Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Up and Coming: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Callie's life has been anything but stable for as long as she can remember. Her mother moves them from place to place without much warning and with even less explanation. But, it turns out that her mother has also been running the law, Callie's father and a large family who has been missing Callie since her mother took off with her when she was a baby.

In the space of one evening, Callie's picked up and dropped into the life she didn't know she's been missing. But she doesn't feel like she fits here either, where everyone knows everyone and they all have an idea already about who Callie is. Will she be able to become the version of Callie that her cousin Kat is already ready to be best friends with? Can she become a girl who can look forward to what a relationship with Alex, the sponge collecting, smoldering guy she keeps running into, might bring; or, is she doomed to be the Callie who just remembers all the terrible ways she's been hurt in the past. Is there a way to be all of those Callies at once?

Trish Doller's Something Like Normal was one of my favorite books of last year (you can see my review here). What sets Doller aside is her amazing ability to write characters who are so nuanced that they jump off the page. Callie is tough, she's used to relying on herself and no one else, but underneath the hard veneer she's vulnerable and even excited about the chance to try new things. Then there's Alex, the guy that everyone in his life writes off for using his good looks to his advantage and who can't get anyone to notice that he might have grown up since they last looked. This book is set in Florida in a Greek community and another thing that Doller shines at is easily building all sorts of relationships between her characters. The love between Callie's grandmother and her sister is plain to see as is the unease that Callie's new stepmother feels at suddenly having a strange teenage girl under her roof. It's all there, just like it would be in real life and that makes it all the more affecting and real.

I also liked that this story existed outside of the bounds of high school. Callie's mother never put her in regular school, so now at close to 18 she decides to just work towards her GED. Callie is a character who we don't often get to meet in YA. But if your a fan of realistic fiction that you can sink your teeth into, you're going to be glad you got the chance to spend a few hundred pages with her.

Also, this is definitely a stand alone, but I can't be the only one who wouldn't mind reading a  book devoted to Alex's life on the Sponge collecting boat.

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