Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Posted September 25, 2013 in Review / 3 Comments

where the stars still shineWhere the Stars Still Shine
By Trish Doller
Published September 24th, 2013
Bloomsbury Childrens
308 pages
Young Adult | Contemporary | Romance
Source: Received from Bloomsbury (via NetGalley) in exchange for an unbiased review (Thank you!)




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About the Book:

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.

This is my first book by Trish Doller and I’m quite impressed.  I was a little apprehensive about reading the more “real”, “honest”, and grittier stories she writes.  I read to get as far away as I can from real life.

I kind of knew going in that there may not be a happy ever after (HEA).  I always want that HEA or else I feel like I’ve gotten no closure.  But that wouldn’t be real life, would it?  So I shrugged off my comfort zone and dove in.  My book-risk was completely rewarded!

Story / Tempo

Callie lives a completely unconventional life.  She’s on the run with her mother as they live their lives off the radar with fake identities.  They move on to new towns at her mother’s whim.  Callie has no supervision and finds herself in the position of being the more responsible one between her and her mother.  And she has a horrible secret she can’t tell anyone because she knows no one will believe her.

It’s when their luck runs out and Callie’s mom is arrested that Callie has to learn what it takes to be part of a big crazy family, a reluctant friend, a very loved daughter, a big sister, and someone who is loved.  Yep, that about sums up the entire story right there!

I actually read this book in one day so you know it gets my stamp of “no lull” approval on that fact alone.  I will warn you, Callie is quite promiscuous so there is quite a bit “no-commitment” sex – if that kind of behavior in kids makes you kind of squeamish.  Me?  I know it happens and there’s actually a very real reason why Callie is this way.  But it’s for you to decide, as the reader, if the sex IS gratuitous or if this relationship is the real thing.  Very smart, Ms. Doller, very smart, indeed…


As I alluded to before, Callie has grown up on the run, has had no parental supervision in her life, and it’s led to all sort of chaos in her mind and in her heart.  It’s going to take a lot of healing for this girl to trust anyone again.  You’ll have to read for yourself whether she ends up being the poster child for the nature or nurture side of the child rearing argument.  Thank goodness those crazy Greeks know how to love their families (I have Greek friends, I can say this from experience).

Speaking of crazy Greeks, I haven’t mentioned the love interest in this story yet, have I?  Alex, from all appearances, is the resident bad-boy and womanizer.  He immediately catches Callie’s eye and doesn’t let go.  He’s a crazy flirt and I think that’s what I loved most about him.  I would talk more about the growth of his character and how he ended up being a pretty big part of the story but I think it might spoil the book.

I think what I enjoyed most throughout this story was how Callie had to figure out where she fit in with her new, pre-made family and the tortured relationship between Callie and her father, who she hasn’t had a relationship with since she was 5 years old.  Of course she didn’t get along with her step-mother, that’s a given in fiction.  But I think it’s hard to try and fit in someplace when you don’t even know the rules or social customs of just being “normal”.  You’re bound to make a million mistakes.

Do I wish there was another book after this one?  Maybe a novella?  HELL YEAH!  Do I think it will add to the story?  Not quite sure.  Was it a perfect ending to the story?  Probably.   But my heart has a completely different ending it likes to imagine.  Both endings are perfect.  I’m definitely a fan of Ms. Doller and it has nothing to do with her being a fellow Buckeye alum…






Trish DollerAbout the Author:

I’ve been a writer as long as I’ve been able to write, but I didn’t make a conscious decision to “be” a writer until fairly recently. For that you should probably be thankful.

I was born in Germany, grew up in Ohio, went to college at Ohio State University, got married to someone really excellent, bounced from Maine to Michigan and back to Ohio for awhile. Now I live in Florida with my two mostly grown kids, two dogs, and a pirate. For real.

I’ve worked as a morning radio personality, a newspaper reporter, and spent all my summers in college working at an amusement park. There I gained valuable life skills, including counting money really fast, directing traffic, jumping off a moving train, and making cheese-on-a-stick. Also, I can still welcome you to Frontier Town. Ask me sometime.

These days I work as a bookseller at a Very Big Bookstore. And I write.

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About Kristin

Kristin has to ensure she gets her minimal requirement of "happily ever after" books in between those books that contain cliffhangers and never-ending story arcs. It's for her family's sake. When not reading, she's homeshooling her 10-year old son, watching cartoons on TV, or taking a nap.

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