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.
By turns heartbreaking and hopeful, this sweet and sexy romance offers a whole new take on happily ever after…
First Sentence: Yellow light slashes the darkness as Mom sneaks into the apartment again.
Simply put: Where the Stars Still Shine was a huge disappointment.
I enjoyed reading Trish Doller’s Something Like Normal. It was heartwarming, emotional, and made me tear up like crazy because of all the feels. When I heard that she was writing a new book – Where the Stars Still Shine – I knew, without a doubt, that I would read it as soon as I got my hands on it. To make things even better, Where the Stars Still Shine focused on a topic I’m really interested in – what if you’re kidnapped as a kid and then returned back to your family? What happens then?
Grandchild, daughter, friend, a girl a normal boy would date – a growing list of people I don’t know how to be. (76-77)
The main character Callie in Where the Stars Still Shine is impossible to like. Yeah, I felt sorry for her and what she had to go through. I also knew that I am supposed to feel sorry for her throughout the book, but the problem is, I just didn’t. Callie’s story didn’t tug on my heartstrings, it didn’t even make me tear up once. Instead, Callie made me feel constantly annoyed throughout the book. It was so hard to sympathize with Callie – who could really sympathize with someone who lashes out at innocent people because they were lucky enough that they weren’t kidnapped as a kid? Callie’s habit of implicitly reminding people that she wasn’t as lucky as them also rubs me the wrong way. It’s not like they will ever forget that, especially after spending years looking for her.
I can’t sit here and pretend I’m a normal girl when my whole life has been so f—ed up. Greg and Phoebe haven’t slept in the backseat of their car, or eaten all their meals from a vending machine because their mothers forgot to buy groceries. And the only monsters Tucker and Joe will ever have to contend with are the imaginary kind that are banished in the light. (37-38)
There were parts of the book where you were supposed to feel sorry for Callie because people hurt her (in their defense, they don’t know they hurt her because Callie is more sensitive than other people because she was kidnapped when she was a child). However, during the parts where you were supposed to feel sorry for Callie and her entire situation, sympathizing with her, I felt sorry for the people who not knowingly hurt her instead, something I think that the author did not intend for us readers to feel. It’s just being around Callie is like you’re constantly walking on eggshells – you just don’t know what little thing can tick her off in a big way.
I’ve also heard from other people that Where the Stars Still Shine has insta-love in it, and that made me very nervous. I went into the book hoping for the best and hoping that maybe, just maybe, I won’t see it that way, but I was wrong – Callie and Alex’s relationship is based on insta-love. Remember when I said in my review of 3:59 by Gretchen McNeil that 3:59 has the worse insta-love ever? Well, I take that back, Where the Stars Still Shine has the worse case of insta-love ever. Why? Well, to make matters even worse (like insta-love wasn’t bad enough already), Callie and Alex’s relationship is based on their looks alone. Callie likes Alex because he’s mega-hot, so hot that girls drool over him all the time. Alex likes Callie because she’s hot too. When they first had sex, they literally knew nothing about each other except for how they looked like and each other’s name.
Except this time I lie back on the seat, looking at him from upside down, and wonder if this is how my mom felt when she first met Greg. About how quickly someone can go from being a stranger to someone you feel as if you can’t do without. (261)
I honestly don’t know why Alex likes Callie. Alex is depicted as a guy that can get any girl he wants; he sleeps with them and then leaves them. When Callie appears into his life, suddenly, he’s all into Callie and only Callie. Alex can care less about any other girl. What makes Callie so special, that by one glance, one look, he falls in love with her? Is it because she’s “hot” like other people said she is?
Which brings me to my next point – I feel that Where the Stars Still Shine makes a huge deal on how you look and whether you’re pretty or not. It’s a constant theme that runs throughout the book: Callie and Alex’s relationship revolves around how they look as explained above, Kat (a character from the book) is obsessed with her looks and applying makeup, Connor is instantly interested in dating Callie the second he saw her because she’s hot (don’t worry, there’s no love triangle here), and the importance of switching clothes and putting on makeup at a friend’s house because your parents refuses to let you dress like that. Basically, Where the Stars Still Shine revolves around pretty people and the importance of being pretty, giving me the sense that it’s trying to give off the message that it’s important to be pretty or else no one will like you or something along the lines of that.
As for the whole being kidnapped as a kid and brought back years later plot of Where the Stars Still Shine, I felt that it has been done already. Throughout the book, I felt like I read a similar book/watched a similar movie or television show that has the exact same plot that Where the Stars Still Shine has.
[MILD] SPOILER: Has anyone else read a book or watched a television show or movie where the mother kidnaps the child and was caught by the police for her kidnapping crime because she drove a stolen car/drove a car without a license plate/was speeding in the car too fast? And then the mother was sent to jail, let out for some reason (like bail), and comes back to stalk her daughter/son? That sounds very familiar to me and no, it’s not because that’s the plot of Where the Stars Still Shine.
Overall, Where the Stars Still Shine was a huge disappointment, especially when you compare it to Trish Doller’s first book, Something Like Normal. Where the Stars Still Shine is the book where I found myself lowering it’s rating more and more as I type up my review.
Will I recommend this book? No, unless you don’t mind insta-love and the points I made in my review. Will I read any other books written by Trish Doller? Not likely.