With Forget the Stars, Kelsey Kingsley delivers a friend to lovers romance filled with strong, memorable characters and a slow burn.
Chad and Molly have been best friends since before they could crawl. They remain best friends until high school, when social pressures and different classes split them up.
Molly is the quiet girl and she struggles a bit with her weight. Chad, in her eyes, was always meant to be the star. He was the popular guy in school and destined to be in a band.
When Chad turns thirty though, his life isn’t where he thought it would be. His girlfriend of eight years doesn’t want to live with him or get married. His health is anything but ideal as he’s always in pain from his “bad gut.”
Meanwhile, Molly’s life is actually pretty good. She’s come out of shell a bit, she’s found a diet and exercise regime that works for her, and she sings at a local restaurant a few nights a week. When Chad’s band needs an opening act to go on tour, Chad turns to Molly.
The book is filled with strong secondary characters, but by far my favorite is Sebastian, one of Chad’s bandmates. He comes close to stealing the show, er book.
The mothers border annoying. At times, they are sweet. But, when Molly and Chad have their first date and they come out into the backyard at 1am, I wanted to scream at them, “They are thirty years old. Leave them the f*ck alone if you want them to get together.”
The southern accents are strong in this book. I’m from the south, and I’m sensitive to a misuse of southern accents. But, Kingsley carries it off. The accents work to build out their personalities and solidly place them in their small hometown.
The Chad deals with IBD and his eventual stay in the hospital is eye-opening and real. When random fans criticize him for his illness, it’s infuriating. One wants to believe no one would ever actually be so cruel, but unfortunately, we all know it’s too true. When fans pick at Molly for her weight, there too, we know that sadly, it’s all too real.
Kingsley artfully shows both sides. Through the story we see that behind a mean person, there is often a person who is hurting or dealing with a lot of pain in his own world.
Molly could be a star on her own merit. After opening for Chad’s band, she has the opportunity. But, it’s not what she loves and she recognizes she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. At thirty, she’s wise for her years.
Overall, it’s a sweet love story about a friendship that ebbs and flows through the years. A love destined in the stars as their mommas liked to say. When Chad finally opens his eyes to Molly, he has no doubt that she’s the one he’ll be with and there’s a sweetness to their love that’s heartwarming and endearing.