Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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.
I feel like such a black sheep right now, I don’t even feel like a sheep. Yeah, that’s one way to describe what I’m feeling this second. I was so so ready for this amazing, coming of age novel to wipe me off my feet but instead, I’m standing here awkwardly wondering what the hell happened. I’ve reluctantly concluded that this is an “it’s me not you” situation.
Either way, when she’s ready to go, there is no arguing. There is only leaving.
In her early years, Callie was taken away from her large and loving family by her mother. They have been on the run ever since. However after an encounter with a policeman, Callie’s mother is arrested for kidnapping her. Finally back with the family and home she’s completely forgotten, Callie begins to slip herself back into society with plentiful supply of food and clothing- things that were scarce once before. In Trish Doller’s latest, Where The Stars Still Shine explores family, friendships and true love themes through a teenage girl trying to adjust in her new and better life.
The two main points that let this novel down for me was the characters and romance which also happen to be the two main things I care about in a contemporary read. Let’s talk about the characters first. I undoubtedly believed that I would connect with Callie effortlessly; her traumatising past being abused and ignored made me feel rather awful. Howbeit, Trish Doller did not do a convincing job at creating an empathetically-worthy character. I found myself having urges to scream at Callie for her views on people and even gender, and her poor decisions. Moreover, Callie’s best friend (also cousin), Kat was really excitable in the sense that she got really dramatic and also very sensitive. Callie’s first few pieces of dialogue with Kat on their first encounter already made her sob. So yeah, I just can’t with Kat despite her good intentions towards Callie and motive to help Callie fit in. Another unexpected issue for me was Callie’s parents. We have the selfish, absolutely out-of-her-mind mother who kidnaps her own child for nothing reasonable or solidly true. Then, there’s Callie’s father who doesn’t give two thoughts about Callie’s education. Good parents would never just let their child not go to school- also taking into account that Callie has only ever gone to kindergarten. In real life, school is something compulsory to every child and teen, so when on earth could Callie just nag her way out of it? Not. Cool.
The romance in this novel was dealt with poorly. I am not really a fan of love interests that seem to take all the worry away and be the solution to every problem. While Alex wasn’t really a love interest that took all the worry away, I still felt that it hinted it throughout the novel. I might be wrong but I’m quite sure Callie hooks up with Alex after just knowing him for less than a day, and for me, I was not comprehending Callie’s logic as I was already so quickly, becoming detached from the story. I do now, see that Callie was sexually abused at a young age and believed that all men wanted to have sex however the amount of times she puts forth this prejudice towards men just made me become exhaustively sick of it.
To be utterly honest, there wasn’t much I actually enjoyed in Where The Stars Still Shine. While I appreciated Trish Doller’s attempt of a coming of age novel about a completely messed up girl, I did not find myself able to resonate with any of the characters or the relationships made or rekindled. Nevertheless, I still feel the need to say that readers still should try this for I seem to be the odd one out about this book.
~Thank you Bloomsbury Australia for sending me this copy!~
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