Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Posted August 30, 2013 by Stormy in Books / 9 Comments

Where the Stars Still Shine

by Trish Doller

where the stars still shine

Expected  Publishing Date:September 24, 2013
Length: 352 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s

Obtained Via: Received digital ARC in exchange for an honest review from publisher via Netgalley
Format Read In: Digital ARC


via 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.

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.


A few phrases come to mind when I think of this book: culture shock, reality check, and. . . Stockholm Syndrome? Perhaps that’s a little far, but I think it rings true. All Callie has ever known is life with her mother–the mother who kidnapped her and hid her from the rest of her family almost all her life. And why it’s easy to point fingers at Callie’s mother, her story is also heartbreaking, watching her struggle with inner demons. And then there’s Callie: stuck in the middle between the life she should have lived for the past ten years, and the life she actually lived.

Watching Callie come to terms with her life was an incredible journey that lasted the duration of this book. At the beginning, even the mood and the atmosphere FEEL so lonely, and it was the hardest part of the book for me to get through because of that. As Callie slowly learns to trust people, to open up, and to really entertain the idea of being part of a family, the setting and Doller’s writing started to reflect that.

This isn’t a book to pick up if you’re looking for a book packed to the brim with plot–it’s heavily character-oriented and while I wouldn’t classify it as one of those slow-moving, but beautiful books, I think the pacing does tend towards the slower side. The revelations that Callie comes across as she struggles with her new life keep the book moderately paced and I HAD to find out how this part of Callie’s story ends, but I don’t think I’d go so far as to call it a page-turner.

I don’t know how a person would act in Callie’s situation, but her character development seemed highly realistic to me. Here she is, thinking all of life has been one way the entire time, and suddenly she’s confronted with this new truth that’s the opposite of everything she’s always been told. She’s dazed and confused, which affects ALL her relationships–her relationship with her father, her relationship with her cousin who becomes her new friend, and her potential romantic relationship. It’s hard to read about Callie’s inner turmoil, but it’s worth it in the end.

At the end of this book, things aren’t perfect. It’s not as if Callie wakes up one morning and suddenly feels like she fits everywhere she “needs” to and her life’s now normal, but she’s in such a different place at the end of the book that it works. Everything might not be tied up in a pretty string, but she’s come far enough that it’s clear to see she might one day be that way, which was an incredibly emotionally satisfying ending.

Final Impression: I loved this book. If I hadn’t heard so many good things about the author, I might not have picked this one up, but I’m SO SO glad I did. It was hard to read at times, but I think the emotional journey Callie went through was believable and satisfying from a narrative point of view. The beginning was slightly rocky for me, but after that, it was clear this was a wonderful book that I came to love. 5/5 cupcakes. 



5 Stars

Tags: ,

9 responses to “Book Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

  1. Estelle

    So glad you liked this one too. Defnitely agree that the end didn’t work out perfectly, and I was satisfied with that. Doller is a realistic writer, and I super appreciate that. Too many YA authors want to make tough issues resolve quickly and I just don’t think that’s how the world works.

    I don’t want to wait for another Doller novel!! Also you should try out Mindi Scott if you haven’t already. This book reminded me a bit of Live Through This which is super heavy but amazingly done!

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, it was a really emotionally satisfying ending, but it wasn’t, “here’s life perfectly wrapped up with a bow!”. Ooh, I’ve never heard of Mindi Scott’s book, but I will definitely check them out!

  2. Shannelle C. (The Tracery of Ink)

    I was really skeptical of this one, mostly because of the cover. It makes me think of adult books. But all in all, maybe I’ll look for more reviews for this one. It seems really interesting.

    Great review, Stormy!

    • stormydawnc

      Oh, I’m so glad you said that, because when I saw the cover, I totally thought it was an adult book too! Now I feel justified for thinking that. I like the cover a lot, but yeah, it’s not very YA-ish. I enjoyed the book a lot though!

  3. I’m so glad I read your review! Do you ever just hear about a book (or see a book cover) and instantly wish you could read it? That’s me with WTSS. At least now, I have a real reason to want to read this. Callie sounds like a protagonist that I would love reading. I think contemporary books should really be more character oriented. I love that the ending wasn’t really an HEA but was still emotionally satisfying. I can’t wait until this comes out!

    • stormydawnc

      Oh, I’ve DEFINITELY have books like this. Callie was definitely not awesome at times, as she was trying to learn how to re-intergrate into her life, but I just FELT for her so much, you know? And yes, very emotionally satisfying!

    • stormydawnc

      Yes, it does–after the first chapter. It was definitely a heart squeezer, and Callie was quite the caustic character at times, but it was SO well done and moving.

Leave a Comment!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.