September 24, 2013

Latest Read: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Here are the basics ...
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Publication date: Sept. 24, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from Alexa (Thanks!)

Summary: 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: What I love about Trish Doller's writing is that she takes real-life situations you've probably never experienced yourself and somehow makes it very real to you. Do I know what it's like to have a mother who's kidnapped me and has been incapable of properly taking care of me my entire life? Or do I have any idea what a childhood would be like without a stable home or a dozen relatives everywhere I turn? The answer to both questions is no. And yet through Doller's capable and evocative writing, I felt as if I knew Callie and understood her.

When Callie's mother's crimes finally catch up to her, Callie is put in her father's custody. A man she hasn't seen in over ten years, in a town she could've grown up in but didn't and goes from a family of two to suddenly having cousins, uncles, brothers and a grandmother. It's overwhelming to say the least. But also heartbreaking because in every new discovery Callie makes about who she is and where she comes from, there's a big "what if?" behind it. She's hyper aware of the life her mother took away from her. I felt wave after wave of sympathy for what she was going through.

I really loved Callie's voice in this book. She's so honest and I think the internal struggles she felt were portrayed very realistically. I liked learning about her past but also watching her begin to embrace this second chance. Yet it also made complete sense to me that she couldn't just turn her back on her mother either. Good or bad, she loves her mom. Love in general is just a huge theme of Where the Stars Still Shine. Self-love, parental/familial love, romantic love. It's all explored so well.

(No) reservations: Same "complaint" I had about Something Like Normal - too short! She just writes her characters so well that I never feel ready to leave them at the end of the book. But that's a good thing!

Do I recommend?: Yes! If you like realistic contemporary YA and reading stories outside the box, definitely check out her books.

Happy reading!

4 comments:

  1. I'm so happy that you loved WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE as much as I did. Callie's story completely fascinated me, even though I haven't shared her experiences in life. Trish has a way of writing amazing characters, and I absolutely agree that I wish this one could have been longer.

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  2. Oh, this sounds like a really interesting read!! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Oh I get more and more excited every time I see that another blogger has loved this book! I can't wait to get my hands on this one (if only my copy would arrive!) so I can finally meet this characters. I was wondering if this one would like it was over too soon (mostly because I just don't want the story to end), so I love that you noted that in your review :)

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  4. I love contemporary novels but the shortness of them (because they're usually stand-alone) makes me sad. I'm a little sad that this book is so amazing but it's too short! I keep reading only amazing things about Where The Stars Still Shine so I really want to read it. Great review, Rachel! :)

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