I’ve been sitting here, going on five minutes now, trying to write this review. And it sucks—the nonwriting, that is—because there is so much to say about this book. Somehow, though, I’m not sure it’ll get across how much I truly loved it.
Here’s the thing about Trish Doller’s Where the Stars Still Shine (available Sept. 24, 2013): It simultaneously rips your heart out and puts it back together. I meant that, too. There’s no heart-wrenching beginning with a happy end. It’s all woven together—blips of Callie’s past here, flashbacks to a childhood trauma there, and the intersection of her past and future. It’s so well done that even though the book touches on some heavy topics, I couldn’t help smiling by the end.
I loved Callie’s transformation, her slow progression toward independence. I loved the romance—with her father’s new wife’s brother (twist your head around that), who seems so wrong for her and ends up being so perfectly right. But most of all I loved her father Greg.
Doller could have written Greg so many ways, could have used him to create more trauma or pain in Callie’s life. Instead, she gave Callie one of the kindest, most loving fathers I’ve ever read in YA. Greg’s in pain after his daughter is kidnapped from him, he’s elated to have her return, and he’s torn when she’s closed off. He’s always there, always chipping away at her.
If scenes of Callie’s past broke my heart, scenes with her and her father put it back together. I’m usually all for the kissing in books, but in this one I found myself longing for those moments between Callie and her dad instead.
Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that the ending was completely satisfying without feeling like Doller tidied it up with a nice bow just to have a happy ending. If you liked Doller’s debut Something Like Normal, you’ll like this book. I really enjoyed that novel, but I liked this one better.
Here’s what the other Bookanistas are reviewing today:
Carolina Valdez Miller celebrates 17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma
Carrie Harris awakens you to Insomnia by Jenn Johansson…with giveaway
Christine Fonseca praises The Pledge by Kimberly Derting
Corrine Jackson is wild for When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
Elana Johnson invites you to her Abandon release par-tay!
Katy Upperman is bewitched by Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Lenore Appelhans swoons for Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood…with an annotated snippet
Stasia Ward Kehoe is wild for The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Tracy Banghart raves over Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe
Remember, today is the last day you can enter the Bookanistas’ giveaway of awesome. The raffle ends at midnight, so hurry and ENTER HERE!
Where the Stars Still Shine got me in the mood for some great YA parents. Which do you love?*
*The parents that come to mind most quickly are Lola’s dads in Lola and the Boy Next Door and the parents in Easy A, which obviously doesn’t count since that’s a movie.