This book shattered me. But then it put me back together.
There is something about Ashley Herring Blake’s writing that always hits me where I need it to. I always seem to pick up her books at exactly the right time. This one was no exception. Because, without going into it, this book hit really close to home.
In Girl Made of Stars, Mara and Owen are twins, Geminis, students at a high school for artistically gifted students. After a party one Friday night, Owen’s girlfriend, Hannah, accuses him of raping her while drunk. Owen denies it, but Hannah’s parents are pressing charges anyway. Mara has known Owen her whole life, knows his heart, knows him inside and out – but it suddenly seems like she doesn’t know him at all. And she’s been friends with Hannah for a long time, and she believes her. She wants to believe them both.
All of this is coming to a head as Mara deals with a terrible event from her past, something that has haunted her for years. Something that made her feel dirty, unworthy of love. Something that made her push her girlfriend, Charlie, away from her, even though Mara loved Charlie with all her heart.
The events all come to a head in waves of self-discovery, for Mara, for Charlie, for Hannah, and for Owen.
This book broke my heart and then made me whole.
3 Things I Loved
- Mara. Mara is complex and not always likable. She is caught between her friendships and her family, her love and her brother. She was broken and trying to be whole again. And she’s bisexual. I loved all these things about her. They make her a whole person. I loved that she was a whole person.
- Charlie. Oh, Charlie. Charlie was the perfect foil for Mara. She was stubborn and musical and loving. She wore her heart on her sleeve. She was still learning who she was. She might not continue to want to be “she” for much longer after the book ends. Charlie is one of those characters that I want an update on, five years from now, ten years from now. I want to see Charlie loving herself in the skin that feels like her own. And I hope that happens for her.
- Alex. I loved that Alex was just as confused as Mara for most of the book, that he didn’t blindly agree with his best friend, even though he was pressured to. I loved that he and Mara found each other when they needed to. I love that he respected her. And I loved that, when it ended, they were still okay. Not healed, not perfect, but okay.
Honestly, there’s nothing. There is diversity in this book, and there’s friendship, and there is heartbreak. There are issues represented that need to be talked out in YA more often. There is consent and the distinct point when that consent is taken away. There are so many things in this book.
Problems aren’t there. Not that I could see.
A reminder of the rating scale:
- Red = DNF, I hated everything
- Orange = Ugh, no thank you
- Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
- Green = This was good!
- Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
- Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!
Girl Made of Stars is beautiful and relevant and is a perfect, heartbreaking representation of rape culture and consent and sexuality in young people. When this comes out in May, I won’t be able to recommend it enough. This book gets a BLUE rating. Forever and ever, Ashley Herring Blake has my heart and soul.
Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Heart eyes forever, but this did not affect my rating.
Please read this book when it releases. Please please please.