Word Spelunking

The Stars Fell Sideways - Cassandra Marshall THREE WORDS: Fresh, Fun, Steampunkasy...(why yes, I did mix “steampunk” and “fantasy” to make up a new word!)MY REVIEW: Cassandra Marshall's The Stars Fell Sideways took me on a fun, unexpected journey into the world of Atlantis. An Atlantean world that Marshall has infused with refreshing originality and totally made her own!When teenager stunt gal extraordinaire Alison Arroway heads to Portugal to work on a movie as the stunt double for famous teen actress Pomegranate she's excited for the stunts, to maybe spend time with heart-throb Eric, and to see the sights. She's less thrilled about spending time with spoiled, nasty Pom. But when Eric invites Alison and Pom on a boat cruise and the boat wrecks during a storm and Eric goes missing, Alison and Pom end up stranded together on the infamous island of Atlantis. And once the girls are there, the Atlantean people won't let them leave. So the girls are stuck in an old-fashioned world, run by steam-driven machines, but a hostile takeover and rebellion army may be their ticket back home. If they can survive “the stars falling sideways” that is.At a little over 200 pages, The Stars Fell Sideways is a quick, but super fun and cute read. Marshall has weaved an exciting steampunkish fantasy tale full of humor, action, and romance that will appeal to a wide audience.The Atlantean world in The Stars Fell Sideways is an unexpected one, but in a totally good way. Marshall has crafted a refreshingly unique and captivating Atlantis that is more steampunk Victorian England than full on mythical fantasy, but completely charming. The world-building in The Stars Fell Sideways is excellent and the Atlantis Alison and Pom find themselves in has great historical, social, and cultural layers, combining together to create an endlessly fascinating and believable world, that is both delightful and dark. I love the mix of steampunk and fantasy and both elements are used in imaginative and dazzling ways.The journey Alison embarks on in Atlantis is full of thrills, chills, action, twists, turns, and smooches. I had a lot of fun falling into this story, exploring the world of Atlantis with Alison and Pom as they are given jobs, make new friends, and set out to find the legendary Blue Book and learn how to make the stars fall sideways. The romantic elements are really cute and, at times, even unexpectedly and enticingly hot and steamy.Alison is an awesome heroine; from her bad-ass stunt skills to her feisty take charge attitude and wit, she's very amusing and entertaining. I love how she uses movie references to describe her settings and feelings. Pomegranate is, at first, a stereotypically egotistical and mean girl, but she really grew on me with her outrageous observations and laugh-out-loud humor. These two girls make an odd, quirky pair, but their eventual friendship is sweet and cute.The book ends on a satisfying note, but definitely left me wanting more and I really hope there's a sequel!MY FINAL THOUGHTS: The Stars Fell Sideways sparkles with fun originality. Marshall weaves an exciting tale with a fresh take on Atlantis and an awesome mix of steampunk and fantasy. I greatly enjoyed this book and think other YA fans will too. I definitely recommend it!

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