Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA
Also by this author: Something Like Normal, Made You Up, The Devil You Know
Source: For Review
I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!
Callie has been on the run with her mom for ten years when her mom picked up and left her dad. She doesn’t remember much of her dad and only knows what her mom tells her. Life with her mom hasn’t been at all normal — she never went to a real school, she wanders around whenever she wants, she takes care of herself and she and her mom pick up and leave whenever things go south with one of her mom’s men. When they hit the road again, this time Callie’s mom is arrested for her kidnapping and Callie is sent to live with her dad and his new family. Callie is thrust back into this town she doesn’t remember, a dad she barely knows and a big Greek family she never got to know and she struggles to fit into it all, have a relationship with her dad and let herself love.
I read Where The Stars Still Shine in August and I’ve really struggled to put pen to paper when it comes to this story because it was literally flawless for me. You know I loved Something Like Normal when I read it back in February and I declared Trish Doller a new favorite contemporary author based on that book alone and Where the Stars Still Shine really solidifies that for me. Trish deserves more recognition and if you EVER listen to me when it comes to a great contemporary YA book…PLEASE let it be this one! PLEAAASE!
I knew I was in trouble immediately when early on I started to cry and my emotions didn’t stop there. I kept crying so much that I had to keep dunking myself underwater at the pool so nobody could notice all the tears streaming down my face. Callie’s life is ROUGH and you learn early on that her mom’s irresponsibility and flighty behavior has really affected her. It was so hard to read about her life and everything she’s had to go through and all the things her mom said about her dad. The most EMOTIONAL part for me was definitely when she was reunited with her father and then all the triumphs and missteps in them trying to have a relationship.
The biggest part of the book for me, even though the romance was quite lovely, is all about family. We see Callie’s relationship with her mom at first and her mom is someone you want to hate for everything she’s put Callie through — the lies, choosing men over her and just being altogether irresponsible. Callie’s dad? One of my new favorite parents in YA! There were so many touching moments that included him and I definitely cried a lot on his behalf also. It was so emotional and the way Trish wrote him really made you love him.
Aside from him there was Callie’s cousin and her huge Greek family and I just really began to love these characters so much and wanted Callie to feel accepted and like she was a part of this family. The family aspect of this novel was written perfectly as Trish really contrasts Callie’s life with her mom with this new family. It’s SO easy to see where Callie struggles but as a reader you just want her so badly to accept their love even though you UNDERSTAND her issues.
Callie is a memorable character that I just wanted to hug. I loved her relationships with so many people in this novel — familial and romance. I felt her journey and growth was admirable and I didn’t want the pages to end at all. I wanted to be sure she would be ok because that girl has been through a lot. Her whole journey from the time she set foot in the car with her dad felt believable and I could GET why she had a hard time feeling like she fit into this new life with her dad and his new family after ten years of being with her mom.
Everything about this book was flawless for me. I literally can’t think of one thing about it that could have been better. Trish Doller wrote a story that made my heart explode into pieces so small they shouldn’t have been able to been able to be put back together — but somehow she managed to put them back together with a moving story of family, second chances, love and facing your future despite your past. If you like amazing character development that feels incredibly real and makes you feel emotions so fiercely, pick this book up. The plot was immediately interesting to me and the characters just took it and ran and I didn’t want to pull myself out of the story because I was so immersed in it. Such a COMPLETE story that reminds me of why I love reading!
Let’s Talk: Have you read Where the Stars Still Shine? Heard of it? What did you think of it if you’ve read it? Agree/disagree with me?