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. – Goodreads
My life with my dear friend Erica is based on few things: a little bit of food, a lot of snark and book recommendations. Erica has never recommended me a book that I didn’t like. It’s a joke between us by this point because she has such spot on recommendations for me it’s nice.
This book was no different. I resisted reading it for months because it wasn’t a me book and what if I hated it? How could I look Erica in the face if I hated it? My worries were silly and not needed. Where the Stars Still Shine sucked me in right away. For various reasons. The first is this is a story I cannot remember reading before. What happens when you’re on the run with your mom and you get caught and are sent back to your father who always loved you and is trying? Callie’s mom has always loved her in her own way, but she was also a mom on the run who often looked out for herself and only herself. While Callie hates to think of her mom as selfish, she ultimately was selfish and now Callie has a dad who is trying to love her while not scaring her away.
It is a world that Callie really doesn’t know what to do with. She doesn’t know how to function when not on the run and putting down roots is something that confuses her. Why does she want to become comfortable with people if she she’ll just leave? Callie’s family loves her and seems to all live in this new city where her father lives. It’s the type of small town where everyone seems related but it’s big enough that people can still date.
While Callie adjust to having a dad, his wife and two brothers, she also has to adjust to the giant Greek family she comes from. The giant family who while thrilled she is back, is not only waiting for her to crack like her mother did, also wants her to be the child she was when she left and she’s not. If Callie is being honest with herself, she doesn’t know who she is. She has a cousin who jumps into the role of BFF, even though Callie didn’t ask, and the boy, Alex, that everyone asks her to stay away from but she doesn’t, because Callie has had to fend for herself for so long and have so many walls up, she doesn’t know any different.
This book swept me up and I didn’t want it to end. I hate that I feared it, because there was nothing to fear, it was everything I ask for in a YA novel: family, friends, finding yourself, love and the not perfect ending, but one with hope.