Skip to main content

Where the Stars Still Shine

Trish Doller writes books that tackle tough subjects. This makes them not easy to read, but she writes the stories with such heart and passion it is worth it. Where the Stars Still Shine is one of the hardest books I've read in a long while.

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love—even with someone who seems an improbable choice—is more than just a possibility.

Callie does not know what it is like to have a  normal life. Her life has been her mother, moving every few months, and learning to dodge the men in her mother's life (one molested her at the age of 8). She hasn't been to school since Kindergarten. She spends time in libraries reading. She has found boys willing to hook up with her, but has never had a relationship. Or a friend. From this life she is yanked and dropped into a world where she has a dad who loves her, a Greek family and community she is a part of, and a friend. She has no idea how to cope. Nothing in her life is ever permanent and she's determined this won't be either. It's heart breaking to read about. I did skip some sections of the book (the ones where she referenced her abuse-because I just can't read about that). Not that any of it was gratuitously nasty or intentionally provocative. I liked the way Doller handled this storyline. (I have simply heard too many real life accounts of this that I can't read about it any book.) The way Callie lives her life and the choices she makes largely come from her inability to trust people or cope with her past.

There is a boy in the book. A hot Greek boy that works on a boat. However, as wonderful of Alex is he can't rescue Callie completely from the horrors of her past and Doller didn't let him. He has issues of his own and isn't always a nice guy. Which makes him so real. One strength with both of Doller's novels so far has been how REAL she makes her characters. I appreciated how there were a lot of forces at work on Callie's life and it this is not a story about romance. This is a story about Callie and it all plays a part. Alex, her new-found family, her complicated feelings toward her mother, they all shape her. I also enjoyed the friendship that grew between Callie and Kat. Kat is also very real and with her share of faults. She can be insensitive and unthinking toward Callie, but she is also something Callie needed, an actual girlfriend. Doller has a knack, like Melina Marchetta, for taking characters who start in a very dark place and bringing them to a better place where they can find healing.Not a perfect place, because there is no such thing, but one withe hope for the future.

This book is not for the faint of heart, but those brave enough to read it will find a beautiful, real story.

I read an e-galley provided by the publisher, Bloomsbury USA, via NetGalley. Where the Stars Still Shine is on sale September 24.


Anonymous said…
Wowza, right up there with Melina Marchetta, huh? I definitely should read this as soon as I can.
Brandy said…
Yes. Yes. Yes. It packs a punch though.

Popular posts from this blog

TTT: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly themed blog hop created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl.

This Week's Topic: Most Recent Additions to My TBR List

From Most Recent to Least:

What books have recently caught your eye?

Future Favorite Friday: June 2018

I take the 2nd Friday of every month to highlight some upcoming releases I am looking forward to that I hope are Future Favorites. Feel free to do your own post, just please link back to my blog and tell me about your post in the comments.

Two Naomis was one of my favorite reads of 2016 so I was understandably excited it's getting a sequel. 

In this sequel to Two Naomis, now that Naomi Marie’s mom and Naomi E.’s dad are married, the girls have learned to do a lot of things together, like All-Family Sunday dinners, sixth-grade homework, navigating the subway system by themselves, and visiting their favorite bakeries. Until sixth grade in a new school presents a whole new set of surprises and challenges.

Trusting her gut has worked for Naomi E. all her life, and she figures that it will be an asset to her role as a Peer Mediator—until she realizes how much of the job requires the Art of Compromise, which she’s only just starting to get used to at home.

Naomi Marie is excited about maki…

Shorter Musings YA Realistic

Here are some shorter musings on some recent YA realistic fiction reads.

American Pandaby Gloria Chao
I bumped this up my TBR list after seeing several really favorable reviews for it in a row. I'm so glad I did. This is an excellent story of the child of immigrants trying to find her place in the world. Mei struggles with how to be herself and the perfect, obedient daughter her parents expect her to be. They have already officially disowned her brother. Mei's journey is one of self-discovery, which is interesting since it is advertised as more fluffy and more of a romance that it truly is. (There is a romance, but it is definitely not the central relationship in the book.) I really loved how much this story was about Mei's relationship with her mom and the complications of relating to each other.

Fame, Fate, and the First Kissby Kasie West
I enjoyed this as the quick, fluffy read it is intended to be. Kasie West is the ultimate at YA romance that is perfect for any age YA re…

Lovely War

When I first heard about Lovely War by Julie Berry, I remember thinking, "Whoa, that's ambitious." And it is. The scope and depth of this story with all of its intricacies and thematic elements is massive. Berry manages to hold it all together beautifully. She managed it so beautifully that it is so far my favorite YA read of 2019.

The ecstasies and the wounds of love were Aphrodite's work. Forging passions was what she was born to do. She, too, was a welder, a mistress of fire of a different sort, working in materials more powerful and resistant than carbon and iron. And what did that toil do to her?

In 1942 New York City while men are partying on the eve of shipping off to war, a stunning couple arrives at a hotel in the midst of the revelry and departs for their room followed by an overly enthusiastic bellboy. But none of these figures are as they appear. The couple is Aphrodite and Ares on a secret assignation that turns out to be not so secret as the bellboy is Ap…

2019 Favorites So Far...

Who can believe we are halfway through 2019 already??? It's certainly hard for me. (Also, where did my summer go?) are my favorite reads of the year this year so far. I'm featuring my 10 Favorites overall and then 5 from each age category I read. It will be interesting to see which of these will make it all the way to the December 31 list!

Top 10 So Far:

 Top 5 MG:

Top 5 YA:

Top 5 Adult: