Saturday, October 12, 2013

|Review| Where The Starts Still Shine by Trish Doller

Title: Where the Stars Still Shine
Published September 24th by Bloomsbury USA
Genre: Contemporary YA
Rating: C+
Goodreads summary:
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'll begin my review with this:
Where the Stars Still Shine is a book that went snorkeling but unfortunately, it never actually went diving.
What a cheesy thing to say but that statement sums up my feelings entirely plus snorkeling/diving theme relates to the book! The book always stayed at the surface of all the issues it had but never actually tackled them deeply and that's why I certainly enjoyed WTSSS but I didn't absolutely 1000% love it like everyone else.

This is actually the same way I felt about Something Like Normal. I loved the narrator Travis, I loved the story, I finished it one literal sitting but I when I did finish, I was left feeling bereft. Same with WTSSS. I wanted moreWTSSS was also a one sitting read that I finished in like 4 hours so the book is rather short and that could have been part of the problem. Maybe if it would have been longer, the kidnapping and abuse issues would have been explored further but again, they were just explored at the surface level.

I did like the main character, Callie, and her journey. She drove me insane a lot of times but that's just made me like her more and I truly rooted for her. However, from the beginning of the story, Kat, a distant cousin of Callie's sits down next to her and befriends her. Kat is the caricature, cookie-cut sidekick/bestfriend that a lot of YA books have. She's not actually a character but she's a device that helps the main character grow or come to a realization of some sorts. This is not really a complaint to be honest because I'm so used to these types of characters. As a reader in general, this disappoints me because I want to see actual friendships but in WTSSS, I was just ehhh about it. I've come to expect these types of characters. The only thing that makes Kat worse than the other sidekick characters is that she's a cry baby. Good god. The screws to this girl's tear ducts are loose.

Now, the romance that's not actually a romance. I loved this type of "romance". It wasn't insta-love but insta-lust and Doller really handled it well. Hey, I'm ALL for this type of physical attraction thing because I want to see more diversity in relationships! I don't need a happily ever after! Girls in high school have multiple boyfriends, ya know? And those boyfriends are not always abusive and evil. Some girls have fun with boys and move on. It is time to kick the pure protagonist thing to the curb because it is unfuckinistic (NEW WORD! un-fucking-realistic) AND annoying. How are teen girls who've had boyfriends supposed to feel? No hot guy will sweep them off their feet for a happily ever after because they're easy and actually not that smart? Come on authors, you're better than that! Anyway that's an argument for a whole other day but point is, I'm glad that Doller showed us another side of relationships. Plus I liked the 4 year age difference between Alex and Callie. Because yeah, that happens and it's not wrong.

BUT. I was feeling this relationship between Alex and Callie all way up until Alex helps solve some of Callie's issues and it was whoa boyyyy hold up. I would have like to actually see more dialogue between Alex and Callie before they slay some trauma. It just came out of no where and I felt like it was weird and weak. Which just goes back to my main issue with the book: I did not feel like it was developed enough. WTSSS snorkeled with the issues at surface and never fully dive into the issues.

Ok after all that, it's time to talk about what I liked about WTSSS because I did LIKE THIS BOOK. I enjoyed reading it. I couldn't put it down. It was good book! I just really like the world Doller creates because she gets it right.

The setting was just absolutely and wonderfully fantastic. Doller transformed setting, which in most cases doesn't really matter, into something really significant. The Greek culture was also really wonderful. I loved loved loved loved loved loved reading about it! I just need to visit Tarpon Springs. Or move there (heh. I got my diving license this summer. I could go help hot Alex dive *wink*) I also liked seeing Callie build a relationship with her father, Greg, and her two young brothers. That was beautiful. Plus the ending was really fitting! A lot of people wouldn't be disappointed if they understood  that are different types relationships. Some readers I've become to accustomed to forever after love in YA. That's not good.

Overall, WTSSS is a good book. It really is. If I stop thinking about the book it could have been and look at the book it is, I can understand why so many people absolutely love it. I also do recommend WTSSS to any contemporary fans because it is well written and it is an enjoyable read. Plus I'll be reading the heck out of Doller's next release. However, I did have my issues with the overall development of the book which is why I merely liked it and not loved it.

Rating: [C+] For the book it is, WTSSS is certainly enjoyable but I can't stop thinking about the book it could have been and that would have been a legendary book. I just wanted more but at the end of the day, I truly did enjoy this book.

Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again.
The absence of shame is shaped like Alex Kosta and I don't want to let go of this feeling.
"I've been homeless almost my whole life, Kat. A few hours is not a long time."

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