Monday, September 23, 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine

WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE
Trish Doller
Contemporary Young Adult
308 pages
Bloomsbury Childrens
Available September 24th
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (From Goodreads)
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.

MY THOUGHTS
Where the Stars Still Shine is a story perfect for those who love seeing real life flash before their eyes as the chapters fly by; pain, joy, heartache, love and all the light and darkness that accompanies them bleeding from the pages, dripping and then coalescing into words that stay with us long after the covers are closed. Our time with Callie is brief in the grand scheme of her life as a whole, but that only makes each moment spent with her more precious, our connection to her increasing in intensity as she struggles with the sudden change in her definition of home.

Callie is a beautifully realistic young woman, utterly devoted to a mother who quite frankly is undeserving of her daughter’s unwavering support, and understandably wary about a father she doesn’t know making a play for a piece of her heart. She makes a few poor and sometimes incredibly frustrating choices, but they are choices borne of the life she’s been forced to live up until that point, and while we want to simply wrap our arms around her and tell her she’s worth more, we know the only way she’ll ever believe her life can be different is to figure it out for herself. With the poor choices however, she also makes some incredibly brave ones, valiantly fighting the battle raging between memories of the mother she’s loved unconditionally all her life and the less flattering reality freedom from her rose-tinted glasses shows her.

It’s a pleasure then to follow Callie as she slowly dares to believe that the love and affection showered on her by her new and boisterous Greek family is a constant; something she can keep and treasure and not be forced to set aside in favor of her mother’s whims. While her life doesn’t suddenly turn beautiful and perfect and full to bursting with magical solutions to all her problems, we’re left with the weighty promise of hope, something largely absent from her life when she and her mother were transient. Overall, Where the Stars Still Shine is quiet but engaging, painful but rich in laughter and love, and bittersweet but joyful all at the same time, expertly capturing a life and all its many facets and giving us a fleeting glimpse of them before we’re left to our own imaginations to figure out what's next for Callie.

Rating: 4/5
 

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This book was sent to me free of charge by the publisher for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

49 comments:

  1. Loved this book so much!!! Callie was such a heartbreaking character and I loved seeing her finally realizing that there are people who love her.
    I especially also loved her Dad! I guess I shed a fee tears over this book!

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    1. YES! Same here Danny! She did some things that frustrated me, but I could understand why she did them.

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  2. This story appears to be a wonderful trip. Fantastic review Jenny! I love you last long sentence that encompasses all the paradoxes of emotions and beauty constituting in this book sharing hope.

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    1. Thanks so much Rachel! I really enjoyed this one:)

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  3. I am dying to read this book. I have heard so many amazing things about Trish Doller and I can't wait to get my hands on this one. I am glad to see that you enjoyed it. Callie sounds like she's been through a lot. I feel like she's going to break my heart.

    Thanks for the review Jenni!

    ~Sara @ Just Another Story

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    1. Callie definitely has been through a lot, I just wanted to hug her. She wasn't always easy to like, but I don't know that I would be either if I lived the life she did. She grew throughout though and I was a big fan of her overall.

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  4. I enjoyed this book too, but not as much as you did. I didn't connect with Callie and some of her choices really bother me, but I loved the father-daughter relation. It was the best I've read in a YA so far. Lovely review, Jenny!

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    1. Some of her choices bothered me as well, but I guess they made sense to me in the context of her life. Doesn't mean I didn't want to shake her, but I really liked her overall. And yes to her relationship with her dad!

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  5. I really need to read this one. I have heard some really good things about it and when I see you enjoyed it too then it's a must read. I'm glad that finally parent-daughter relationship is done well. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. I adored the family aspect of this one Tanja, it was a highlight for sure. Such a great read I thought!

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  6. I love how this seems to engage so many emotions In one book just as The Sea of Tranquility did for instance. I don't think much of Callie's mother and I'm pretty sure I'd dislike her while I was reading this book. I learned from Rachel's review that the romance is to die for in this one and I cant wait to get all the feels :)

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    1. I still need to read Sea of Tranquility! Dammit. So many good books out there:) I hope you enjoy this one as I did Siiri!

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  7. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I loved the raw emotion in this novel and Callie's journey was so gripping and realistic. I can't wait for what Doller writes next!(:

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    1. YAY! I'm happy to hear you loved it as well! Definitely need to read more from Trish:)

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  8. Oh, I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed this one, Jenny! I read a review from Ginger a while back, and she was singing its praises. You know me though - ever the skeptic. I'll definitely have to give it a go though if it's truly as emotional and true as you mention. Lovely review, doll!

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    1. I really enjoyed this one Melissa, I'll be interested to see what you think! You know contemporary YA isn't always my genre, but this one I just devoured.

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  9. This sounds really good but kind of sad -- parental kidnapping is a very real thing and tragic for the kid and the family. At least, when Callie's recovered, she has a loving family to return to and to shower her with the love she deserves!

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    1. It was very sad and hard to understand how a mother could subject her child to the life Callie's subjected to. I could have just pounced on her dad though, he tries so hard and is so darn cute:)

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  10. I need to read this one! I just read another glowing review on another blog and it seems to me that people have mostly good things to say about this one. I need to get my hands on it soon!

    Btw - I was on a little blog break so only saw your vacation pics now - OMG! That looks like an awesome time! :)

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    1. I hope you like it Leanna! And thanks for the compliments on the pictures, the trip was amazing. I wish I could do it all over again!

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  11. This sounds incredibly powerful. Beautiful and insightful review as usual.

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    1. Thank you Pam, I thought this was a great read:)

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  12. I have this one coming up to read and after reading your review I am excited about starting it. I was a little leery in the first place that I would love this but I think I can rest assured that I will. ;)
    Great review!

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    1. Ooooo yay! So excited to read your thoughts on it Ali:)

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  13. I think that I will enjoy this book very much once I get a chance to read it. Issue books that are dark and emotional I get addicted to fast.

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  14. This one sounds intriguing--and nice that the parents are, in fact, involved (though the mother sounds...uh...troubled).

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    1. Her mother is a piece of work for sure. But I love her dad and his whole family, they are amazing.

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  15. Awesome review. Callie sounds like someone I would definitely like to meet. Adding this to my list now.

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  16. This sounds powerful and intense and Callie sounds so fleshed out. What a beautiful review and I love how fast paced it sounds.

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    1. My heart definitely hurt for Callie Kim, it was hard to see her make some of the choices she does, but it's a story full of hope too:)

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  17. Oh, dear. I generally avoid contemporary and I especially avoid stories that are too realistic and hit too close to home, but Keertana has already convinced me to order this one with her gorgeous review, and now you just confirmed that I made the right choice. I can't wait to get my hands on this one, it sounds absolutely captivating, warm and just lovely.
    Fabulous review, Jenny!

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    1. Can't wait to hear what you think Maja, I'm glad Keertana and I could get this one on your must-have list:)

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  18. I am back you are back... it is all good! Glad you had a fantastic trip and that all is well. I have heard some amazing things about this author and though I am shying away from contemporary these days because I am tired of all the drama, this is one I think I would very much like to read!

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  19. I don't mind that it has RL problems. I do like that provided there is some sort of HEA at the end. We aren't guaranteed an HEA IRL so I want one in my stories! It looks like there is hope so, I count that as an HEA! Sounds fab!!

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  20. This one sounds fantastic! I read her other book that I really loved so this one has been on my radar. I'm happy to hear that it really is great!

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  21. I'm on a good realistic fiction kick so I'm sure I'm going to love this one. I was really excited when I talk to the publisher at ALA. It sounds uplifting despite the sad topics. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

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  22. Two blogs back to back almost have me wanting to read an NA book. I think I will put it on my Christmas list and leave it up to the Christmas elves to decide LOL

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  23. Lovely review, Jenny! My review for this posts tomorrow and I had a very similar reaction to it as well.
    I thought Callie was a beautifully written character. I completely agree with you. Some of the choices that she made were frustrating for the reader, but I liked the fact that she made those choices because it went with her upbringing. I loved Callie's family (except for her sorry excuse of a mother)! I'm a huge fan of big families, so I loved that about this.
    I'm happy to hear you enjoyed this! :)

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  24. Oooh...this sounds great. I'm intrigued by the boisterous Greek family. And that her life doesn't immediately become wonderful but has more hope.

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  25. Lovely review, Jenny! I enjoyed this one too, even though I was left with my imagination to guess/hope how things turned out for Callie. I did say something on Twitter about wishing for a novella or short story giving us more from Callie and Alex and Trish Doller responded saying there's a possibility she would do that! Yay, right?!! Gotta have my HEA!! :)

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  26. This story seems totally in my wheelhouse. Will check it out!

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  27. Sounds good but for me I think I might find it heartbreaking. Great review as always darling.

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  28. I've had this book on my kindle for weeks - maybe months - and I'm finally reading it on release day. I don't know why it scared me so much. But so far I'm loving it! I'll be back to check this out when I'm done. But I'm happy to see from your rating that you enjoyed this one overall!

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  29. Great review! I have had this book on my radar for awhile now and after reading your review, I will have to get my hands on a copy. Callie seems like an intriguing character and this book seems very emotional -- in the best way possible! I have her other book, Something Like Normal, to read as well. Hopefully I will get around to it this fall. Have your read that one?

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  30. I've seen a lot of reviews for Where the Stars Still Shine lately, so naturally once I'd seen that you also reviewed it, I had to check it out. I do like the idea of Callie struggling with her definition of home; that's a character plot arc that I've read about in a bunch of contemporary YA, but it sounds like WtSSS does a particularly good job exploring that.

    I imagine in Callie's situation, it's impossible not to make a few poor or frustrating choices. It's nice that she gets to eventually figure her life out for herself - she already sounds very brave for staying strong during that battle. Wondering what her mom was, what her time with her mom meant. This reminds me a little of that Lisa McMann book, and I think more recently another one was Pretty Girl-13, but it sounds like they all take slightly different approaches to this problem.

    I like that her life doesn't turn out to be perfect or all magical - that seems to add a bit of realism, and ending in hope - leaving a very open ending - I love that. I love getting to choose what happens to the characters for ourselves. This one sounds very beautiful.

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