Author: Trish Doller
Published: September 23, 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
POV: 1st person
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
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.
If there's one thing Callie has learned from her mother, it's how to run – and Callie is always running away from her problems. She can pack a suitcase in an amazingly short amount of time, and knows exactly what it takes to live on the move. But after her mother is arrested and Callie is sent to live with her father, running becomes a bit more complicated. With family, friends, and even a little romance in the works, leaving doesn't seem – or even feel – like an option. But, everyone has their demons, and Callie's mother won't be incarcerated for long...once she's out and Callie turns eighteen, Callie will have to decide where she truly belongs.
Doller amazed me with her debut, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, and succeeds in matching that excellency with her sophomore novel. WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE is intense on an emotional level, highlighting the awkward, heartbreaking, and adorable moments that are present in various relationships. The familial aspect is both saddening and heartwarming. The relationship between Callie and her mother is possessive and not quite what it should be. Her mother loves her, that much is obvious, but her actions do not always agree with that sentiment. But it's the slower relationships Callie forms in her new (and old) home that make the strongest impression. Family, romance, and friendship, it's highly enjoyable to watch Callie grow and heal from her past experiences. An incredibly touching and well-rounded story, WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE should be on the top of your to-read list.
Highlights: Family and friendship take center stage in this story. Doller gives readers an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the effects sexual abuse can have on a person. The romance was sweet and enjoyably slow to form. I enjoy how the story leaves that relationship in unclear, fuzzy place, but there is still some hope. And the characters were fantastic (Alex, Kat, Greg, Phoebe, Tucker, Joe, and so on). None are of them perfect, and they all make a strong, realistic impression. Humorous, heartwarming, and intensely emotional, this story has it all.
Lowlights: *struggles* Any issues I had were small enough that I did not bother to write them down while reading.
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf. I love WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE, so it is going on the top shelves in the royal library where everyone can see it. I'd highly recommend this book, because it is an incredibly moving story.