Customer Reviews for

Where the Stars Still Shine

Average Rating 4.5
( 14 )
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  • Posted March 3, 2014

    I picked up this novel on whim when I read the synopsis┬┐it remin

    I picked up this novel on whim when I read the synopsis–it reminded me very much of one of my favorite novels, If You Find Me, so I just had to read it, and I was pleased to note from the start that it’s a very well written novel. Focusing on Callie as she tries to make sense of her disheveled life and figure out where her loyalties truly lie, a feat no child or teenager should have to experience, Doller hooks her readers from the very first page, and as the story begins to unfold, it’s raw emotion will open a special spot in the readers heart for Callie.

    For the past 12 years, Callie has been moving from place to place with her mother, a haggard, chain-smoking woman who changes her mind with the sunrise—always on the move. Callie has never been to school, she’s never known stability, and she’s never really missed it–that is, until her mother is caught during a traffic stop and Callie is reunited with her father and her family, a group of people she doesn’t know or remember. Suddenly, Callie has a stable home, two little brothers, a doting if not suffocating family, a best friend, a job, and even a love interest.

    Torn between the woman who has raised her and the family she didn’t know she had, Callie has some extremely difficult choices to make. She has been hurt; hurt a lot in her life. As you can imagine, her mother has had many “lovers,” and one, Frank, was a little too “caring” for the 8 year old Callie. And as it would for any who experience abuse, it haunts Callie both day and night, causing her to be wary when it comes to trust of other. Thankfully, Doller does not provide graphic detail, but the reader definitely knows what happened to Callie, and it helps explain the not so great decisions she’s made in the past and that and continues to make as the story unfolds. Her entire understanding of love is tainted, having seen her mother’s strange definition of it, and this novel is ultimately one of healing as Callie’s learns what it means to be truly loved, and to love back.

    I really loved the characterization and depth of this novel, and I also enjoyed that it takes place in Tarpon Springs FL. While I haven’t spent much time there, I’ve been through the area on a few occasions, and I have spent much time in Bradenton, so I was able to vividly imagine many of the scenes within the novel–something I usually can’t do because I have zero imagination. This really brought the story to life for me, and I felt like I was right there with Callie, seeing through her eyes, which made it such an intriguing read.

    The addition of a Greek family was awesome, and I loved getting to know them, seeing the ins and outs of their family and town, and it reminded me a little bit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in terms of the family relationships, minus some of the humor, because this is a much more serious tale.

    Overall, this is a beautiful tale that I highly recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Wow. What an emotional and raw book. I cannot imagine growing up

    Wow. What an emotional and raw book. I cannot imagine growing up like Callie did. Her mom abducted her as a child and they have been on the run since. Callie doesn't know if she will be in a new state in 24 hours, or where her next meal will come from, but she still manages. She fiercely loves her mom even when she is tired of the lifestyle, and that shows a lot about her character.
    I felt for her, and totally understood where she had build up walls, but loved to see the tender side, and that she still stands up for herself--she makes strides to read and learn even when the odds are against her, and she has her own personality instead of drawing into herself like I probably would. 
    But her and her mom are caught and she is returned to her Father. She didn't really know much about him and as she soon realizes, most of what she thought she knew just wasn't true. She also learns things about her mom that makes things all begin to make a lot of sense about how she grew up and the decisions her mom made. 
    I saw such growth in Callie as she realized what life could be like. Learning a new kind of familial love, what having a true friend means, and through some very cute kids, her half-brothers a lot about life, love and acceptance. She also has a large extended family, and I loved that atmosphere, and can totally see how it would be a shock to her--coming from a life of basically just her and her mom and the occasional boyfriend of her mom's that lasted more than a week. 
    There is a semi-triangle, but it never really escalates because she makes a clear choice, and while I feel bad for the guy not chosen because he really was a good guy, in the end chemistry is really needed and she had that with her choice. 
    Alex is handsome and I thought that he had amazing layers. I didn't think that he would at first, but he really pleasantly surprised me, and I was so glad to see the trust built between the two and their affection and hot chemistry. 
    Kat is her cousin and appoints herself her best friend because they were as kids, and I love how she is with Callie. She teaches her what being a friend and family is all about and even though it was rough because Callie never had a girl friend before, I am so glad that Kat proved herself worthy and stuck by her. 
    There is flashbacks of molestation in this one. Callie went through some really tough stuff, and she has nightmares about it. It is fairly descriptive, but it just, for me, added to the power of the story. I know that might be a limit for some, so I thought that I would mention it. 
    The ending wraps up a lot, but it does leave some threads open, but I think it is fitting with this and my mind went to town with the hope, promise and twinge of uncertainty. 

    Bottom Line: Powerful and raw story that centers on Callie's character growth.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

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