Where The Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Where The Stars Still Shine
Written by Trish Doller
Contemporary, Romance
Published August 1st 2015
368 Pages
Thank you to Bloomsbury Australia
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RATING ★★★★
Stolen as a child from a large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has no idea what normal life might be like. She's never had a home or gone to school, and she gets most of her meals from vending machines.

Then 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 small town Florida. Now she must find a way to leave the past behind and 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.

This searing story of love and betrayal will resonate with readers who want stories that are gritty and utterly true.
Callie's life has been a series of ramshackle houses, a few belongings thrown into an old suitcase and life on the run with her mother. She barely remembers leaving her life in Florida more than ten years ago, her mother claiming her father never loved her as a child and only wanted her in his life to spite her mother. But Callie is about to realise the life she's been living for the last ten years is a lie. As her mother faces a prison sentence, now seventeen year old Callie is returned to the small Florida seaside town, to a big family who have mourned her absence. 

The years on the run have left Callie untrusting and she isn't ready to become someone elses daughter, no matter how much she's been missed. But her father isn't the unloving parent Callie's mother painted him as and all he wants is his daughter to feel safe a loved, a concept foreign to life with her mother in which she was left unprotected. Callie now has a place to call home and a chance at a normal life. With friends, family and finds herself falling for the local diver and tour guide in Alex.

But when her mother is paroled, Callie will be left with the ultimate decision, whether to return to life on the run or stay with the family that was so cruelly ripped from her.

MY THOUGHTS

The one thing I've noticed about Trish Doller's writing style, is that she can capture your attention within a few pages and holds you captive until you turn that final page. Callie has lived her life out of a suitcase, often taking off in the middle of the night at the insistence of her mother. Over ten years ago, Callie was stolen from her father, a man her mother claims only ever wanted her daughter to spite her. With no regard for Callie's safety, she brings home a multitude of men to entertain, one now being the cause of Callie's night terrors. Feeding herself from vending machines, having never been to high school, Callie has taught herself from old textbooks often while fleeing from town to town. It isn't until her mother is pulled over for a routine traffic check, that Callie is plucked from the side of the road and moved back to the lazy seaside town in Florida with her legal guardian, her father. Her father has since remarried, has had two boys of his own and is but one of a large Greek family, all who have been missing her terribly since she was taken.

Reminding me a little of My Big Fat Greek Wedding in parts, I loved Callie's big, loud, extended family. They accepted her into the fold, flaws and all. Her cousin and newly appointed best friend Kat has big pans for Callie, including setting her up with a nice guy to double date. But it's local womanising diver Alex that has caught Callie's eye. Alex is lovely, not at all what the rumours from cousin Kat has painted him by and is as attracted to Callie as she is to him. But Alex is a troubled young man and before Callie realises, she'll be mixed up in his troubles with his family. Driving a wedge between them.

THE VERDICT

Trish Doller is a remarkable author, creating engaging and entertaining storylines that readers can resonate with. Like The Devil You Know, you'll find yourself reading long into the night. Her characters are incredibly vivid, flawed, yet likable and most importantly relatable. Trish is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors and looking forward to seeing what she is working on next.

33 comments

  1. Lovely review! Oh, I thought the exact thing about My Big Fat Greek Wedding, actually. I was surprised at how much I liked this one, because a) as you probably know, I'm not the world's BIGGEST contemporary fan, and b) the general storyline just didn't sounds like something I'd like. But I'm looking forward to seeing more of what Trish Doller comes out with. :)

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    1. It was just really lovely, and loved that it didn't have that excess drama that most young adult contemporaries seem to have. I really was expecting one of them to get the Windex out though.

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  2. Girrlllll I'm loving the sound of this book! And the fact that you say it reminded you of Big Fat Freek Wedding? I'm sold! I loved the movie and I'm in need of a good laugh. The most important part for me in a book is that the characters are relatable,vivid, and flawed. If not..well you can just hang it up! :) awesome review girl! :)

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    1. Thanks Keionda. It did have that same kind of feel, but without the constant humour though. I'm a huge fan of flawed characters too, I'm so sick of seeing a prim and polished protagonist. One that struggles and occasionally falls apart is so much more realistic and relatable.

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  3. OH I LOVE BIG FAMILIES, can't wait to read this. I've never actually seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding but...maybe I should watch it haha. Definitely can't wait to start reading :D

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    1. Oh, you should definitely watch it poppet, so brilliantly funny. I'm from a big family and although we're not Greek, I can see the similarities with the European in laws. This is just a genuinely lovely book and looking forward to seeing what you think of it.

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  4. Great review! This book sounds amazing! The characters sound fantastic. I have not heard of this one yet and I am going to definitely add it to my TBR list.

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    1. It's a wonderful read Cooper. Trish is quickly becoming one of my favourite YA authors and once I start one of her titles, I just can't put it down. Incredibly addictive.

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  5. I haven't read anything by Doller yet but I hear great things. Plus I'm loving the sound of all the family dynamics, which is something you don't see too much in YA. Characters can make or break a book and it seems like this book has an amazing cast of them. I'm really curious about Alex. Very nice review :)

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    1. There's just something about her writing, even being simplistic that keeps me enthralled and unable to put down Alise. This one was really lovely and I loved Alex's character. He seemed to be a cliche according to the rumours, but he truly wasn't and added the swoon aspect as well.

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  6. AWK. I loved the Greekiness of this. (Greekiness is totally a word. tOTALLY.) I, um, wasn't a real fan of the rest, but I'm glad you loved it! :D

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    1. Greekness is totally a word, no matter what the red line underneath it tells you when you're typing. It IS.

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  7. I enjoyed this one as well, even though Callie was hard to take at times. Totally get that MBFGW reference. :)

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    1. Did you put some Windex on it Joy?

      Yeah, she was a bit too abrasive and her relationship with her mother was so destructive, I couldn't understand why she was firstly so against wanting the home her father offered her. It's something her mother would never give her and she was practically biting the hand that fed her. I was so glad when she snapped out of it. The mother needed a kick up the ass, that's for sure.

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  8. I absolutely loved what you had to say about Trish Doller's writing because it's so true. She really does have a knack for pulling you into her books. This one was a great read for me and I loved her big loud family too.
    Beautiful review, Kelly! :)

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    1. She just grabs you and you end up reading entirely in one sitting. This is my second Trish Doller book, and my goodness, they're impossible to put down!

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  9. Oooo, this kind of reminds me of Emmy & Oliver, but not as down to earth and more thriller like. I have also yet to read anything by Trish Doller, so maybe I'll keep my eye out for this one!

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    1. Ooh, I haven't read that one yet poppet, I'll have to grab a copy. But YES! Trish Doller is fabulous. Definitely grab a copy of one of her titles, they're so immersive.

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  10. Woah this book definitely sounds intense eith the womanising and sleepinf around on both the parents side. The big family hijinks sound like fun though!

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    1. The parents were very much separated, but the father remarried and the mother had the string of one night stands with losers. Her father was actually a really lovely guy who was able to give her what she needed and emotional support as well. Overall, it was a really lovely read Jeann. Trish Doller is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors.

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  11. Where The Stars Still Shine sounds wonderfully charming Kelly! I so appreciate author's who write on a deeply personal level and where you are able to find those moving moments within a story that linger well with you. I can't think of any reason not to look into this one! Lovely review <3

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    1. Thanks Claudia. It really was a great read, I enjoyed it immensely. Looking forward to seeing you grab a copy.

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  12. This sounds like a great read. It sounds as if there are a lot of layers there which is great given the complexity of relationships and families!

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    1. It truly is. Trish Doller is fast becoming one of my favourite authors, and this one is was really lovely.

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  13. I've heard of Trish Dollar before but I've forgotten which book she authored that I was fangirling over for a while. Still, this one sounds like a feels-filled read indeed. Callie seems like such a strong and complex character and the whole big family thing is definitely an obvious READ ME sign. Haha. Lovely review Kelly!

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    1. Thanks Mawa. I love lighter contemporaries, it helps break up the heaviness of so many dystopian and fantasy books I tend to read. She's an incredible author and really knows how to tell a story, while luring you in until the final page.

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  14. My Big Fat Greek Wedding is one of my favorite movies! Just the mention of it in your review completely sold me! Adding this to my TBR! Lovely review, Kelly! :D

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    1. Thanks Blessie. That one is a favourite of mine too.

      Just put some Windex on it.

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  15. Ooooh, that definitely is a very interesting premise. Reminds me somehow of another book, Emmy and Oliver - Oliver was kidnapped by his father and lived a different life for so many years thinking his mother left him, only to later be found by the authorities and given back to his mother who has since remarried. I loved the dynamics, the realness of the situation and the feelings involved by all parties and I want to see how that will be handled here!

    Faye at The Social Potato

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    1. I've seen that one around Faye and they arepretty similar. I think in comparison, Where The Stars Still Shine is much lighter, not as oppressing a read thankfully. I'd love to see what you think of it Faye.

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  16. Did you say big, extended family? *Adds the book to TBR list* I need to read this book then! I love stories which give importance to family!
    Wonderful review Kelly, and you're not helping me in reducing my TBR pile at all!:)

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  17. Glad you loved Stars! Trish Doller is one of my fave authors, so it's great to see that you've been enjoying her books of late. Hope you get round to Something Like Normal soon. It's my favourite of hers and an incredible, beautiful story. You're going to love Travis and Harper!

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  18. I never thought that this book would be awesome and exciting to read 'til I read your review. Lovely review as always!

    Yani @ Paper Boulevard

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