Wednesday, September 25, 2013

ARC Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Title: Where the Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: 24 September, 2013
Source: Bloomsbury (UK&ANZ). Thank you!
Goodreads | The Reading Room

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.
Review by Nara

I've seen a lot of raving reviews for this book, but personally, while I enjoyed it I wouldn't say it's the best contemporary out there. There were just a few too many (what I saw to be) faults in there that decreased my enjoyment of the book. Don't get me wrong, it was still somewhat good. But for me, it just wasn't as amazing as many others seem to think.

So many people really like the romance. I thought the romance wasn't that great. Basically the two people hardly know each other at all, have pretty much not even had any proper conversations, and BAM, SEX. Also, since Callie is 17 and Alex is 22, BUDDY THAT IS STATUTORY RAPE (well, according to my "extensive" knowledge from year 12 legal studies, it is. Correct me if I'm wrong.) Seriously, that is not okay. (edit: looked it up, and looks like it's okay in the US. Apparently if you're under 24 it's okay if the other person is 16 or 17. I still don't like how quickly the relationship moved though.) I just really disliked how everything just happened so suddenly, and some of the lines were downright cringe worthy.
”And here I thought I was your first mermaid.”  
“Goddess,” he says. “You are my first goddess.”
I mean, I guess it was said in jest, but my gag reflex and I just couldn't take it.
Also, random, but this:
"Where would you go if you could go anywhere?"
"Australia, Polynesia, Central America, the Carribbean, the Galapagos..."
Seriously? Out of all of those places, you say Aussie first? Lol, there are so many more interesting places out there. Although I guess I might be biased because I actually live in Aussie :P And was I the only person who Google imaged all the different types of sponges they mentioned? I wanted to see what they looked like hehe.

The writing was actually quite good. Callie had a strong and realistic narrative voice, and I can see why people have said that they really feel for her/want to hug her etc etc, but for some reason that I can't quite put my finger on, I just couldn't connect with her. And I don't even think there were any particular characters that I liked. Kat- Callie's cousin and best friend- was just weird. The way she warns Callie to stay away from Alex was weird. The reasons behind why she warns Callie to stay away from Alex were also just weird. Alex being mad at Callie because of the mum thing was weird. Am I not saying the word weird enough? WEIRD.

Yeah, I'm probably the black sheep when it comes to this book. Just look at that Goodreads rating! So I'd still recommend it to people who are looking for a dramatic contemporary romance.

It was okay

Overall: 6/10
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 3/5
Cover: 4/5


  1. Hahaha oh Nara, Australia must seem so tropical to Americans lol! I'm pretty sure the legality of consented sex is when you are 16 for the girl. Anyway, great review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

    1. I think age of consent in Florida (where the book is set) is 18. But I had a look at the actual law, and it seems that it's fine if you're 16 or 17 as long as the other person is under 24. Still, the relationship just moved much too quickly for me, and honestly I couldn't really see them connecting. Eh, maybe that was just me though.

      lol I guess since he's a diver, he might want to go the the Great Barrier Reef. But still, those other exotic places sound so much more interesting!

  2. Duuuuude, I totally want to go to Australia. Plus, for someone in the US with wanderlust, Australia's basically the furthest you can possibly run from home, you know? I was shocked when I discovered Twitter and learned how much Australians hate Australia and don't think anyone should go there. lol

    About the romance, I really didn't like it at first, but I came around, mostly because of the way it ended. If it had been some HEA for all of time, then I wouldn't have lowered my rating for sure.

    1. haha I don't actually hate Aussie, but I guess it just isn't that interesting because I live here? I mean compared to the Caribbean or the Galapagos Islands or whatever. I don't necessarily think people shouldn't come here, but it is kinda boring :P The city where I live is dang boring anyway haha

  3. Sounds like insta-love. I don't think the age difference would bother me so much as the lack of relationship development before jumping into bed together.

    1. Yeah, I just didn't really like the development of the romance in general. I feel like it wasn't done that well.

  4. Nara, I WANT TO GO TO AUSTRALIA! Why do you have to hurt me so? I want to see kangaroos, koala bears and sugar gliders in the wild. Almost everyone in our office wants to go to Aus. It's a dream. Bwahahahaha.

    I've read Megan's review of this and she gave it a 4-star rating I think. And you gave it a three. Not bad if I'm going to sum it up and get the average. I will still include this on my TBB list and see for myself.

    Thank you Nara for being the black sheep. Makes me more cautious in approaching this one. :D

    1. Where I live there are so many koalas it's ridiculous (I live kind of near the wild foresty areas of my city). I probably see at least one a day :P They kind of lose their novelty after seeing so many haha.

      I would definitely still give it a go- you might end up really liking it! It just wasn't the book for me I think :)

  5. I have heard some really great things about this book and honestly many said it was full of feelings and I love that. I don't like what I hear about that relationship. Somehow it seems to me everything happened too fast. Great review.

    1. Yeah, it was quite fast, and there are reasons for that, I guess, but I still didn't like it. I'd still recommend it to people, because a lot of people have really liked it!

  6. OMG I FEEL SO BAD THAT I HAVEN'T VISITED. SORRY LOVELIES! Anywho, I wasn't a fan of this book either, I gave it 1.5 stars this is actually the first 3 star review I've read and I agree with pretty much everything there. The romance did not work for me at. all.

    Great review! <33

    1. haha that's cool, Mel! I think I've been commenting a lot less these days as well. So much work to do- stupid exams are coming up soon :(
      Yeah, the romance was definitely lacking. I guess I can see why other people have liked it, but it just wasn't for me. And it obviously wasn't for you either :P

  7. I really hope I love this one. You had some points that I feel would bother me too, such as the instant relationship, but I still have some high expectations. Thanks for the honest review!

    1. Yeah I hope you like it too! A looooot of people have loved the book, so it might work out for you too :)

  8. This is the 2nd review today that didn't love this book. Hmmm. I didn't realize it had such an age gap either. But still, I look forward to trying it out myself. :)

    1. Yeah I'd definitely still recommend that people give it a try, because this might just be a case where it didn't work out for me, but it still works for others :)

  9. So sad you didn't like this one, Nara! Though I guess I can see where you're coming from, because in ordinary circumstances, the issues you pointed out most likely would have bothered me to no end, but for some reason, they didn't in this book. I have zero idea why. O_O

    "Basically the two people hardly know each other at all, have pretty much not even had any proper conversations, and BAM, SEX." - I think this was because of Callie's upbringing. She and her mom have been traveling from place to place, and let's face it: her mom isn't the best of role models out there, so I think it was only natural for Callie to pick up some of bad "habits." There's no one to tell her that sleeping with any one stranger is wrong, and *cough* Alex WAS pretty damn good looking (even though he's twenty-two), and it was probably her way of coping with her new life - by doing something she's done before. Sleeping with strangers. I don't know. That's just the reason I thought was pretty reasonable, heh.

    But NARA. Why did you have to burst my happy bubble?! So many of my friends over here - myself included - want to visit Australia so badly. They want to study there, and even live there! Though I've heard a lot of people say that the cost of living there is incredibly high. Yikes.

    "The writing was actually quite good. Callie had a strong and realistic narrative voice, and I can see why people have said that they really feel for her/want to hug her etc etc" - This was me. But yeah, I agree with you about Kat. Well, not so much about her weirdness, but that she was kind of cliche. You know, the stereotypical best friend who's always there for you even though you hurt her? Don't get me wrong, I liked her, but I didn't find her particularly memorable. Alex and Callie all the way, haha!

    Great review, Nara! Hopefully your next book will be better. :)

    1. haha yeah I read your review and saw that you'd absolutely loved it, but I hadn't really liked it that much and was like :/

      Yeah, there definitely were reasons behind why she did the things she did, but that didn't mean that I liked it, if that makes sense. I felt like the romance was rushed a bit too much.

      hahaha yeah, I think the cost of food and stuff is quite high. Books are pretty expensive too (which is why I buy 95% of my books online). It's fine to visit Australia, it's just that would you seriously rather come here than go to the Caribbean or something?! Well, you can pat some kangaroos at least lol

      I think the whole book wasn't particularly memorable for me. To be honest, I've forgotten most of it by now :P Although that might just be because my book memory is crappy in general haha

  10. My eyes widened by A LOT when you mentioned that really quick relationship and that could-be rape. WHAT. I WASN'T EXPECTING THAT! NOOO. ):
    And pshh, I'll totally say Aussie first too. I want to go Australia for all the different book covers sold there. Yeah, I'm a cover freak. ;D
    Great review Nara & don't worry! I'll probably be like you, not that satisfied with Where the Stars Still Shine because of the romance. -shudders-

    1. wow people actually do want to come here haha. It's the lure of the kangaroos! :P
      Yeah, the romance was quite fast, and I didn't really feel like I could support it. I don't know...

  11. OOH, Nara, you rebel! I too just came from another raving review of this book, but I've been in a similar position (have you ever read Easy by Tammara Webber? I enjoyed that, but I thought the same: not the best out there even though eveeerrryone seemed to love).

    AH hahaha, I had a feeling you were going to point out the romance! The other review said that they got physically intimate pretty quickly. I can see how you'd dislike everything happening so suddenly, and I don't know how I'd react -- a part of me says, eh, while the other part is very much agreeing with what you've written -- but I can also see how that works for the story. I imagine with the intensity of the trauma and dealing that it's very... cope-y. If that makes sense. Like in the Duff by Kody Keplinger. Does the MC have another way to vent? Or does the romance become that sort thing on the side that distracts from the rest?

    I'm not a huge fan of that quote either :(. I hate pet names like that or calling someone goddess or siren or all that stuff. They do that a bunch in some other romances I've read and meerrr..

    LOL Prejudiced against Australia :P. AHHHHHH Nope, you live in Australia? Can I come visit you? Have you ever read Stolen by Lucy Christopher? It's coming up soon for me, and I hear it makes Australia sound utterly gorgeous, so I can understand putting Australia first :P.

    Eh, sounds like the book just lacked that special spark for you. Sometimes even with the best of writing, you can't make up for the face that you just didn't connect with the characters.

    You may be the black sleep but it's okay :P I won't judge. And maybe one day, I'll actually get around to reading this and come back and compare notes...

  12. So it's not that good... Hm, I quite like weird characters, and I've thought about picking this up, but now I'm not so sure... But at least the writing is good and that sponge thing sounds...interesting :)