Review: When Stars Collide

Review: When Stars CollideWhen Stars Collide (Chicago Stars, #9) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Series: Chicago Stars #9
Published by William Morrow on June 29, 2021
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 384

FINAL DECISION: “WHEN STARS COLLIDE” is a delightfully fun, well-crafted book that shines with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ signature wit and wonderfully resonant characters that I just loved.

STORY: Thaddeus Walker Bowman Owens, a backup quarterback for the Chicago Stars, and Olivia Shore, an international opera diva, end up traveling together on a nationwide tour promoting a luxury watch brand. Neither is happy about the team-up. Quickly there is something between them that develops as Olivia’s journey is complicated by threatening letters, haunting photographs, and dangerous encounters with an unknown villain. These two talented, passionate, and ambitious stars have a friendship but also some intensity between them. As both are devoted to their careers, there seems to be no future, and yet there is such desire and yearning between them.

OPINION: This sparkling gem of a novel is Susan Elizabeth Phillips at her finest. Infused with her trademark humor and wit, WHEN STARS COLLIDE is a hugely entertaining read that had me hooked from page one. As expected with Phillips’ books, the characters leap off the page. Backup quarterback Thad and opera superstar Olivia feel like people you’d love to be friends with in real life – despite their fame, they are down-to-earth and handle their conflicts in refreshingly adult ways.

The banter between them gave me life – their chemistry sings from their very first meet-cute. As they navigate their nationwide tour and subsequent safety issues, their connection deepens into a supportive partnership. Phillips perfectly balances drama, humor, mystery and romance in a “beach read” that was impossible for me to put down.

After being in a reading slump myself, the sheer joy and smile-inducing fun of WHEN STARS COLLIDE was exactly what I needed. Phillips’ distinctive humor shines here, with plenty of goofy and even madcap situations. But beneath it lies two characters written with heart and depth. I adored watching Thad and Olivia realize how much alike they are despite first impressions, finding common ground as ambitious, passionate artists. This book left me grinning from ear to ear. I somehow missed it upon release but am elated to have found this gem.

WORTH MENTIONING: While not necessary to read the other Chicago Stars books to enjoy this one, readers of the series will get some great cameos from characters in the series. Nothing intrusive, but the book seamlessly roots itself in the Chicago Stars universe.

CONNECTED BOOKS: WHEN STARS COLLIDE is the ninth book in the Chicago Stars series. This book, however, can easily be read as a standalone. While there are a few cameos from characters in previous books, nothing is really missed by starting here instead of reading the previous books (although they are great and highly recommended).

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.


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