Wednesday, September 18, 2013

ARC Review: Where the Stars Still Shine

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.-Goodreads
*Thanks to NetGalley for providing an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Page Count: 352
Would Appeal To: Fans of Hannah Harrington's Saving June
Buy Link:
Favorite Quotes:

"His gaze slithers down from my face and gets caught on the front of my shirt."

"My fists curl into themselves and I stop myself from rushing to his defense, because this is Alex's story--one he hasn't told me--and I've come uninvited into the middle of it."

"His smile lacks the deep creases that usually bracket his mouth like happy parentheses."

"'Didn't Einstein say something about driving and kissing?' I ask. The tires squeal as he turns into the parking lot of a mostly vacant strip mall, puts the truck in park, and shifts me onto his lap. 'To paraphrase, he said if you can do both at the same time...' His lips find a spot on my neck, below my ear, and send heat rushing...everywhere, making me wonder if it's possible to be addicted to a person, like drugs, or cigarettes, or sadness."

"The tilt at the corner of his mouth absorbs my apology."

"Her hair tickles my nose, but her scent--the rose soap smell--reminds me of making oatmeal raisin cookies and singing a song about the moon."
Why You Must Check Out "Where The Stars Still Shine":
  • Greek anyone? Not only do I want to be adopted by a huge extended family who does as much feasting as bickering, but I want to go down to the dock and see a Greek hottie with a bandana tying up his boat. Sidenote-- I learned lots of Greek words!
  • The setting speaks. The first chapter is so well written. I was transported into a family with a parnoid transient who clearly doesn't put being a mother at the top of her priority list in just the first two pages. I ached for Callie, the more mature of the two. Just her chilly walk, sans hoodie, to the laundromat, was so revealing. I got to know her and understood her life without even trying.
  • Intrigue. Callie's been kidnapped by her mom AND she knows it! Other stories I've read involve kids making such revelations, but she knows and seems to be okay with it. She even feels like she needs to take care of her mother. 
  • Pacing. It's obvious from the summary that Callie goes back to be with her dad, but the quickness of this plot twist took me by surprise in the best way possible!
  • Callie. I love a girl who knows what she wants. The chemistry between her and Greek boy (no spoilers!) is palpable. They roll with the moment. Of course, she doesn't realize how connected this will make them.
  • Emotional. There's this fantastic scene at the end between Callie and her mother that just pops off the pages. It's gripping, it's I-can't-believe-you-said-it-like-that. It wouldn't tug so tightly on the heartstrings if Doller's wasn't impactful. 
  • Lovable secondary characters. Callie's half-brothers are super cute. I also love her friend/cousin Kat. She is SO forgiving. But I know people like that. I appreciated that the end places great focus on the relationship between mom and daughter rather than other relationships that might typically hog the spotlight.
  • Callie lives in an Airstream trailer out back of the house. How cool is that? Sneaking out when she wants. No direct supervision. Kind of sucks about the no hot water in the shower thing, but otherwise, it gives her the time and space she needs to think about her old life merging with her new one.
Things That Bugged Me:
  • I waited about two weeks to write this review and forgot quite a few details when thinking back. This could have been my own fault because my mind has been overcrowded lately, but I was bummed. I thought it might stand out in my mind more. I certainly enjoyed the combination of romance and water!
  • No one brings up the age difference between our main couple, not even her father. They only say he's not healthy for her and a bad influence. It was always there, a voice in the back of my mind, going, "cradle-robber" and "illegal." I wish someone had brought it up, especially since Greg was so protective over his long-lost daughter. 
  • "Spoiler!": There is a misunderstanding between Callie and her boy toy when he blames her for meddling with his relationship with his mom. I didn't understand why he was so mad. I thought he could have been less quick to jump to the conclusion that she was responsible for this set up. Especially for a guy who seems to have fallen hard for her.
Final verdict: Romantic waves, first love, Greek Adonis, past secrets--Where the Stars Still Shine will make you believe that The One is hiding just off the dock and around the corner.



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