By: Melanie | September 23, 2013 | (24) Comments

Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish DollerWhere The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury Australia
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Pages: 308
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!~

1.5 Stars
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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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24 Responses to Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

  1. Annie says:

    I hope I enjoy this one more than you did, I’m just waiting for TBD to deliver it… Hmmm. Yep, hope I like Callie A LOT more!
    Annie recently posted…Book Review: Mephisto Mark by Trinity FaegenMy Profile

  2. Amelia says:

    Fabulous review, Mel! I haven’t heard many negative reviews but I see why this didn’t work for you- I hope when I end up reading it, I’ll connect to Callie more!

  3. Definitely won’t be looking at this one…
    We’re All Mad Here recently posted…Super Six SundayMy Profile

  4. BAHAH I love your opening paragrqph, you’re absolutely hilarious. I’ve seen nothing but positive reviews on this so I’m so sorry that this did not work for you like it did for others. I’m not sure I’ll be trying this is as taste in books is similar to yours. Briliant review Melanie!

  5. Hmmmm you know, yours is the second review I’ve read of this one today, and the other blogger loved this book. Perhaps it’s one of those hit-or-miss titles, you know? I’ll definitely have to read it and decide for myself, but thank you for your honest review, Melanie! 🙂

  6. That is just too bad! I’m sorry you were unable to connect with the characters and their actions, and especially that Alex and Callie together didn’t work for you. I already ordered my copy based mostly on Keertana’s review so I hope I’ll enjoy it at least a little bit more than you did.
    Thank you for your honesty, hon.
    Maja (The Nocturnal Library) recently posted…Manifesto: UF Guest Post by Editor Tim MarquitzMy Profile

  7. We’re review twins! *high five*

    But aw, like I said in my comment on your Midnight Madness Newsletter post, I’m so sad you didn’t like this one much. Though you really shouldn’t feel bad, because everyone’s entitled to their own opinions, and they’re bound to be different. 🙂

    Admittedly, it did take some time for me to connect with Callie completely (not too long, though, probably only a few chapters), but after that, I fell in love with her and with the rest of the characters. I think the reason why she viewed things so differently from what we all expected was because of her upbringing: she was kidnapped at six, and has been living under the bad influence of her mother ever since. Which would explain her and Alex’s relationship, too.

    But about Kat: I didn’t realize it until now, but you’re right. I didn’t find her particularly memorable, since she just seemed to be one of those best friends who’d never leave you no matter how much you trashed them, and she was lacking a bit of depth. But I don’t think that bothered me much because I was so wrapped up with the whole plot, the characters, and the ROMANCE. I really liked the romance. Couldn’t get over it!

    I understand where you’re coming from, though. Hopefully your next read will be much better! Lovely review, Mel. 🙂
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…The Power of Family: Where the Stars Still Shine, Trish DollerMy Profile

  8. I think books like these don’t always need a romance, so that sucks it didn’t work. Looks like it could have been left out. I’m curious about the book, but it’s on my must-read list.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Gift Guide: Random Assortment of U.K. GiftsMy Profile

  9. Sapir says:

    This book sounds a lot like If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch, a book I’ve read earlier this year and really liked. This book does sound good after reading the description and it’s disappointing to hear that it doesn’t worth reading..
    Callie sounds like a poorly-built character. I hate reading books when I want to yell at the characters all the time.. And the romance sounds awful. I HATE insta-love.
    Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!! I am not going to read this book now. ><

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl
    Sapir recently posted…Book Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba BrayMy Profile

  10. Jenni says:

    Oh no! I am so sad to see a negative review of this one, I have only seen glowing reviews so far. But I guess this is good because it will make me reign in my expectations a bit. I’m sorry this one just didn’t work for you, Melanie! I hope your next read is better!
    Jenni recently posted…Book Girls Don’t Cry – Money & BloggingMy Profile

  11. Rachel says:

    Sorry this didn’t work for you, Melanie! It’s really hard to enjoy a book if you don’t connect with the main character. Great honest review! 🙂
    Rachel recently posted…Review: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg CabotMy Profile

  12. Celine says:

    Aw, I’m sorry you didn’t like this as much as everyone else. Characters and romance are the two most important things in contemporary for me, and I’m sorry you didn’t really like either 🙁

    I’m hoping I’ll love this as much as teh rest of the world seems to, but you make some valid points there. Especially the school-thing seems like something I would fall over!

    Great review, hon <3
    Celine recently posted…Top Ten TuesdayMy Profile

  13. Jasprit says:

    I’m so sorry that you didn’t end up enjoying this book Melanie, it’s a horrible feeling to feel like the odd one out when everyone else seems to love a book. But I truly appreciate reading your honest opinion of why this book didn’t work out for you! So thank you for that” <3
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: The Bride Wore Size 12 by Meg CabotMy Profile

  14. Henrietta says:

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I’d have to read the story to see if I might feel bothered by the things that you mentioned but it’s weird that Callie didn’t need to go to school… *puzzled*
    Henrietta recently posted…The Right Kind Of Wrong – Jade EbyMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      I was too, her father wanted her to go to school but Callie said that she didn’t want to because there was no point, then her father was like: “fine”. UGH.

  15. Giselle says:

    Lolz. Well if it looks like a sheep, and smells like a sheep..

    JUST KIDDING! <3 And no you are def not the black sheep I have seen VERY mixed reviews on this one! And it's weird bc it's no middle ground it's either 4 or 5s, or 1-2s. I have a very bad feeling about it personally so I doubt I'll dare give it a try. It sounds like a good contemporary on the surface but I'm like you – what's a contemp without awesome characters and a fantastic romance? A LAME ONE! And what do you mean? A romance that fixes ALL your life's problems is totally realistic and what you should aim for in life!
    Giselle recently posted…Review: All the Truth That’s In Me by Julie BerryMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      BAHAHAHA I’m glad that I’m not the only one with negative thoughts on this one. And thanks for your advice! I’ll take that piece of advice with me in the future. 😉

  16. Candace says:

    Oh this is too bad. I was really excited to read this. I know there’s a lot of positive reviews, but I’m happy to see one that lists some negatives, even if it might be just you. They sound like things that could be issues for me as well. Now when I do read (one day)my expectations won’t be as high so hopefully I’m not too disappointed. I’m sorry it didn’t work better for you.
    Candace recently posted…Review & Feature Opportunity- Reviewers Wanted for The Queen of the Realm of Faerie seriesMy Profile

  17. Oh no! I do have this one to read so I’m curious as to what I’ll think. It’s great sometimes to see some negative thoughts on a book instead of all positives, like I’ve seen for this one so far. 🙂
    sarabara081 @ Forever 17 Books recently posted…Debut Authors Bash: Amie KaufmanMy Profile

  18. I really liked this one. But no book is for everyone, and I appreciate your honesty 🙂
    Jen @ YA Romantics
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