Author: Trish Doller
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Release Date: September 24, 2013
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.
My Thoughts: Next time I read a Trish Doller novel, I'm going to make sure I have tissues nearby. I mean, I expected to cry while reading her debut Something Like Normal. I just didn't realize how much I would with Where the Stars Still Shine. I really don't know how the author does it, but she can make a scene powerful and emotional using only a few words. It's pretty amazing.
I felt an immediate connection to Callie and her story. I wasn't at all bothered by the fact that she chose to keep quiet about some of the things she had gone through because that's just what she's use to doing and how she's coped the majority of her life. And after everything she's had to endure, I was so inspired by her inner strength and ability to keep moving forward even though she was vulnerable and scared and sometimes thought it would be so much easier to just run away. I think what kept her grounded, though, was the normalcy she craved for years and years that she finally had. A life with family and friends that care about her and love her, and a future that doesn't seem quite as impossible now.
Which brings me to what I loved the most about this novel: the relationships Callie had with the people around her. Her interactions with her family, new friends, and even Alex, the guy she was seeing, were well done and seemed realistic given her situation. Her relationship with Alex was one of my favorites. While they grew up differently and had their own problems to deal with, they were drawn to each other and connected in a way no one truly seemed to understand. But it felt right for them, and I loved what they shared. All these people helped Callie grow and open up in some way, and knowing that they are in her life gives me hope that things will only continue to get better for her.
The writing, the setting (which I felt I could visualize clearly even though I've never been to Tarpon Springs), and of course, the characters and their relationships with each other were all aspects I loved about Where the Stars Still Shine. Trish Doller knows how to write beautiful and uplifting stories. Stories full of love and friendships that leave me with a tearful smile and a sense of hope. I'm already anticipating the release of her next novel, and if you have yet to read her novels, I highly recommend them both.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars