Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.
Description taken from Goodreads.
Maybe this book is more YA than I realized, because it’s been three years since I last read it, and I appreciate it more now.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t distinctly remember Jo as being annoying, because I do, but it’s almost like that was a different book. Rather, now, I saw Jo as just sounding younger than the average YA heroine. She’s not tough, and she’s not mind-blowingly beautiful, but she’s smart and she loves what she does.
I could use more heroines like that in YA/MG.
Besides, this goes along with a trend in kid lit that I love: kids with passion. Jo’s love for photography is well-described and becomes a focus of the book. It fuels the reason why Jo gets close to Ned in the first place, and it adds to her self-conflict (which is also very well-written) throughout the middle and end of the book.
The pacing was much better than I remember as well. In my last review, I said that the middle was a drag. While I can see why I would say that, I got much more involved with the plot and the characters than before. I also loved Ned and Jo together, whereas before, I had liked their characters more separately.
Overall, I enjoyed Shooting Stars much more than when I first read it, and it’s a great crossover between YA and middle-grade lit, even though Jo is 16. The narrative was nothing particularly special, but I enjoyed reading from Jo’s voice. As for the ending, it wasn’t as great only because I knew what was coming, and it is somewhat cliché, but it was the ending I wanted. I would recommend this to contemporary YA fans who want a cute, happy read and middle-grade lit fans who lean more toward YA. 4 stars.
pg count for the paperback: 272