Aug 28, 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
September 24th, 2013 from Bloomsbury

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.

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After reading and loving Doller's debut, SOMETHING LIKE NORMAL, I knew I would make time to read her sophomore novel no matter how much time I think I don't have - glad I did! Once again my heart pours love for her characters. Callie is on the run with her mother - who is quite a basket case - after a divorce gone bad. Ten years later, the two have basically nothing, and you wonder how long someone could live a life like that. I wanted to scoop up poor Callie, yell at her mother for being no mother at all, and whisk Callie away. And this was all before I knew that sleeping on couches and owning only two t-shirts was not the worst of it. 

Callie is not the only character I wanted to help. Her father Greg isn't really sure how to be a father to Callie, but boy does he try his best! He wants to make up for lost time, but Callie isn't going for it. She has never had anyone truly care for her and suddenly be concerned as to her whereabouts. Their relationship starts off rocky and it was so rewarding watching their relationship evolve and grow. 

I was really nervous about the romance in this book considering Callie's past. We all hear about stories about girls with no father figures who act out sexually. Even though Callie isn't perfect I was happy to read that she was basically a normal teenager in regards to her sex life. When it seems she has real and honest feelings for a boy named Alex in her new hometown, I was waiting on the edge of my seat for quite a while to see this all go south. To my pleasant surprise, I was wrong a lot of the time. When Callie confides in Alex about her past, I felt like I took a breathe for the first time. This was a huge breaking point for Callie and I was so proud of her. 

With two stand-out books under her belt - I cannot wait to find out what Doller is up to next!