Review: Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Book Title: Where The Stars Still Shine
Author: Trish Doller
Release Date: September 24th, 2013
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: YA/ Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Synopsis from 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.

Disclaimer: I bought this book with my birthday money.

Review:
Oh my goodness, this story was beautiful and full of those all important feels. I was hoping that I wouldn’t be disappointed by this book and I wasn’t. It was beautifully written from start to finish. This was the first Trish Doller book that I have ever read but it absolutely will not be my last.

Callie has been on the run with her mother since she was little, so the only loyalty she feels is to her mother. Yet when her mother is finally arrested for kidnapping, Callie is forced to go live with a father she doesn’t remember and her two half brothers and stepmom, Phoebe.In Florida she also meets her cousin Kat, who is part of this huge Greek family that Callie doesn’t remember.

She isn’t ready to just abandon all thoughts of her mother and change her loyalties to her father and stepmom. Yet she cannot deny that it feels good to belong somewhere. It feels good knowing that people care about her and don’t want her running around by herself. It isn’t until she meets Phoebe’s brother, Alex, that she begins to realize that all guys aren’t like the ones she knew before.

Alex isn’t the guy who stole her innocence at 8 years old. It takes Callie awhile to believe that there are good guys out there and that every guy isn’t just after one thing. I know a lot pf people had issues with both her attitude and how she kinda just slept with any guy who wanted her.She had very little experience with guys. After all the only guys she would meet were the middle-aged pervs that leered at her.

Her attitude towards sex was pretty cavalier but I think the experience with her mother’s boyfriend had really screwed up her self esteem. Being with Alex actually raised her self esteem. By the end of the book, she knew that she deserved better. She knew that she was worth something.Watching that transformation in Callie was something really special.

I loved Alex. I mean he was wonderful and sweet and kind to Callie. My favorite part between them was near the end when she told him exactly what had happened to her. He didn’t look at her any differently. He didn’t view her as “trash” or “dirty” or “sick” He saw the same girl. He saw Callie exactly as she deserved to be seen. What he did for his mother in the end was beautiful and I cried. He had his own demons but he was able to put them aside for his mother. A guy who is devoted to his mother is something special.

While this book was pretty damn near perfection, there were lulls in the book. Parts that didn’t exactly bore me but were on the slow side. I guess that was a good thing as it gave me time to dry the tears that showed up.I really enjoyed this book and it’s seriously on the cusp of love for me. So it’s getting 4.5 stars. A near PERFECT read for me. I would absolutely recommend it to pretty much anyone.

Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

Book Title: Maybe One Day
Author: Melissa Kantor
Publish Date: February 18th, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA/Contemporary
Standalone
Book Link: Goodreads
Pre-Order Link: AmazonBarnes & Noble
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

Disclaimer: I received this e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:
Bare with me here as there’s bound to be a lot of tears that I will disguise as allergies while I write this review.This book was pretty much near perfection for me. As a child I gravitated towards the fictional works of Lurlene McDaniel and Melissa Kantor’s Maybe One Day is right in that very same vein. Actually I would argue that they are extremely similar in a lot of ways. The way Maybe One Day sounded was not at all unlike Lurlene McDaniel’s work fifteen or so years ago.

Zoe and Olivia were more than just best friends. They were sisters, not bound by blood,but by love and friendship.Their friendship made me jealous. I wished so badly that I could have had a friend like that at their age.They were there for each other in way that their parents and families couldn’t understand. Olivia’s mother had the most problems with the friendship. It was implied that Adriana Greco didn’t believe that Zoe was a good influence on her daughter.

Once Olivia starts treatment, it becomes very clear how Mrs. Greco sees Zoe. She sees her daughter’s best friend as “just a visitor” That was heartbreaking. No one wants to think that their best friend’s mom doesn’t like them. It becomes clear what Mrs. Greco’s motive is. She’s gone into protective mama bear mode. Her entire existence has turned into keeping her immuno-compromised daughter as healthy and germ free as possible.

Back to Zoe and Olivia though, Zoe is the perfect friend. She’s unbelievably supportive and she spends hours upon hours visiting Olivia in the hospital.Hospital visits are something no teenager should have to do.Yet Zoe does it.She stays unfailingly loyal to Olivia despite the fact that they are living two different lives.

That loyalty is tested when Zoe finds herself dancing and kissing the boy who Olivia has been crushing on. Zoe takes it a step further by not telling Olivia about it until later, a lot later.I am really, really glad that the inkling of romance was just that, an inkling. I think any more romance would have taken away from the beautiful story of friendship that Melissa Kantor had so carefully crafted.  

I loved, LOVED that both girls had family units that were fully immeshed in the book. That’s a new YA trend that I am loving. In the past, the families of YA characters have been difficult to spot in a book. I really liked Olivia’s brother Jake.He was an amazing brother to Olivia and friend to Zoe. Sometimes the friendship between brother and sister’s best friend seems forced,but not in this case.

This book was a very emotional read and by the end of it I was crying so hard I couldn’t breathe. I was sobbing pretty loudly and violently. Yes apparently there is a way to sob violently.All the feels in this book were intense and amazing. This book will definitely be on my list of my favorite books of 2014. It should come as no surprise that I’m giving this book, the full 5 stars.If I could give it six stars, I would.Everyone should go pre-order this book now.I plan on pre-ordering a finished copy for myself.