Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: September 24, 2013
Rating: 5 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (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.

What I Liked:

I love this book so much! I'm keeping this review short because it's such a beautiful book, in almost all aspects. I'm actually drawing a blank when I try and think about what I didn't like about this book. Everything was so perfectly constructed, built, broken down, and put everything back in a different and interesting way. READ IT! 

Callie has quite the life. Her mother hasn't stayed in one place in years. She hasn't met her father. She doesn't know a "normal" life, with family, friends, trust, and love. But then, in what I would call an excellent change in the direction of her life, Callie is separated from her mother, and sent to live with her father.

Callie dislikes everything about that plan, at first. She doesn't want to be a part of a large Greek family, eat Greek food, know all the people in her community, work, look after her father's children, and so on. She doesn't want to make friends with anyone, to be close to her new family. She just wants to go back to her mother, take care of her, and simply run. Run from the life that she should want.

Callie doesn't expect to find an amazing, close-knit family, kind father, supportive stepmother, two adorable step-siblings, a great friend... and a HOT male in the form of Alex. Suddenly, Callie has things worth living for, worth fighting for, worth staying for. Callie becomes conflicted between what used to be important, and what seems more important.

I love seeing this struggle in Callie. It is expressed SO WELL, and it seems believable. Doller has a way of portraying Callie and her feelings in a way that you totally get why Callie would do something, or want to do something. Like, we all know that Callie's mother is clearly unstable, and Callie shouldn't be around her. BUT, we also see Callie's point-of-view, that she doesn't want to leave the person that raised her, that she wants her to get better, that she doesn't want to leave the one constant in her life (or what seemed to be the one constant in her life, for the majority of her life).

Therefore, I think that Doller does an amazing with the characterization. Callie is such a complex character, and the character development is thoroughly evident throughout the book. Doller puts Callie through so many trials and tests, which clearly demonstrate Callie's character traits and growth. 

And the other characters are well-developed or also experience growth. Alex, the love interest, grows in this book, from awesome and hothothot, to even more awesome and SUPER steamy hot. Like, he is one of my favorite male protagonists in Young Adult contemporary novels, ever. I love how he grows as a character in this book, with everything going on in his family.

Callie and Alex's relationship is so beautiful! I love how it starts - not in the traditional manner in which most relationships in YA literature start. It starts with a bang and picks up the kind of steady speed that I loved, throughout the book. You can't help but root for Callie to stick with Alex, and vice versa. Both have their own complex problems, and both of them need each other. 

Added bonus - no love triangle!

The climax and ending of this book is thrilling and terrifying. The ending made me a tiny bit sad, but I loved it nonetheless, because it just FIT. The ending is so perfect for this book, for Callie, for Alex, for Callie's mother, for Callie's father and step-family. I'm impressed by the way that the author delved into the story and characters, and pulled out a true, real ending. NOT saying that other endings in YA literature aren't true or real. 

But you know what? It's Trish Doller. I expect nothing less!

What I Did Not Like:

I really can't remember what I didn't like about this book. Some people didn't completely enjoy the ending, but I loved it. So, nothing for this section.

Of course, I'm not saying that this book is perfect.

Would I Recommend It:

I definitely would! I mean, I'm giving it five stars. That's not very common, with me! But in all seriousness, you need to read this one. It has a more mature YA tone, but not in terms of sexual content. But it's certainly one of those books that everyone needs to read, for literary purposes and for the demonstration of life issues. JUST READ IT!


5 stars. I actually read this book in July, and here I am reviewing it in September. But I can still remember the story as well as if I had read it in July. It's such a fabulous read! I am certain that the majority of the people that read this book will love it!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. Now I'm really excited to read this!!!

  2. Your enthusiastic review sold me on this one. Thanks for sharing!

    1. AH! I love hearing (reading?) those words. Thank YOU, Sophia!

  3. Aw, yay! Glad you loved it so much :D Awesome review. <3 YAY for no love triangle, lol :) Sounds like an pretty amazing book.

    1. Me too! And I know how you and I both hate love triangles, so I'm happy to say that there isn't one. It is marvelous, Carina!

  4. With every review I read, I want this one more and more.

    Rather Be Reading YA

  5. I can say that I never thought about reading this one before I read your review. Now, I think I am rethinking that decision. It sounds like a book that I would seriously be missing out on, and I just can't let that happen, now can I?!

    1. It's such a good read, Jaime! Definitely one of my favorites of 2013 - in the top fifteen, For a contemporary novel, I couldn't get enough of this book!

  6. I enjoy reading your reviews Alyssa :)
    I have this book on my TBR,I like how sounds this book,and in advance I think I would love this book!

    Thanks for the honest review :):)

    1. I am so glad that you think that! I hope you read and love this book, Bube. It was one of my favorites of 2013!


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