Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller @TrishDoller

Where the Stars Still ShineWhere the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Page Count: 308
Published by: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Source: I received this eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Synopsis 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.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

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I loved this book so much, and for so many reasons. The beautiful writing, complex characters, wonderful character development, the setting, and the story. It all came together in an amazing way to make this a very enjoyable read.

The protagonist, Callie, constantly makes bad decisions, makes assumptions, and has communications problems. I wasn't sure about her at first, but the more I read, the more she grew on me. She was strong and independent to a fault, all because she basically raised herself. She also has trust issues that interferes with her ability to form healthy relationships. But Doller manages to write Callie in such a way that the reader can understand what motivates her to make bad choices. Callie's thoughts and feelings were expressed with such honesty that it was easy to feel sympathy for her. It was wonderful to really see Callie's maturity and growth over the course of the story, and to see her change for the better.

Callie's love interest, Alex, I thought would be just another heartbreak for her. But he turned out to be so much more than I originally thought, and I ended up really loving him. Not just because he was swoonworthy, but because he proved himself to be a wonderful friend to Callie. Alex has problems of his own, and secrets that he doesn't want to share, and he never seemed to want to correct the town's misconceptions about him. But he let himself get close to Callie and was able to really open up to her.

This book has so many wonderfully believable and complex characters. I really enjoyed the excellent character development, both for the main characters and even the secondary characters. Callie's grandmother was so loving and awesome. Callie's cousin, Kat, was so sweet and such a great friend to Callie. I loved Callie's dad. He was caring and thoughtful and tried so hard to connect with her while still giving her the space he thought she needed. Her step-mom was likable, and I was happy to see her trying to work things out with Callie, even though it was awkward. And when things weren't getting easier, she was still willing to try and make things better for Callie, and I think that made a real difference. Callie and her half-brothers were too cute when they were together. They were so young they accepted Callie easily and without judgement, which she really needed. I really wanted Callie to learn how to fit in with her new family, and I thought it was realistic how difficult it was for her.

I really enjoyed reading Where the Stars Still Shine, and I have nothing but good thoughts about it. It is a complex story about love, family, and relationships that also touches on a lot of difficult subjects. I highly recommend this book, and I think it's perfect for fans of more mature contemporary YA.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
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  1. I loved her first novel and I can't wait to read this one.
    Great review.

    Glass @ Way Too Hot Books


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