Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
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.
A bittersweet tale of finding your family, Where the Stars Still Shine is incredibly well-written and a compelling contemporary.
The characters are a little unconventional. Callie reads like an actual person, one who has feelings and emotions. Sometimes she snaps at those who are trying to help her, but this only works to strengthen her characterization. I could see how some readers would misunderstand her emotional distance, but for me, it is really a non-issue and helped the story.
The Greek culture in the book is always present, but never overbearing. The culture made the characters pop and the setting seem a bit magical with its uniqueness. Doller even adds a glossary of Greek terms in the back to help readers out and learn some new phrases. Ultimately, I loved the big Greek family in this story.
The only weak moment in this story comes from one of the main conflicts. For me, it felt a little blown out of proportion. It made sense to the story, but left me with some questions.
The ending of the story doesn’t wrap everything up nice and neat. While I wanted a happily-ever-after for Callie, I’m glad that Doller didn’t take the easy way out. The ending was honest, and left me wanting to read more of Callie’s story, though I am also happy with how it left off.
The writing, the characters, the setting – all were beautifully executed. I am so happy that my expectations were fulfilled and then some! Where the Stars Still Shine is easily one of the best contemporaries I’ve read all year.