Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
Published: September 24, 2013 by Bloomsbury
Source: Early copy
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]
I had the honor of reading a very early copy of this story (thank you Trish!), so I'll start by saying my review may be a bit biased since Trish is a friend of mine. However, even if I did not have the friendship I do with Trish, I know for a fact I would still love this woman's writing. Knowing the person behind these beautiful words is just an added bonus.
The story begins on the road with Callie, where she's been with her mother for as long as she can remember. The pair never took root anywhere, constantly on the move, running from something that Callie never knew about. In an early turn of events, Callie is taken from her mother and placed back in her father's home in Florida. Her new surroundings are foreign to her, and even though her father wants nothing more than to reintroduce the life that was once stolen from her, Callie still puts up a shield to protect herself.
In this new life comes a large Greek family, a new best friend, and the potential for a heartbreaking new love. While attempting to adjust to her new life, she is also battling the acceptance of what she lost. Should she be angry with her mother for keeping her away from this world her whole life? Or should she be running after her mom, fleeing the first minute she feels anxious? I really admired Callie's character because she harbors a lot of things a young girl should never have to witness, yet you see this bright light in her eyes that is full of hope and promise.
This story has different layers to it, and one of those layers that I could peel back again and again revolves around a boy named Alex. He has issues of his own, and perhaps that is what draws Callie to him first. But there's also a maturity to him that I found to be refreshing in a Young Adult novel. The pair of them lean on one another, supporting the other, realizing that life can be messy and the results are not always perfect. It was his imperfections that molded into Callie's beauty, which created such an unforgettable duo that felt beyond fictional to me.
I know this story will resonate with contemporary fans, but I have high hopes that it will engage a wide range of readers as well. Trish Doller creates exceptional characters, with such great attention to detail in her settings, that it becomes a world you're a part of and want to revisit time and time again.
Thank you Trish, for sharing Callie and Alex and everyone else in this story with me. It truly was a pleasure to see this story take form and breathe its own breath of life.