Sheltered high school junior Andrea Cavanaugh believes she hits the jackpot when Josh McMillan, a piano prodigy, becomes her first-ever boyfriend – he’s talented, handsome, popular, everything a girl could want. However, she quickly learns that Josh has a very dark side, and their storybook romance soon turns into a nightmare that could very well destroy Andrea in every conceivable way.
What I loved:
Honestly… this is NOT an easy book to love. It’s dark, tragic, devastating, and often stomach-churning in its stark realism. You’re forced to keep reading as Andrea’s self-esteem and emotional stability is systematically destroyed by one of the most contemptible male characters you’ll ever read. You never want to believe that there are boys like this in real life, but there are. There are also girls who will become their victims no matter how much we wish it were otherwise. Andrea, the child of ineffectual parents, is never given the tools to make the right choices. All I could do while reading the second half of this book was that there would somehow be a resolution, something positive. I won’t give it away, but it was enough to satisfy me.
What I didn’t love:
Josh, obviously. Readers will want to reach into the pages and slap him, stab him, or wring his neck from beginning to end. But that’s the point. He’s there for us to hate, the epitome of the bad boyfriend. He’s there so that teens can read this book and realize just how predators can draw their prey in. How being “starry-eyed” is no excuse for being in a horrible relationship (whether it be romantic or with someone who is supposed to be your friend).
My Final Verdict:
Forgiven are the Starry-Eyed is the textbook definition of a cautionary tale. It is well-written and almost disturbingly graphic in parts. There is profanity and sex, and it pulls no punches whatsoever. Congratulations to Christine Miller for having the guts to write so polarizing a story that every teenage girl (and boy) should read.