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{May 5, 2014}   {Review} Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still ShineFrom Goodreads: 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 picked up this novel on whim when I read the synopsis–it reminded me very much of one of my favorite novels, If You Find Me, so I just had to read it, and I was pleased to note from the start that it’s a very well written novel.  Focusing on Callie as she tries to make sense of her disheveled life and figure out where her loyalties truly lie, a feat no child or teenager should have to experience, Doller hooks her readers from the very first page, and as the story begins to unfold, it’s raw emotion will open a special spot in the readers heart for Callie.

For the past 12 years, Callie has been moving from place to place with her mother, a haggard, chain-smoking woman who changes her mind with the sunrise—always on the move. Callie has never been to school, she’s never known stability, and she’s never really missed it–that is, until her mother is caught during a traffic stop and Callie is reunited with her father and her family, a group of people she doesn’t know or remember. Suddenly, Callie has a stable home, two little brothers, a doting if not suffocating family, a best friend, a job, and even a love interest.

Torn between the woman who has raised her and the family she didn’t know she had, Callie has some extremely difficult choices to make. She has been hurt; hurt a lot in her life. As you can imagine, her mother has had many “lovers,” and one, Frank, was a little too “caring” for the 8 year old Callie. And as it would for any who experience abuse, it haunts Callie both day and night, causing her to be wary when it comes to trust of other.  Thankfully, Doller does not provide graphic detail, but the reader definitely knows what happened to Callie, and it helps explain the not so great decisions she’s made in the past and that and continues to make as the story unfolds.  Her entire understanding of love is tainted, having seen her mother’s strange definition of it, and this novel is ultimately one of healing as Callie’s learns what it means to be truly loved, and to love back.

I really loved the characterization and depth of this novel, and I also enjoyed that it takes place in Tarpon Springs FL. While I haven’t spent much time there, I’ve been through the area on a few occasions, and I have spent much time in Bradenton, so I was able to vividly imagine many of the scenes within the novel–something I usually can’t do because I have zero imagination.  This really brought the story to life for me, and I felt like I was right there with Callie, seeing through her eyes, which made it such an intriguing read.

The addition of a Greek family was awesome, and I loved getting to know them, seeing the ins and outs of their family and town, and it reminded me a little bit of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in terms of the family relationships, minus some of the humor, because this is a much more serious tale.

Overall, this is a beautiful tale that I highly recommend.  Four stars.

4 stars

I purchased this novel from Amazon:

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble


Look up “If You Find Me” by Emily Murdoch. I think you’d like it since you enjoyed this one :)

Thanks! You can see my review of If You Find Me by Murdoch here:

You were one step ahead of me! lol I’ll check it out

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