Thursday, September 19, 2013

ARC Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens
354 Pages

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.

Perfection. If I had to describe Where the Stars Still Shine in one word, it would be perfection. Trish Doller has produced another phenomenal story that had my feels all over the place. She easily pulls heavy emotions from her readers, all while leaving them with a sense of hope. It's absolutely amazing to watch unfold. This author has so much talent that it actually hurts that she currently only has two books released.

This book reminded me a bit of Emily Murdoch's If You Find Me. They are very different in their prose, and setting, but the background of the stories are very similar. Both are about young women, who were stolen from their homes by their mothers. They go through hell and back, and when they are finally rescued, they are very unsure of the world from which they were taken. They are full of anger, confusion and doubt. While both books have very mature subjects, I believe that Where the Stars Still Shine is a bit lighter--though not by much. Either way, both of these stories are ones that will stick with me for a great long while.

These characters are unbelievable. Each one is fully fleshed out and provides a new insight into the story. They fulfill their purposes without being forced and they all will find a place in the hearts of their readers. There isn't a single one that won't resonant with the audience of this story. From the troubled Callie, to the unsure father, to the not-so-perfect love interest--there is something to love in every one of these characters. Of course, there are actions that will frustrate you, but watching these people grow and change as they experience life is brilliant. No matter how hard you try, it's impossible for the characters not to tug at your heartstrings and make you feel more than you expected to. 

The pacing is excellent. I had no trouble keeping up with the story. Where the Stars Still Shine is very realistic, and the steady and consistent pace truly helps with that. I finished this book very quickly because it was just so easy to keep reading and reading and reading and then before I knew it, the book was finished and it was two o'clock in the morning. Honestly, I have no complaints. The ending was authentic, so I can't complain--even if it wasn't wrapped with a tight, big bow like I prefer books to be. 

If you know Doller's work, you know she's excellent at evoking powerful emotions from her audience. She has the kind of skill that I'm sure will continue to blow me away even after she's written twelve novels. It will completely escape your mind that this is only her sophomore novel as you read because she packs so much power and passion in this book. I went into this not expecting to love it as much as I did. Never again will I doubt Doller. She is brilliant.

Now that I've finished this masterpiece, I feel somewhat stuck. What could possibly compared to this beautiful piece of literature? I feel bad for whatever book has to follow this because it has a lot to live up to. Doller has written something in Where the Stars Still Shine that I won't soon forget. I would recommend this to all upper YA fans, as there is some sexual content and mentions of disturbing childhood traumas.
I received an e-copy of this novel for my honest opinion and review via the publisher.

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