Sunday, 6 October 2013

Review: Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where the Stars Still ShineWhere the Stars Still Shine

Author: Trish Doller
Series: -
Pages: 308
Genre: New Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release date: 24th September 2013

Synopsis (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.

Review: 4 out of 5 stars

Where the Stars Still Shine follows the story of Seventeen year-old Callie who was stolen from her family – by her mother and has been on the run and never settling down for over ten years so when the laws finally catches up, Callie is sent to live in a small Florida town with her father who is now re-married and her step-brothers. Callie has to get reacquainted with her Greek heritage and her new family who loves her as well as start school and make friends. 

My heart broke for Callie who was able to re-assimilate to normal life relatively fast but not without many problems and obstacles, she was feisty and at times downright rude but considering what she had been through I was able to overlook this aspect. There were a lot of changes in her new setting – a larger than life Greek family, some wonderful friends and a potential love interest, it didn’t come easily for her after living most of her life neglected but with the love of family she slowly progressed from shielding herself to letting others in.

I really enjoyed the romance which was a big part of this book; Alex Kostas is a sponge diver who is misunderstood but I thought her was absolutely wonderful! He was gentle, kind and understanding with Callie and respected her as a person rather than the object she believed herself to be. Their relationship wasn’t all sweet as Alex had his own personal demons but it was believable which I appreciated and they came to support one another in a way others didn’t seem to understand.

As much as I liked Callie and Alex, Callie’s dad Greg shone for me with his thoughtfulness, compassion and his absolute love for his daughter and family, his wife Phoebe, sons Joe and Tucker as well as yiayoúla and Kat were just as amazing.

I was completely engaged in this story and the fast paced events which show Callie’s progression as she comes to adapt slowly to her new life and realise what she has missed out on because of her stolen childhood; it was a poignant, heartfelt story with the promise of happiness after heartache.

Overall, I really enjoyed Where the Stars Still Shine with its wonderful setting of Tarpon Springs and a subject matter that is difficult but dealt with by the author in a believable manner. I was emotionally spent at the end of this book but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.

About the author (from Trish Dollars website): 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.


  1. I don't always read contemps, but every time I've been in the bookstore lately I've been drawn to this one. I love the cover, and it sounds like a good read. Thanks for the review :)

    1. Thanks Lizzy :) the cover is beautiful and it was really entertaining. I hope you get a chance to read it.

  2. I'm so glad to hear that you enjoyed Where the Stars Still Shine as much as I did, Sharon. I knew it would be a great book because Trish Doller is an amazing writer.
    I agree that although Callie could be rude at times, it's easy to understand her behavior considering her situation.
    I also loved her family, especially her dad, more than anyone else in the book.
    Lovely review, Sharon!

    1. Thanks Nick! her dad was awesome, I could really sympathise with Callie even though her attitude was sucky at times.

  3. I have read so many positive reviews for this one, and I am most curious. Even though I am totally burned out on the emotional reads, this is a book that I do want to read as I have heard great things about the writing. I am glad you enjoyed it! Sorry I have been absent busy weekend!

    1. Hi Heidi, I can sympathise - our weekends have also been crazy! :) the writing in this is wonderful and even though it is emotional I found the positives outweighed it.

  4. This does sound like an emotional story. I have to gear myself up for those, but it does sound like this one ends on a happy note. I hate the ones that end sadly. Wonderful review.

    1. Thanks Ellen, I was hesitant initially because I am sooo over emotional stories but I found myself really enjoying this.

  5. This really was such a lovely read, wasn't it? I adored Alex :D

  6. I was very encouraged to find this site. I wanted to thank you for this special read. I definitely savored every little bit of it and I have bookmarked you to check out new stuff you post.
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  7. I do need read a lot of Ya contemporaries but this sounds like it was well done and quite emotional. I am glad the author did a good job with it. Thanks Sharon for sharing it.


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