Rating: Cannot Recommend
Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Rhonda Stapleton
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Felicity Walker didn’t know what she was expecting when she got a job at a matchmaking agency, but it wasn’t that she would become an actual cupid. Armed with a hot pink PDA, she’s given a quota of matches to complete and set loose on her high school. When she decides that two people would make a good couple, all she has to do is send matching emails and both fall under a love spell for two weeks. Throughout the three books, Stupid Cupid, Flirting with Disaster, and Pucker Up (combined as one in Struck), Felicity struggles with making matches that will last past the spell, while also juggling her own relationships with her friends and her crush, Derek. But Felicity has never been one to follow instructions, so she bends the rules here and there. She matches her friend Maya to three different boys with disastrous results, then accidentally matches everyone (including the teachers) to Derek, leading to a massive schoolwide infatuation. Despite this, she and Derek start dating and she discovers he is a cupid as well. Their relationships has some missteps, but they are still going strong in the end. After everything Felicity decides to hang up her PDA and call it quits as a cupid, saying she just wasn’t meant to be a matchmaker.
While the plot of Struck had the capacity to be interesting, the execution unfortunately falls flat. This trilogy was intended to be YA fiction, and the subject matter supports that. There is some mild swearing, drinking and smoking, and the series also has sexual themes. However, the book reads like it’s written for a much younger audience. Felicity definitely doesn’t seem like she’s as old as 17, as her mentality seems more on par with a 13 year old. The way she and her friends deal with relationships, love, and family problems doesn’t feel like it really reflects the maturity they should be showing at their ages. For example, when Felicity’s friend Maya’s father decides to divorce her mother, their grand plan to fix the problem is to give Maya’s mother a makeover to reignite their romance. In addition, the characterization in Struck is barely skin deep. Felicity is hardly more than a stereotype of an egotistical teenage girl, and none of the characters are focused on long enough to develop in any meaningful way. The book lightly touches on some issues, but frustratingly does not follow through on exploring them in any fulfilling way. When Felicity matches her friend Andy, Andy decides to give her virginity to her match. Felicity briefly thinks about the morality of this choice, since Andy is currently under the effects of a love spell, but it’s never actually fully addressed. The story continues on as if nothing had ever happened, and it treats several problems this same way. Ultimately, Struck could have been a good story, but didn’t live up to its potential.
*Contains sexual content, light language, and alcohol use.