Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))
The Starburst Effect by Kelly Oram – Book Details
TITLE – The Starburst Effect
AUTHOR – Kelly Oram
YEAR PUBLISHED – 2022
PAGE COUNT – 304
MY RATING – 3.5 of 5
RATED ON GOODREADS – 4.33 of 5
What It Is About
I should hate him, but it’s proving impossible to not feel sympathy for him. Instead of remembering the jerk who called me trash and laughed at me with his friends, all I see is the sweet guy who likes my toes and played Monopoly with my brother.
Lily Rosemont is going through a hard time. Her parents are getting divorced. She has more on her plate than she can handle. And she’s being bullied at school, thanks to her neighbor, the hottest guy and the biggest jerk in her high school, Noah Trask.
But then Noah gets seriously injured during a football game. He is left with a traumatic brain injury, which completely changes his life. Now Noah needs Lily’s help to finish a book about his experience, which he needs to do if he wants to graduate high school on time.
Lily has absolutely no intention to get any closer to her former bully than she absolutely has to. Except – Noah is not the guy he used to be. And Lily could also use Noah’s help if she wants to go to the college of her dreams.
The Starburst Effect by Kelly Oram – My Review
How has this happened? Noah Trask is invading my personal space, asking about my day like it’s something we do all the time. He doesn’t seem to understand how weird this is.
Entering The Starburst Effect, I expected a heartfelt YA romance full of redemption arcs and exploration of how challenges in our teenage years can shape us into who we become as adults. And while I wasn’t one hundred percent happy with everything, I’m still glad I got to read the early copy of this book.
I’m always up for a good YA romance drama. I find high school age to be endlessly entertaining and impactful. It offers so many topics to explore – from cute and funny to deep, meaningful and life changing ones.
The Starburst Effect is the second Kelly Oram’s book I’ve read. The first one was Cinder & Ella. But I read that one a long time ago, and while I’m pretty sure I enjoyed it quite a bit back then, I’m not sure how I would feel about it now.
Anyways… this book. It was cute and charming. Entertaining. Made me think. And I finished it quite fast.
The book is completely character driven. Makes sense, considering the main themes it explores. However, I really needed a bit stronger plot. Like maybe a secondary action-driven plot line to connect random chapters and drive the story forward while the characters did their growing thing.
There’s so much depth to him that I never would have guessed existed before. His attitude, the mask he always put on, hid so much of who he was. I doubt very many people knew the real him before his accident.
I don’t know how realistic the story was, people at my high school were certainly much nicer. But, the story did make me feel all the frustration anyone in Lily’s position must be feeling, so kudos for that.
And the whole brain injury thing – I really wish I knew more about it. It felt like Oram did her research, but it still left me feeling like something was missing.
Honestly, the whole he-got-injured-and-now-he’s-good part was messy. Not even bad, just – there were many amazing moments, but something would always come up to make me cringe.
Like how quickly and completely Noah went from the biggest bully to the sweetest person ever. I know it probably didn’t happen all that quick and easy for him. But we didn’t get to see the struggle. From our point of view – he was an ass, then got hit in the head and suddenly became good.
Don’t get me wrong – I am glad Noah got to learn a lot from what happened to him. Just wish we got to see a bit more of the whole process of how he got there.
I had similar feelings about the book Lily and Noah were writing. I definitely wish we got to see more of that. That whole part had a severe case if told-instead-of-shown. Which is such a shame because I think it could have been the most interesting part of the story.
And Lily was… again. She was pretty cool. A bit hard to buy someone her age would have so much strength and integrity, but maybe I’m just quick to forget how mature and amazing kids and teenagers can be. Still, I think I’d appreciate her even more with the Cinderella-ish vibe taken down just a notch.
When we were plotting out each chapter in his book, he admitted that that day was the best day he’d had since his accident and that it changed his life. What he doesn’t realize is that that day changed my life, too.
So I had my complaints. But, I also quite enjoyed this read. It was engaging and emotional. It made me feel all sorts of things. There’s something about Kelly Oram’s writing that makes me feel what her characters are going through more than most other authors.
Oram brought some interesting philosophical questions, such as can the worst thing ever happened to someone actually end up being a good thing. And do we really need to ‘taste our own medicine’ to understand what other people are going through.
I’m glad that we weren’t lectured about it, though. We don’t necessarily get strict answers. Most of it is left to interpretation, as if the point of it all was to just make us think.
The bottom line is – in my opinion The Starburst Effect wasn’t perfect, but there were enough good things about it that I’m glad I’ve read it. If you enjoy YA romances with a deeper note to them, this one has an ok done disability rep, solid characters and a cute romance to offer.