads are just what I need. And I got the romantic/cliche version but I also got the emotional version. The version where, other than the celebrity hiring a small town girl to date them, has a lot of realistic qualities to it. I could feel what Carter was going through and my emotions fluctuated with hers. I didn't spend the whole time up in the clouds like I thought but instead was really thinking about what ties us to where we are in life and what I would regret if I didn't try to go outside my comfort zone to explore this great big wonderful world. Again, all of this depth caught me really off guard but I wounded up loving the direction the story took me in.

So the friendship that prompted me to pick this book up was just as I hoped. Chloe and Alien Drake are true friends. Chloe LOVES Adam Jakes (the celebrity) and when she found out that Carter was dating him (after a moment) was totally okay with it all. She didn't say that she wasn't good enough for him or question why he was dating her. She was supportive and was majorly shipping their romance. Alien Drake was also pretty supportive but could be at times jealous by the way Chloe acted around Adam. Chloe and Alien Drake's relationship was pretty cute. Both of them being a couple felt very natural and like they were an old married couple at times. The three of them - Carter, Chloe, and Alien Drake - were really close with one another. I really love reading that type of friendship. It makes me feel like they'll be best friends when they are old and grey. They'll be talking about the good old days on their front porches and their grandchildren will be running by... haha. I'm kind of getting carried away with all of this. I just like to see a friendship that looks like it will endure. It's heartwarming to read about that when it doesn't necessarily happen very often in real life.

Adam Jakes was a bit of a mystery to Carter and me as well. I'm still kind of torn by his character. Carter mentions how she doesn't know when he's the caring Adam Jakes or when he's acting for an audience. I felt that way too even til the end. Most of the story I really liked the development of Carter and Adam's relationship. Adam could be a really sweet, sincere guy but there were times that I questioned his sincerity as much as Carter which bugged me. Mostly though he was very likable when he wanted to be.

Carter is doing all this - dating Adam and lying to her friends about her relationship with him (she doesn't tell them she's getting paid to do so) for her brother. The way she described her brother when they were younger and the slow ways he withdrew from her life hit me hard. She misses who her brother used to be before his gambling addition. You can tell she's trying to fight hard for that big brother. Being that close with anyone and seeing them struggle... I'm sure anyone would do the best they can to save that one person that you care for so immensely from themselves if they needed help.

Catch a Falling Star ended up not only being a romantic fluffy read. It was about friendship and finding the courage to step out of your comfort zone. It was also about being true to yourself and going with your heart. It was all around a great read that really explores what it means to be struggling to find your place in the world.


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