Standalone. Bloomsbury USA Children (Sept. 2013) NetGalley
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.
Where the Stars Still Shine has drained me completely. The heartbreaking life the protagonist Callie faced on the run was an unnecessary predicament brought on by her mother who has a serious mental illness. The devastating reality of what her life has been like compared to what her life could have been like with her father brings up emotions of anger and betrayal in Callie. Not only was she left alone to wander the streets at night, time after time, but when she was younger she was taken advantage of by someone her mother should have protected her from. I was horrified when Callie had flashbacks and nightmares of her childhood. It killed me inside and it makes me think of the poor girls and boys who don't have a voice to save them.
I feel like Callie tried so hard in her life to not feel by throwing herself at boys. A reader can probably be put off by this aspect of her but I felt like it showed her vulnerable side. In my mind she is trying to find someone to keep those thoughts out of her head. When she gets to her new home she meets Alex who I couldn't see as the "improbably choice" for her like the synopsis promises right away. Her friend and cousin, Kat, even warns her that he just wants to get in her pants. And that seems exactly to be the case and I was a bit annoyed with that development. But, I warmed up to Alex and the way he was with Callie even if he was and Callie came together primarily for sex when they first met. He has some things going on with his life as well. I wish facets of his life were resolved with him concerning his father but other things that happened to him made up for it.
I love that the Greek culture is embedded into this story in small ways. Everything comes back to being about family. The loss and love shared so intimately in this story can only be endured with family and loved ones on your side. I would have enjoyed even more interaction with Callie and different family members but what was given in this story was still well done. I just can't go over how much this book affected me. It's one of those books that brings out real issues that shouldn't be an issue. Being able to feel safe is a right we should all have. I felt for Callie so much. She didn't deserve to feel how she did because of someone's choice to take her innocence away from her. This is a book that makes you think and want to take action which is what really made Where the Stars Still Shine worth reading.