Whether the stars dictate every person’s daily actions remains debated. Some people seek out the wisdom from above as their star sign is impacted by the shifting of planets. In turbulent times, it is the stars that shine on the one true path for those here below—but some people take the power of horoscopes as absolute rubbish.
Take the dichotomy of one person acting solely on their horoscopes and the other taking them as broad stroke nonsense, and the plot of one of 2019’s standout debut novels, Star Crossed, begins to unfold.
Justine, Sagittarius and horoscope disbeliever, is an up-and-coming journalist at a prestigious magazine, The Alexandria Park Star. When she has a chance encounter with her childhood best friend Nick, Aquarius and true believer of the stars, Justine’s emotions of a long-lost love rise to the surface as Nick re-enters her life—yet the sentiment does not ring true for him. Through their encounter, Justine learns that Nick lives his life by the wisdom of one astrologer, whose horoscopes happen to be published in the same magazine that Justine edits.
If fate cannot make itself apparent to Nick, maybe it needs a little help from the stars. Besides, if horoscopes are just general pieces of wisdom backed by nothing, what could go wrong when she makes some tweaks to the Aquarius copy before it goes to print? Surely, this will make Nick realize how in love with her he is.
Of course, as all rom-coms require, everything that could go wrong has to. Nick isn’t the only Aquarius who lives in accordance to The Alexandria Park Star’s astrologer. People across their coastal Australian town begin to make life-changing decisions based on Justine’s horoscopes. Together, their ripple effects come back together to impact the lives of both believers and skeptics alike.
Just as the words of the horoscopes impact the readers, author Minnie Darke’s words draw the novel’s readers into a whimsical world of chance encounters, incredible opportunities, and once-in-a-lifetime romances. The sense of whimsy in Star Crossed is enough to make even the greatest horoscope skeptic believe in the power that the words hold.
It is this charming appeal of the world created in Star Crossed that makes Darke’s debut novel clever, witty, and impassioned, just as any satisfying rom com should be. The precise plotting and clever writing make Star Crossed read like a new Netflix special that guarantees to be a binge. Each chapter is told as one full star cycle, making every month feel like one episode as Justine’s changes to the horoscope impacts the cycle. As one sign closes and another one of Justine’s horoscope prints, the page turning pacing of the story begs readers to continue, even as the sun sets and stars may appear in the sky as they binge read the novel.
Does the shifting of planets and moving of stars genuinely determine the trials and triumphs of life? Possibly. But it is the power of the words of their interpretations that have the potential to shape fates, even to the extent of creating a love story that otherwise may never have been.