Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Pages: 308
Keywords: family, coming-of-age, secrets
Format Read: ARC via NetGalley

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.

I had heard excellent things about this over the summer, and saw a lot of hype for it on some blogs I definitely trust to recommend things, so I finally clicked on the title and gave it a go this week. And I'm so glad I did.

The story begins with Callie asleep (or trying to be asleep) on the cheap sofa while her mom brings home a really sketchy dude. Again. So she sneaks out, he comes to find her, her mom gets pissed, and they pack up — again. As they're leaving, a police officer pulls them over and arrests her — FOR KIDNAPPING. This is like the first 20 pages. Holy crap.

So immediately I was like, um WHAT? That's a huge secret that was revealed really quickly, so where is the story going to go next? Her dad has this Airstream camper in the backyard she gets to live in, and she is quickly overwhelmed by a ton of Greek family members ready to throw her back in her old life as quickly as possible. On top of it, she meets this guy that's tan and Greek and gorgeous.

I loved how realistic Callie's personal struggle was — she was constantly torn between her mom and her dad, wanting to have a stable life finally but feeling like she was letting her mom down for settling so quickly. She also battled her own past, hiding some dark secrets from everyone, even her mom, and dealing with those when they are brought to light. Though I was frustrated sometimes (I just wanted to shake her and say, "They love you! Stop being dumb!") I totally understood her confusion and thought that made her much more dynamic of a character.

Another aspect I really admired Doller for tackling was the love-scenario. Most YA kind of accepts that it's going to be a see-them-once-fall-in-love sort of deal. This one was not, but it wasn't like they became best friends first either. It was a very believable, self-driven pursuit, and it was so refreshing to see a female character take charge of what she wanted out of things. So unexpected and delightful.

And on the last note — the cover is so pretty! It fits very well, and I just can't stop looking at it. Though I read this on NetGalley, I really might actually go buy the book because it's so pretty and I want it sitting on my shelf.

Read When: You're looking for a coastal escape but need realistic people and plot lines. Also a good fall book because Christmas happens in there, too. :)

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