Publishing Company: Bloomsbury USA Children's
Genre: Young Adult—Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: September 24, 2013
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.
I had high hopes for Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Dollar, after person after person loved it and cried over it. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same emotional capacity for it.
Like many contemporary novels, Where the Stars Still Shine embodied a young girl named Callie adjusting to her new life, one with a constant, one without her mother, one with friends and family and love. Ripped from her mother, her life of constant fleeing, and reunited with her family, we immediately had an interesting story, just by reading the synopsis. I could appreciate Callie's character, the way she was so distant from anything and kind of desperate, but I couldn't connect to her. No matter how hard I tried and how much I pushed myself into her head, she remained an immovable rock. I know I didn't have to like Callie, but I wished I could have felt something close to her on a deeper level than I did.
There was another issue I had with Callie's character, though, and that was how flippantly her education was dealt with. Callie's dad Greg was supportive and kind, which makes up a fantastic father figure, but he was such a pushover. This could be a spoiler, but Callie had apparently never gone to school outside of kindergarten, unless I read wrong. With how often they moved, I wouldn't be surprised that, even if Callie went through elementary school, she would have stopped going to school. Even then, how could she get hired for a job? Why wasn't Greg more forceful with her going to school? Greg seemed to take one look at Callie, listen to her tell him not to let her go to school, which is required by law, might I add, and relented. I'm not a mother, nor will I ever be a father, but if I was a parent I wouldn't stand there while my daughter missed school just because she wanted to. And if Greg knew about Callie's mom Veronica's issues, then he should have known that Callie was neglected, at least in terms of a proper education.
Where the Stars Still Shine seemed to suffer the most was in terms of the romance. At first, it started off innocently enough, reflecting off Callie's character perfectly, something I could appreciate. However, it wasn't soon after until the relationship Callie was having became serious, and something that could define her growth and development. I felt completely detached from anything that was going on during the romantic scenes, because Callie and him barely knew each other, yet they were having fights, kissing, and going out on dates like any regular teenage couple. If this guy was going to affect Callie some way in her coming-of-age journey, I would have at least liked to know a little more about him and gotten to see more of his personality.
Although I might be a black sheep, yet again, I found that Callie was a refreshing and well done character, executed with expertise. The romance and education had some issues along the lines of its plausibility. It was impossible to connect with any aspect of the book, therefore making it a difficult read for me.