The middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!
Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly—literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly humdrum life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of.
WINNER ~ Book Buyer’s Best Award
WINNER ~ International Digital Awards
WINNER ~ “I Heart Indie” Award
WINNER ~ National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award
2nd Place ~ Readers Choice Heart of Excellence Award
FINALIST ~ The Wishing Shelf Book Awards (UK)
What readers are saying:
“Hiatt puts a fresh twist into this fun tale of a nerdy teen’s life becoming an amazing adventure. Starstruck sparkles!” ~ 4-time RITA award winner Justine Davis
“STARSTRUCK had me starstruck from beginning to end! A totally fun, unique take on science fiction and paranormal–with a whole lot of romance thrown in.” ~Colleen Gleason, New York Times bestselling author of the Stoker & Holmes series
“Readers who enjoy suspenseful fantasy and coming-of-age stories are sure to enjoy Starstruck. The author indicates that this is the first in a new series, and I, for one, hope that there are many more novels to come.” ~Long and Short Reviews
“I highly recommend Starstruck to fans of YA paranormal romance! I can’t wait to see what Hiatt has in store for us in future books!” ~Feed Your Fiction Addiction
“A brilliant introduction to the series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next instalment.” ~Pure Jonel, Confessions of a Bibliophile reviews
“Seriously, I haven’t been this drawn into a teen romance since reading Twilight obsessively for five hours in a row.” ~M. Kircher, Goodreads reviewer
“Brenda Hiatt’s, Starstruck, Series and Book 1, is a hit! This Teen/Paranormal/Science Fiction storyline is original, creative and out of this world.” ~Lisa B, Amazon reviewer
“Wow! Just wow! It took me all of 2 and a half days to read this book, because I NEEDED to know what happened! StarStruck is full of adventure, syfy, romantic wonder, action.” ~Beth Ann, Goodreads reader
“The nerd-girl story turned it on its head in an engaging, delightful way.” ~JJ, Amazon reader
“This is enjoyable for any age from the youngest to the oldest. (I’m in my mid twenties) The writing is great, my mind could easily relate to the characters and their world. I give this one five stars. :-)” ~iBooks reader
“Starstruck is an amazingly fun and quick read that immerses you in a new world that you aren’t ready to leave when it’s over. It fills the void for those of us who miss Harry Potter: a coming of age story for a strange/ nerdy girl who learns that she is incredibly special and there is a whole other world that exists where she really belongs.” ~AKS, Amazon reader
“I picked up the book one evening to read a chapter to relax before going to bed. 5 chapters later, I had to force myself to put it down. The characters are interesting and make the reader willing to invest in getting to know them. The dialogue is crisp and realistic. I loved finding a strong teenage girl as the protagonist. As a teacher, I read a great deal of YA fiction, and I know my 7th, 8th, and 9th grade girls will eat this series up!” ~Becci, Amazon reader
“This book was unexpected,I was definitely shocked when I found out what this book is really about(you have to find out yourself…) This book was also very lovable,funny and interesting,and you can’t help but swoon at the romance in this book-so cute!” ~Karin, Goodreads reader
“STARSTRUCK lives up to the power of its title. Like M, I too was the nerdy girl in a small town school who never quite fit in…Complete with a star quarterback named Rigel and a story of star-crossed lovers, this novel will be a satisfying fantasy read for every “ordinary” girl who, like M, dreams of becoming more. Fans of TWILIGHT and HARRY POTTER may hear faint echoes of their favorite scenes and will find new favorite scenes to join them.” ~Susan, B&N reader
My best friend Bri was in my Honors English next period. So was Rigel. Bri made a beeline for him—not hard to guess why—but I intercepted her.”C’mon, let’s sit by the window.”
“But—” Bri looked over her shoulder toward Rigel with intense interest.
“We’ll be further from the teacher there,” I improvised. Without waiting for her reply, I headed to the opposite side of the room and she reluctantly followed me.
As I sat down, I involuntarily glanced Rigel’s way only to find him frowning in my direction. Frantically, I went back over what I’d just said but I was sure I hadn’t used his name. Unless he could read my mind, I was safe.
I risked another peek and was relieved to see he had turned away, and was now talking to Trina and Nicole Adams, another cheerleader. He was still frowning slightly, but it obviously had nothing to do with me.
“So, what do you think of our hot new quarterback?” were Bri’s predictable next words. “He was in Spanish last period but that humongous flirt, Trina, barely let him look at anyone else—just like now.”
It took a surprising amount of effort, but I managed not to look at him again. “Is that all you and Deb can talk about today?”
Bri shrugged, then grinned. “Can you think of anything more interesting?”
I absolutely couldn’t, but I wasn’t going to admit that. “It’s not like any of us have a shot, with Trina all over him.”
“Yeah, well, a girl can dream.” Bri gave me a sly grin and waggled her eyebrows. “You used to be really good at that.”
“Shh!” I glanced around to make sure no one had heard her. I kept my flights of fancy to myself these days, but I did not want anyone reminded of the ridiculous stuff I’d made up back in elementary school.
Other kids might have had imaginary friends, but I’d invented a whole imaginary life. I’d told everyone in second grade that I was really a Martian princess whose parents would one day fly me back to their beautiful palace in the stars. No doubt it was my way of dealing with the fact I was adopted and knew nothing about my birth parents. I’d told other outlandish stories, too, but that one had been my favorite—and I got teased mercilessly for it.
I did wise up enough to stop talking about it by third grade, but the teasing went on for years. “Marsha the Martian” was a nickname I never wanted to hear again. In fact, it was the main reason I tried to make people call me M instead of Marsha. Bri and Deb cooperated, but nobody else did.
“Okay,” Bri said. “But you’ve obviously noticed him if you want me to shut up so bad.”
“Of course I’ve noticed him,” I whispered. “He sat right in front of me in homeroom. But Trina sat in front of him—Squires, Stuart—so he never even saw me. So I don’t see any point in torturing myself over him.”
Bri looked over at him again and I gave into temptation and risked a brief glance. He wasn’t talking to Trina now. He seemed to be slowly scanning the room, like he was looking for something—or someone. I looked away before he could catch me staring.
I purposely got to my next class late enough that everyone, including Rigel, was seated—only to discover the only empty spot left was at the table in front of him. Trying not to panic, I scanned the room hoping another seat might magically appear, but the class was full. Steeling myself against any kind of reaction, I moved to the empty chair as nonchalantly as I could.
“Hey, Marsh,” Will Chesterton said as I sat next to him. He was shorter than me, and nerdy, but not a bad guy. His main fault was thinking he was way cooler than he actually was.
“Hi, Will. Have a good summer?” I tried hard not to be too obsessed by the fact that Rigel was only three feet from my right elbow. There was no way I actually felt a tingling in that elbow! That was just silly.
“Yeah, we went to Indiana Dunes a couple times and spent a week in Saugatuck,” Will said, and I had to focus to remember why he was telling me this. “How about you?”
I could hear Rigel murmuring something to Trina, but I couldn’t make out the words. “What? Oh, um, we were going to go to Florida for a week, but Uncle Louie couldn’t get off work long enough so we just went to the lake for three days instead.”
Rigel’s voice stopped so abruptly, I wondered if Trina had poked him or something.
Will dragged my attention back from behind me by saying, “Hey, I’m glad you’re gonna be sitting here. You can help me out when we get to the space stuff next semester.”
“Oh, yeah, sure, no problem,” I agreed absently.
Behind me, I heard Trina start to say something, then it sounded like Rigel shushed her. I glanced at the teacher, but he wasn’t looking our way. Huh. I wondered what that was about—and how Trina liked being shushed. It was all I could do not to turn around to see her expression.
I was still trying to think of some totally legit reason to look behind me when Mr. Ferguson started calling the roll. None of the other teachers had bothered. They knew everyone by name already, but this was only Mr. Ferguson’s second year at Jewel. I started doodling in my notebook, since I’d be one of the last people called.
As he made his way through the alphabet, sketches of constellations appeared under my pencil, inspired by Will’s reminder and the star charts above the whiteboard.
Mr. Ferguson was almost done with the roll. “Trina Squires?”
“Here,” she responded.
I braced myself for Rigel’s voice.
It was one word. One word and it still went through me like a rush of adrenaline. What in the world was wrong with me? Even Jimmy Franklin had never affected me like this.
“Marsha Truitt? Are you here?” Mr. Ferguson sounded impatient and I realized I’d missed my own name.
“Oh, um here!” I answered, feeling my cheeks burn.
Then I looked down at my doodling and they burned even hotter. Not only had I drawn the constellation Orion, I’d been drawing circles around Orion’s left foot—the star Rigel. I slammed my notebook shut, hoping no one had noticed.
I peeked sideways at Will, but he was watching the teacher, who had finished roll and was writing on the whiteboard. Slightly reassured, I forced myself to do the same.
It was an intense relief when the bell finally rang for lunch. No matter how I tried, I hadn’t been able to ignore my awareness of Rigel behind me. If anything, it had increased as the class wore on. I was out of my seat before the bell stopped, eager to get away from his disturbing influence. But as I reached the door, I felt my feet slowing, like I wanted him to catch up.
Disgusted at my weakness, I sped up, practically jogging to the cafeteria. Not till I’d gone through the lunch line did I glance back and sure enough, there was Rigel. Trina was right behind him, wearing a smug smile, clearly hoping everyone was noticing who she was with.
With a snort aimed as much at myself as at Trina, I went to an empty table near the windows and deliberately sat with my back to the room. I was opening my juice box when Bri slipped into the seat across from me. “Hey! You’re into window seats today, aren’t you?”
I shrugged. “Sunshine is good for my mood.”
“Can I have your banana?” she asked as Deb joined us with her tray.
“Sure. That’s why I got one.” I never ate bananas, as my friends well knew.
“So, how was—” Bri began, when she was interrupted by a hiss from Deb, who was staring over my shoulder.
I nearly turned, but stopped myself. “What?”
“Don’t look now,” Deb whispered, “but Rigel Stuart is headed Right. Toward. Us.” Beside her, Bri nodded, wide-eyed.
“Stop staring!” I held perfectly still, trying to be inconspicuous.
But then it didn’t matter because he was standing right next to me, his nearness zinging through me again like an electrical current. I swallowed once, convulsively, and looked up past his lean, muscled chest to find him regarding me with those amazing greenish eyes in that impossibly perfect face.
“Marsha, isn’t it?” he said.
Unable to form words, I nodded.
“Hi. I’m Rigel Stuart.”