Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still Shine

4.7 20
by Trish Doller
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Stolen as a child from a large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has no idea what normal life might be like. She's never had a home or gone to school, and she gets most of her meals from vending machines.

Then Callie's mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie's real dad whisks her back to what would

Overview

Stolen as a child from a large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has no idea what normal life might be like. She's never had a home or gone to school, and she gets most of her meals from vending machines.

Then 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 small-town Florida. Now she must find a way to leave the past behind and 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.

This searing story of love and betrayal will resonate with readers who want stories that are gritty and utterly true.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Not only does Callie have secrets, she is one: she and her mother have been on the run since her parents split up and her mother abducted her. Five then, 17 now, Callie has had many names, and she wears thrift-store T-shirts that transform her into “a Cowboys fan or someone who’s attended the Jenkins-Carter family reunion.” She can wash her hair in a rest area sink and take care of herself and her erratic mother. Then comes a traffic stop, and suddenly her mother is in police custody, and Callie is meeting the father she barely remembers. Doller (Something Like Normal) makes Callie believably tough, scarred, and loyal, more used to hooking up than actually dating. The setting—the tight-knit, heavily Greek community of Tarpon Springs, Fla.—is nicely specific, and although Callie’s family is a bit too perfect and the resolution of whether she will stay in Florida or return to her mother is made too easy, the pleasures of watching Callie grapple with her past, future, and a new love easily outweigh these quibbles. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kate Schafer Testerman, kt literary. (Sept.)
VOYA - Raluca Topliceanu
Where The Stars Still Shine is a novel to be valued for the author's engaging writing style rather than the characters alone. The plot is predictable—bad characters disappear when they need to, love triangles threaten to destroy friendships but never do—however, the author masterfully weaves everything together into something much deeper than the plot. The novel tries to get at the inner workings of identity and does so beautifully. Reviewer: Raluca Topliceanu, Teen Reviewer
VOYA - Sara Martin
When Callie was a child, her mother kidnapped her, and they have been living on the run for the past ten years. Run-down apartments, vending-machine dinners, abusive boyfriends, and an unstable mother leave Callie feeling scarred, distrustful, and reckless. When her mother is finally caught and arrested for kidnapping, Callie is returned to a home she barely remembers. Her father has remarried and has two little boys, and her stepmother is hesitant to trust Callie, fearing that she might be just like her mother—a fear that Callie herself also harbors. The transition back into a "normal" life is anything but easy as she struggles to fit into a family, remember what it means to form a real friendship, and figure out if she can trust the beautiful and mysterious boy from the docks. Where The Stars Still Shine is more than just a "problem" novel. Callie's story is layered and engaging as she teeters on the edge of self-destruction. Doller also creates fully realized, multidimensional supporting characters. She captures the manic sadness of Callie's mother, the careful hopefulness of her father, the overbearing optimism of her childhood best friend—all without relegating them to the role of stereotypical extras. Frank descriptions of abuse and sexual situations make this novel best suited for high school readers. Give to fans of Lauren Myracle's Shine (Amulet, 2011/Voya April 2011) or Sara Zarr's How To Save A Life (Little, Brown, 2011/Voya December 2011) who are looking for a little more edge to the story. Reviewer: Sara Martin
Kirkus Reviews
Kidnapped and dragged across the country by her mentally ill mother, Callie's never been to school or had a friend; then a routine stop for a vehicle infraction changes everything. With her mother in jail, Greg, Callie's architect father, brings her home to Tarpon Springs, Fla. It's not an easy adjustment. Greg is overjoyed, but his wife is reluctant to trust Callie, 17, with their two small sons. Callie's loving, rambunctious, Greek-American extended family does mostly embrace her, especially her cousin, Kat. The girls are the same age but years apart in life experience. With a long sexual history, Callie quickly acts on her attraction to Alex, a sponge diver. Having a real family, real friends feels good--but also like a betrayal of her mother. Without sugarcoating the impact of abuse, Doller offsets it through the abundance of what Callie's new life offers her--if she can just accept it. In teen fiction, heroines burdened with a serious problem or handicap tend to be extraordinarily gifted in other respects, as if in compensation. Callie's exceptionally exceptional: beautiful, smart, loved, welcomed by a family with the resources to supply what she needs. Realistic or not, though, knowing what she's been through, readers will root for her all the way. A moving story told with compassion and insight. (author's note) (Fiction. 14 & up)
From the Publisher

“Beautiful in its grit and realism, Where the Stars Still Shine is a skillfully woven story of the ties that bind and bond us.” —Jessi Kirby, author of Golden

“Compelling . . . Doller does a great job at showing how Callie has a foot in both of her worlds and her intense and volatile emotions.” —Library Media Connection

“The romance and tight narrative make this a dynamo of a soldier's story.” —School Library Journal on Something Like Normal

Something Like Normal is intense and sweet, just like Travis, and that makes for a memorable read.” —Iheartdaily.com on Something Like Normal

“Amazing. You will smile and sob and when you finish, you will walk away a better you. READ THIS BOOK NOW.” —New York Times bestselling author Lauren Myracle on Something Like Normal

“Doller debuts with a timely novel that carves new ground out of the saturated teen romance and post-war trauma genres . . . Doller avoids politicization of the war, and she addresses post-traumatic stress disorder with honesty and a light touch, making Travis's experience both personal and relatable.” —Publishers Weekly on Something Like Normal

“Compelling.… Doller does a great job at showing how Callie has a foot in both of her worlds and her intense and volatile emotions.” —Library Media Connection

Children's Literature - Kim Dare
For the past twelve years, Callie's world has revolved around her mother, who abducted her when she was five. Her mom, Veronica suffers from bipolar disorder, and has perfected the art of living on the run. However, when Veronica is arrested in a routine traffic stop, Callie is reunited with a father she barely remembers. Greg is thrilled to welcome Callie into the large extended Greek family along the gulf coast of Florida. But twelve years of looking after herself and her mother have made Callie hesitant to trust others. While her cousin Kat has fond memories of the two of them being best friends as toddlers, Callie has never lived in one place long enough to form a real friendship, and they get off to a bumpy start. Callie suffered sexual abuse at the hands of her mother's boyfriend when she was younger, and while she feels a strong attraction to sponge-diver Alex, she has no real concept of where sex fits into a healthy relationship. Complicating matters further, Veronica is out on bail and secretly seeing Callie, making her feel guilty about her new relationships and ever more sure that her mother is not going to be able to manage without her. It is a lot to handle, but Doller portrays the different relationships and Callie's torn loyalties beautifully. The ending manages to be hopeful for all of the characters without tying everything up too neatly. Some fairly graphic sexual content makes this a story more suitable for high school students. Reviewer: Kim Dare
School Library Journal
09/01/2013
Gr 10 Up—Readers who appreciated the gritty realism tempered with romance in Doller's Something Like Normal (Bloomsbury, 2012) will welcome this book about a 17-year-old struggling to move beyond a traumatic past and find redemption. Callie was kidnapped at age five by her mother, Veronica, and both have been on the run ever since. Rootless and bouncing from place to place, the teen has become accustomed to loneliness. But when Veronica is finally arrested for her daughter's kidnapping, Callie's reunion with her father, Greg, is bittersweet. Left to her own devices all those years, she bristles at his attempts to establish a stable home environment and draw her into his close-knit family. He is part of a large Greek-American community in which everyone seems to know everyone and she is overwhelmed by it. Callie's competing loyalties to both parents prove trying as she grapples with creating friendships and fulfilling family expectations. Terrifying flashbacks also reveal that Callie was sexually abused as a child. She seeks solace in the arms of Alex, a local boy with a "ladies' man" reputation. Soon, their relationship develops from something steamy into enduring tenderness. Adding depth is the novel's stark contrast between Callie's itinerant, heartbreaking former life and her new one, suffused with warmth and Greek traditions. Doller gracefully handles complex issues including mental illness, parental neglect, and trauma in a respectful manner that will ring true to readers. A highly suitable choice for teens who enjoyed Erica Lorraine Scheidt's Uses for Boys (St. Martin's, 2013).—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781619631441
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
09/24/2013
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
602,896
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
830L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Meet the Author


Trish Doller is the author of Something Like Normal and The Devil You Know. She's a former newspaper reporter and radio personality who now works as a bookseller at the Ft Myers B&N. She lives in Fort Myers, Florida, with her two mostly grown children, two dogs, and a pirate. (For real.) Visit her online at www.trishdoller.com and on Twitter at @TrishDoller.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Where the Stars Still Shine 4.7 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 20 reviews.
woven More than 1 year ago
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.
Cupcakegirly More than 1 year ago
My First Reaction: This was like a gift I didn't even know I needed. I am so grateful to have had the chance to read this early and I know my words will not do it justice but I'll try. Also, thank you Trish Doller for writing this heart-achingly beautiful story! What I Loved: Completely unputdownable, this was one of those stories that sucked me right in and didn't want to let me go until it broke my heart in the best way possible. Beautiful writing, endearing characters and a gripping story of family, forgiveness and love - what it is and what it isn't. Callie struggles to find her place in the strange new world of Tarpon Springs, Florida with a family that is both foreign to her yet strangely familiar too. Old habits die hard and old wounds run deep, but Callie is surrounded by people who love and support her even when she doesn't make the best decisions. Her father Greg is one of those people and I absolutely loved him! This was one of the best father-daughter relationships I've read in contemporary YA. It would've been so easy for him to add to the pain of Callie's new life whether by rejecting her or villainizing her mother, because he is hurting too, but he doesn't. Instead, Greg lovingly sets boundaries while also allowing Callie room to grow and heal. He doesn't give up when she closes herself off either, but makes sure she knows that she is loved and wanted. Then there is...a guy. One who struggles between doing what's best and what's expected. One who extends a gentleness and patience toward Callie that left me clutching my chest, fanning my face and wiping my eyes. The ending left me in tears but with a smile on my face. What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing. However, I could read an entire book devoted to sponge diving, especially if it were a picture book. ;) Final Verdict: Another fantastic story from an equally fantastic author! READ.IT.
ABookVacation More than 1 year ago
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.
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
Family by one of its definition means, all the descendants of a common ancestor. But when you think of your mother and father and everyone else that makes up your family, it means so much more than that. And this novel makes you cherish the family that you have.       Callie is a seventeen year old girl that has been on the run with her mother for more than ten years. Her life has never been anything to remember, but something happens that lands her mother in police custody and her sent back to her father in Florida. When she gets there she's distant from her family members while everyone is so excited to see her after all that time. And I respect that. She didn't know them. But sometimes, enough is enough.      I can't really say that I was mad at Callie for doing the things she did because I've never been in that type of situation. But at the same time, sometimes enough is enough. But I'm a firm believer of "tough love." She wasn't doing anything but hurting Callie and everyone that she was associated with. She was only concerned with herself. I wanted Callie to know that she was selfish. But at the same time it was her mother. I know she always wanted to look past any wrong she had done. But then there was Callie's dad's side of the family. I loved them. They never hesitated to let her back in. They may have forgotten that she wasn't the same little girl, but they still wanted to get to know her. They still wanted to love her like she was.      As for the romance, I wasn't exactly sold on it. I understand that she was going through some really rough things (like sexual abuse, family troubles, mental abuse, neglect, and various others) and her comfort was found in other people, mainly men, but for the man to fall for her like he did... I'm not exactly sure how I felt about that. Maybe because he was older, but I just felt like it was a little insta-lovey. But that's just me. I felt like he could've grown to a little more to her. Especially with all the drama she had going on. Granted he didn't realize who she was, but when he did, I just think he would've been like....ummmm.       In this sophomore novel from Doller, you see all kinds of different issues that most people won't think twice about in a fictional novel. It is so much different from all other YA novels out there. I appreciate her dare to be different. It has only convinced me that everything she writes, I will buy. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the characters & beautiful story of love, forgiveness & family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters and the story were haunting and something you will be thinking about for days after you put the book down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LovinLosLibros More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by Trish Doller and I can definitely say it will NOT be my last. The characters Doller has created, the emotions she evoked from them, and the journey that they all go on is not one to be missed. I cannot even for one minute understand what our main character Callie had to be going through. She has lived such a difficult life- always on the move with her mother, never experiencing a normal childhood, living in less than desirable conditions and learning at too young of an age how to survive. Let's be honest: Callie has had her childhood stolen from her. She is haunted by events in her past that, had her mother been more responsible, probably never would have happened. Despite everything, Callie is a warrior. But what I loved most of all? She's real. Doller doesn't create this unbelievable main character. While Callie may be haunted by memories of her past, she doesn't let them completely define and consume her. Yes, some of her choices and actions are a result of what happened, but overall, her moving back to Florida and learning how to readjust to a new family and a father she doesn't truly know and how she handles everything is all her. Yet as this new life beckons her and wants to embrace her with open arms, Callie cannot forget her past or her mother. She feels guilty for leaving her mother behind and when she is starting to let the chains of her time with her mom fall away, she feels that guilt again and my heart broke for her. Meeting Alex Kosta was one of the absolute brightest spots for Callie. Granted, what I originally thought was going to be something fleeting between them turned into this beautiful relationship that really pulled Callie back to the surface and out of her despair. Alex is one of the first people she's been with intimately who has actually shown tenderness to her and affection- not making her feel used up and cheap like her previous sexual encounters. Even though their relationship started out physical, it became so much more and even though Alex has been coined as a playboy, I am so glad it wasn't the case. Callie had enough things to deal with- I don't know that I could have handled Alex breaking her heart because he didn't really have true feelings for her. The way their story ends is bittersweet, but I am going to cling to the implication of hope that Doller has provided us. Family is such a huge theme in this story and I loved that! Too often YA glazes over the importance of their MC's families and Doller could have easily turned this into nothing but a love story and she didn't. This isn't just a love story. This is a story about a girl finding her way back to a father she had been taken from and learning how to readjust and live her life after a lifetime of always being on the move. For the first time ever, Callie is learning what security is- what it's like to have people in her life that will not abandon and leave her to face the darkness alone. Doing all this is not easy. Her father is essentially a stranger to her. He has a new family who also has to adjust to having Callie become a part of their home and family. Her dad also has to learn how to be a father to a teenage girl. A teenage girl who has never once been held accountable or had limitations. It's definitely challenging and Greg is more than willing to go the distance. He doesn't give up on her and it is through unconditional, yet tough love that he is able to wear down those defenses and get her to let him in. Kat, Callie's cousin, was another great character. She was a bit much at times and was almost a bit forceful with her cousin. However, as with Callie's dad, Kat only has her memories of Callie to go on. They don't know the person she has become and they are reverting back to what they do know, which doesn't really work. Yet, this is a learning experience for them and watching them discover who Callie is now is really awesome. Kat had always wanted that closeness with her cousin- to grow up, having sleepovers, talking about boys, etc. Now that she is back, Kat wants them to be able to become those best friends and Callie just needs a bit more time to ease into something like that. My absolute favorite scene in this book is when Alex takes her snorkeling. He even makes the comment that watching her marvel at small things he's taken for granted is something to behold. And I couldn't agree more with him. That day was such a beautiful day for them together and her coming clean with Alex telling him about what happened to her when she was younger was so liberating for her. It wasn't an easy conversation, yet I felt Alex was the one person she needed to tell, because he didn't even hesitate in believing her and that was the affirmation she desperately needed. Guys. I just don't know what more I can say. If I haven't convinced you to read this yet, then I don't even know. This is such a beautiful, realistic story about second chances, hope, and forgiveness and you just need to read it. And the Greek influence is beyond awesome! I love the one-liners in Greek and learning about some of their traditions. It was definitely a bonus to an already awesome story!
JezzaBelle More than 1 year ago
First of all, let's give a round of applause to that fabulous cover.  It's beautiful.  Second, even though  this story might sound like your typical YA/NA story, it most definitely is not.  There is a maturity to it that  seems to be lacking in many books today. Let me tell you a little about the story.  Callie is used to having nothing.  She can pack her suitcase and vacate her home in three minutes flat and does so often whenever the impulse strikes her mother.  Callie and her mother, Veronica, live and travel alone.  While Veronica works nights, Callie is left alone  to face the demons she wishes she could leave in the past. One night, after skipping out on a months rent, Callie and Veronica are pulled over by a deputy.  The  car comes up as "stolen" and the next thing Callie knows, Veronica is being arrested and Callie is  facing a stranger calling himself her father. Callie moves to Florida with her dad, his new wife, and their two little boys.  She quickly discovers that  she is part of a large Greek family and is related to most of her community.  Callie's mother kidnapped  her when she was five and they have never lived anywhere long enough to even make friends, but  suddenly Callie has a network of friends and family willing to help her out wherever she goes.  It's all a  little overwhelming. Callie follows in her mother's footsteps, running to escape when things get uncomfortable.  One night, after escaping the pressure she feels from her father's new family, Callie finds herself down by the  docks and she meets Alex Kosta. Her new friends are quick to warn her away from Alex, but Callie feels drawn to him.  Even when she  discovers that his sister is her father's new wife, Phoebe.  Callie and Alex have exciting chemistry, but  do they really have anything else?  And what will Callie do about Conner, the sweet, good-looking boy  that her new, self-appointed BFF wants her to date? I loved so many things about this book.  Callie is a protagonist that I can like.  She is strong and fierce.   She is flawed and fragile.  She is a contradiction that completely works. Alex is sweet and sexy.  He is cautious and scarred.  He is absolutely perfect in his imperfections. The large Greek family with all of their nosiness is exactly what Callie needs.  It was an excellent  addition to an already fantastic story. Trish Doller writes with a sophistication that you don't expect from a YA novel.  Her descriptions are full. Her characters are complete.  The worlds that she paints are places that I want to visit. Five out of Five Stars *WARNING* This book deals with heavy issues such as mental illness, and may be a trigger for those  who have experienced abuse.
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
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.
Alyssa75 More than 1 year ago
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog** Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens Publication Date: September 24, 2013 Rating: 5 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I love this book so much! I'm keeping this review short because it's such a beautiful book, in almost all aspects. I'm actually drawing a blank when I try and think about what I didn't like about this book. Everything was so perfectly constructed, built, broken down, and put everything back in a different and interesting way. READ IT!  Callie has quite the life. Her mother hasn't stayed in one place in years. She hasn't met her father. She doesn't know a "normal" life, with family, friends, trust, and love. But then, in what I would call an excellent change in the direction of her life, Callie is separated from her mother, and sent to live with her father. Callie dislikes everything about that plan, at first. She doesn't want to be a part of a large Greek family, eat Greek food, know all the people in her community, work, look after her father's children, and so on. She doesn't want to make friends with anyone, to be close to her new family. She just wants to go back to her mother, take care of her, and simply run. Run from the life that she should want. Callie doesn't expect to find an amazing, close-knit family, kind father, supportive stepmother, two adorable step-siblings, a great friend... and a HOT male in the form of Alex. Suddenly, Callie has things worth living for, worth fighting for, worth staying for. Callie becomes conflicted between what used to be important, and what seems more important. I love seeing this struggle in Callie. It is expressed SO WELL, and it seems believable. Doller has a way of portraying Callie and her feelings in a way that you totally get why Callie would do something, or want to do something. Like, we all know that Callie's mother is clearly unstable, and Callie shouldn't be around her. BUT, we also see Callie's point-of-view, that she doesn't want to leave the person that raised her, that she wants her to get better, that she doesn't want to leave the one constant in her life (or what seemed to be the one constant in her life, for the majority of her life). Therefore, I think that Doller does an amazing with the characterization. Callie is such a complex character, and the character development is thoroughly evident throughout the book. Doller puts Callie through so many trials and tests, which clearly demonstrate Callie's character traits and growth.  And the other characters are well-developed or also experience growth. Alex, the love interest, grows in this book, from awesome and hothothot, to even more awesome and SUPER steamy hot. Like, he is one of my favorite male protagonists in Young Adult contemporary novels, ever. I love how he grows as a character in this book, with everything going on in his family. Callie and Alex's relationship is so beautiful! I love how it starts - not in the traditional manner in which most relationships in YA literature start. It starts with a bang and picks up the kind of steady speed that I loved, throughout the book. You can't help but root for Callie to stick with Alex, and vice versa. Both have their own complex problems, and both of them need each other.  Added bonus - no love triangle! The climax and ending of this book is thrilling and terrifying. The ending made me a tiny bit sad, but I loved it nonetheless, because it just FIT. The ending is so perfect for this book, for Callie, for Alex, for Callie's mother, for Callie's father and step-family. I'm impressed by the way that the author delved into the story and characters, and pulled out a true, real ending. NOT saying that other endings in YA literature aren't true or real.  But you know what? It's Trish Doller. I expect nothing less! What I Did Not Like: I really can't remember what I didn't like about this book. Some people didn't completely enjoy the ending, but I loved it. So, nothing for this section. Of course, I'm not saying that this book is perfect. Would I Recommend It: I definitely would! I mean, I'm giving it five stars. That's not very common, with me! But in all seriousness, you need to read this one. It has a more mature YA tone, but not in terms of sexual content. But it's certainly one of those books that everyone needs to read, for literary purposes and for the demonstration of life issues. JUST READ IT! Rating: 5 stars. I actually read this book in July, and here I am reviewing it in September. But I can still remember the story as well as if I had read it in July. It's such a fabulous read! I am certain that the majority of the people that read this book will love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutley adore this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great read and a refreshing story. The author will NOT leave you bored with this book!
kimberlyfaye More than 1 year ago
“I want traditions. Eggnog. Peace on earth, goodwill toward man. I want to kiss Alex Kosta under the mistletoe. I want memories untarnished by ugliness. I want all of that without feeling guilty about wanting it.” After years growing without a real home, living in seedy apartments with seedier men, and moving from place-to-place after her mom kidnapped her, Callie is reunited with her large, close-knit Greek family in a small town in Florida. She starts rebuilding broken relationships and forging new ones. She starts to want things that are actually in reach. Real, tangible things like love, acceptance, friendship, and family. I started the book filled with empathy for the life Callie was living. I connected with her immediately and became her cheerleader. I could see how broken she was. I wanted her to be put back together. I was so relieved when she went back home with her father. I was pleased to see how well she was accepted into his, their, new family. They made a place for her. She finally had a home. It was obviously tough for her. Tough to realize that she was putting her life back together while her mother’s life was falling apart. But, we’ll get to that later. I wanted to cry when she was throwing herself at guys, continuing an old pattern of thinking she was only wanted for one thing. Callie grew up beautifully in this book. “He glances up, and his face is something so fine and beautiful, it makes my chest ache the way it does when I hear a sad song or finish a favorite book.” “Listen, I work with him, so I’ve see the way he operates. Alex Kosta can be described in two words: man whore. Or maybe that’s one word. Hyphenated?” She shrugs. “Either way, just… no.” We’re introduced to Alex (Alexandros) Kosta almost immediately upon Callie’s return to Florida. I wasn’t so sure about Alex when he first came into the picture. The last thing Callie needed was another man to use her or treat her like trash. I was afraid Alex would do just that. I could not have been more wrong.  Alex Kosta is beautiful, inside and out. He’s also greatly misunderstood. People see what is on the outside and make assumptions and don’t take the time to get to know the guy underneath. He’s deep. He’s dealing with his mom’s illness and just wants to get away. He and Callie connect immediately. Their chemistry is palpable. Contrary to what others believe, they are just what the other needs. “Let’s go to the mall and you can do your blank-canvas… thing.” “It’s not a thing, I want to help you. I want to be your friend.” “Why? So you can tell everyone you know the kidnapped freak?” “Callie! This is you and me when we were four. When we were best friends. Of course, I don’t remember it very well, and when you’re four, even the next-door neighbor’s dog is your best friend. But I’ve spent all these years imagining what our friendship would have been like if your mom hadn’t taken you. In my head we had sleepovers and took gymnastics lessons and had first dates with twin brothers, which is hilarious because I don’t even know any twins. And when you came home, I hoped—” “God, I suck.” I adored Callie’s cousin, Kat (Ekaterina). It was apparent from the beginning how excited Kat was to have Callie back in her life. Kat wanted to help her fit in. She wanted to protect her. She was convinced Alex was a “man whore” and totally wrong for Callie. Of course, she was also nursing a crush on and rejection from Alex herself, so I think that played into her feelings a lot. She and Callie were able to move past the issues there and grow even closer, get back to being the best friends they were when they were four. Kat was sweet and sassy and opinionated. We would totally be friends in real life. “How could my mom be so selfish? Taking the pills would have kept us here. Taking the pills would have kept her from hooking up with Frank. All she had to do was take the goddamn pills and her life, my life, would have been ordinary. Happy.”  With so many likable characters, there had to be one that was 100% unlikable, right? In this book, that character is Callie’s mom. To say she is selfish just might be the understatement of the century. I mean, duh, she kidnapped Callie when she was 5, took her away from a family who loved her, and was a terrible mother. She put Callie in horrendous situations when she was young. Situations that led Callie to be damaged as she is today. She wasn’t a parent. She was too busy hooking up with men and abusing alcohol and drugs. We find out there is a deep-rooted psychological issue there as the book goes on, but I still had no sympathy for her. She could have controlled the issues she was having, but she chose herself over her daughter. That’s just plain despicable to me. I could go on about the characters forever. Trish Dollar writes wonderfully complex and believable characters. Every single character in this book – down to Ariel, the girl who works in the bookstore in town – is well-developed. I wanted to know more about each and every one of them. I wanted to be friends with them. The detail Trish uses makes these characters come alive. They reach out and pull you into the book. Trish is also a brilliant storyteller. This book has so many different layers: family, love, friendship, hope, betrayal. It’s about Callie’s journey to becoming the person she’s now free to be. It’s about her relationship with Alex, her friendship with Kat, her building a family again with Greg and Phoebe and the boys and the rest of her big, crazy Greek family. I loved the big, crazy Greek family. I loved the names and the traditions. I’m not very familiar with the Greek culture, so I felt like I was learning right along with Callie. I was embracing her family and their traditions as she was.  After her debut novel, Something Like Normal, Trish Doller went on my auto-buy author list. I was beyond thrilled when I received the email saying my NetGalley request for this book was approved. There may have been a happy dance involved. By may have, I mean was. There totally was. As far as I know, this book is a standalone, but I could do with a sequel to this one. I loved these characters so much. It hurt to give them up.   I received this book from the author, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.