“WHERE THE STARS STILL SHINE,” by Trish Doller, Bloomsbury Children’s Books, $17.99, 256 pages (f) (ages 15 and up)
Callie was abducted by her mother when she was 5 years old and for 12 years they’ve lived in a variety of states and always have been on the move, sometimes moving on a whim.
But 17-year-old Callie is resilient and basically a good girl, compared to the rough neighborhoods they’ve lived in and transient lifestyle she’s had. Her only possessions are those that fit in her suitcase and her guitar. She really hasn’t been to school since kindergarten, and her only social interaction with others her age is casual sex with a guy who already has a girlfriend.
When her mother is pulled over for a stolen license plate, their world unravels and she goes to live with her father, Greg, in Florida near his large, Greek family.
She didn’t know her full name is Callista Catherine Tzorvas or that her dad isn’t the bad guy her mother made him out to be.
As Callie struggles to adjust to a life where adults care and set rules, cousins want to be friends and there are boys who are interested in being friends with her (and not casual sex), and she begins to set down roots. She still has emotional scars for things no child should have to go through.
Then her mother comes back, threatening to upend the stability she wants.
Callie’s story in “Where the Stars Still Shine” is a twisted emotional roller coaster as she tries to put her life back together after a turbulent, always changing childhood, and heal from abuses from her mother’s past boyfriends.
Although she pushes Greg’s rules, she is secretly grateful for them and a parent who is worried about her.
Callie learns that healing and happy endings take different meanings and that love and loyalty can be different things. It’s not light reading, but does give some insight to how difficult teen years can be when suddenly plucked from one life and placed in another.
There are general descriptions of teen sexual encounters and innuendo throughout, along with mild swearing.
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