Chasing Starlight

Featured
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
549 0
Chasing Starlight
Publisher
Age Range
13+
Release Date
August 11, 2020
ISBN
978-0765399519
Buy This Book
      

Movies, mansions, and murder in the Golden Age of Hollywood! Teri Bailey Black's Chasing Starlight is a historical mystery from the author of Girl at the Grave, winner of the Thriller Award for Best Young Adult Novel. 1938. The Golden Age of Hollywood. Palm trees and movie stars. Film studios pumping out musicals and gangster films at a furious pace. Everyone wants to be a star―except society girl and aspiring astronomer Kate Hildebrand. She’s already famous after a childhood tragedy turned her into a newspaper headline. What she craves now is stability. But when Kate has to move to Hollywood to live with her washed-up silent film star grandfather, she walks into a murder scene and finds herself on the front page again. She suspects one of the young men boarding in her grandfather’s run-down mansion is the killer―or maybe even her grandfather. Now, Kate must discover the killer while working on the set of a musical―and falling in love. Will her stars align so she can catch the murderer and live the dream in Old Hollywood? Or will she find that she’s just chasing starlight?

Editor reviews

1 reviews

a glitzy whodunnit caper
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
WHAT I LOVED:
We think of the glitz, glamorous mega-stars, and classic movies when we think of the Golden Age of Hollywood, but that’s not the Hollywood that Kate Hildebrand walks into when she’s sent to live in Hollywood with her grandfather. She sees the real Hollywood–the working class Hollywood, I’d say. Her grandfather has retired from acting after his failure to do well in talkies, most of his boarders are struggling actors who can’t find work, and the film Kate comes to participate in is a corny musical that’s being rushed through production to make as much money from as little as possible.

Then the boarder with mob connections is murdered in the kitchen with her grandfather’s own keepsake sword. But only people who lived there would know it was a real sword and that means one of them must be the killer, right? So begins this impressive little 1930s whodunnit caper.

Kate has had it rough and I feel for this girl. Her father ran a massive Ponzi scheme, one of his victims kidnapped Kate for a million-dollar ransom, police shot the kidnapper dead during the ransom exchange, and while police desperately tried to find out where Kate was hidden, her dad’s crimes came to light. He shot’s Kate mother dead, then himself, and Kate was hours away from death herself when police finally found her. Kate woke up in the hospital with a new fear of the dark and without her parents. Much to her dismay, she’s also a media sensation.

This society girl is anxious to get out of Hollywood and away from her grandfather Ollie’s broken down home, but everything starts to grow on her. The chaotic film set she’s working on as a production assistant, her friendship with neighbor and teen actor Bonnie, her blossoming attraction to wannabe actor Hugo Quick, and her increasing closeness with Ollie all convince her to stay. (Plus she needs to solve Lenny the mob guy’s murder so Ollie doesn’t get blamed for it and thrown in jail.)

Her character arc is impressive and her inability to quit jumping to conclusions does a good job of obscuring the killer’s identity, though it gets tiring after a bit. I swear, she told herself at one point “I’ve got to quit jumping to conclusions and accusing this one guy of murder” only for her to keep doing so and accuse him of murder again another time or two. Just for good measure. If you step outside of Kate’s head for a few minutes and consider the evidence, you have a good chance of figuring out the killer’s identity early like I did.

Chasing Starlight offers a a unique, memorable setting in 1930s Hollywood and doesn’t whitewash the setting either literally or figuratively. People of color have always been hard at work in Hollywood even though media depictions have made many of us think of that specific time and place as very white. Neither does the book shy away from the types of racism and sexism specific to that period in Hollywood. Latino actor Aurelio faces his entire history being rewritten to make him a heavily accented immigrant who was lucky enough to be brought to Hollywood by a producer.

This kind of oppression has always been in Hollywood and still is to this day, but it presents and works in different ways depending on the era. For instance: A new Latino actor in Hollywood isn’t going to have a racist backstory forced on them by a studio these days, but they’ll still be typecast into specific roles based on their skin color and accent. Women directing films was incredibly common until men commercialized the industry and pushed them out, as one character remarks in the book. Oppression through the ages in Hollywood is fascinating stuff to look into when you feel like it.

WHAT LEFT ME WANTING:
The character of Reuben Feigenbaum, another boarder in Ollie’s home, troubles me somewhat. His surname tells me he’s German and strongly implies he’s Jewish, as I’ve seen it’s a common surname in some Jewish communities. He’s also a communist and in hiding after being the unwilling bookkeeper to a mobster. Him being a Jewish communist who works with money seems a bit close to stereotypes, but to emphasize this: I am not Jewish and am not the authority on this whatsoever.

His character may well be a quiet show of how centuries of anti-Semitic rhetoric and action forced Jewish people into roles they’ve now been stereotyped with, like handling money for a living. Or it might not be that deep and he just trends toward anti-Semitic tropes. I did not ask any of my Jewish friends for their opinions because they have better things to do than be bothered with this just for my sake. I implore you to look for reviews of this book by Jewish people and see what they have to say.

FINAL VERDICT:
Chasing Starlight is a glitzy whodunnit caper that will learn you a thing or two while you’re enjoying yourself. Would I get a copy of the book for myself when it releases? Yeah. Would I reread it given the chance? Definitely!
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Calvin Gets the Last Word
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The dictionary as narrator? YES! ...
Goblin King (Permafrost, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Kara Barbieri's Goblin King, the stunning sequel in the...
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor, #3)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Morrigan battles a new evil as a strange, frightening illness...
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
*AN INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER* From New York...
Among the Beasts and Briars
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ashley Poston, acclaimed author of Heart of Iron, returns...
Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #2)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
In Warriors of Wing and Flame, the spellbinding sequel...
Corona Daze: Eva's time at home during Covid-19
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
"Angel's artwork is an inspirational blend of photographic images and...
Fae's Prisoner (Crimes of the Fae)
 
5.0 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
Griffin O’Shea is a traitor. It’s what those outside...
The Mirror: Broken Wish (The Mirror, #1)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sixteen-year-old Elva has a secret. She has visions and...
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater (the...
Launch (Rise of the Anointed #1)
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
In the biblical stories, Samson had great strength. The prophet...
How to Catch a Yeti
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the New York Times and USA Today bestselling team...
Along Came a Fox
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
The perfect story to encourage children to treat others as...
Rosa's Big Pizza Experiment (Rosa's Workshop)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Follow Rosa and her friends as they prepare pizzas! Each...
The Other Side of Midnight
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
The sense of foreboding came out of nowhere. It was...
Light of Orion-Guardians of Orion Book 2
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Evil is gathering strength. When she learns the truth, it...

Latest Member Reviews

Goblin King (Permafrost, #2)
 
4.0
"GOBLIN KING is a much faster-paced and action-packed YA fantasy sequel. Janneke has taken the mantle of the stag, though..."
Swamp Thing: Twin Branches
 
4.3
"SWAMP THING: TWIN BRANCHES is a graphic novel about finding yourself, remembering history, and forging your own path forward. Alec..."
The Mirror: Broken Wish (The Mirror, #1)
 
5.0
"BROKEN WISH is a beautifully composed fairytale. The book begins with the story of Mathilda and Agnes, neighbors who have..."
The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves, #1)
 
5.0
"THE GILDED WOLVES is a fantastic YA fantasy. Although given a year in the 1800s and a historical setting, the..."
The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)
 
4.3
"That ending!!! THE SILVERED SERPENTS is an engaging YA historical fantasy that picks up after the first book ended, and..."
Among the Beasts and Briars
 
4.7
"Ashley Poston has crafted a new fairy tale for the ages! Among the Beasts and Briars may very well be..."
Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #2)
 
4.0
"WARRIORS OF WING AND FLAME is an intriguing conclusion to a YA fantasy duology about sisterhood. This book picks up..."
Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light, #1)
 
3.7
"SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT is an intriguing YA fantasy that focuses on the love between sisters. Zuhra has lived..."
Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading and Writing YA
 
5.0
"FORESHADOW is a fantastic collection of short stories with a focus on discussion and writing. Each story is undeniably well-composed..."
A Cloud of Outrageous Blue
 
4.3
"A CLOUD OF OUTRAGEOUS BLUE is a historical fiction read that takes the reader to 1348-1349. Edyth grew up with..."
Slingshot
 
4.7
"SLINGSHOT by Mercedes Helnwein is a firecracker of a debut. This YA contemporary is set inside a shoddy boarding school..."
Raybearer (Raybearer, #1)
 
5.0
"RAYBEARER is a lush and imaginative YA fantasy that had me captivated from the start. The book follows Tarisai, who..."