After reading Trish Doller’s debut novel, Something Like Normal, I knew right then that she has to be included in my auto-buy author list. Hence, when I found out that she wrote a second book, I immediately added it to my wish list and patiently waited for its release date. I didn’t even bother calling our local bookstores to ask for the availability once it was released. I just directly ordered the book online from The Book Depository.
Here’s the plot description from the jacket cover of the book:
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, 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 of all, I love the font style of the title and it fits the cover design of the book. The colors used in the background are brighter than the first book and they seem to sparkle, making the book more attractive and appealing to the readers. The new look definitely deviates from the first book and it’s nice to see them exploring more creative designs than merely using real people as the book cover.
Moving on, at a glance, the premise of the book might have already given us an idea of how Callie spends her childhood life. At the same time, it also provides the readers a negative impression on the mother. One might wonder: why would a mother kidnap her own child? But then again, there’s more to it than what is told. I’ve decided not to immediately judge the mother, but instead, to give her the benefit of the doubt. And I’m glad to make that decision.
The reason behind the mother’s actions is soon justified as the cause is slowly revealed not just to Callie, but to the readers as well. Unfortunately, this surprising revelation affects Callie’s life negatively. Imagine a life on the run with no permanent ground to stay or a place to call home. Despite her father saving her, Callie’s past constantly creeps into the present and haunts her. It significantly shapes her personality that eventually challenged her relationship with her friends and family.
Trish Doller succeeds in narrating the story in Callie’s point of view. Readers are given a chance to witness Callie’s deepest thoughts and feelings, as well as her struggles. This way, it’s easier to understand her actions – from the shock as she faces new, stable environment, to slowly adapting and accepting her new life. Her characterization comes out as unexpected for me. As I am reading, I expect her to be this rebellious girl who does all kinds of vices and breaks all the rules imposed by her father. People from the outside might think of her as that, but deep down, she’s this sweet and caring type of girl. Going further through the book, I come to love her character. Her interest in books just makes me like her more. And it’s evident that she grows to be more mature, proven by her decisions towards the end. On the other hand, my admiration is not limited to Callie’s character, but to the other characters as well. Basically, I like all of them. Each has unique personalities and it’s fun to see them having a significant role in Callie’s life.
Overall, Where the Stars Still Shine is one heck of a read. I enjoyed reading this book from start to end. Trish Doller surely narrates the story well that it kept me glued to the seat until the end. The characters are loveable and the storyline is equally entertaining and bittersweet. I love that romance is not mainly focused on this book and that Trish Doller also manages to weigh in the importance of family, the hope for the possibility, and Callie’s journey of self discovery. This is a story worth returning to. At the end of the day, Where the Stars Still Shine convinced me enough to want to visit Tarpon Springs in the future. This book definitely does not disappoint.