ARC Review: Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis


I received this eARC via the publisher from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

All quotes are from the ARC and subject to change.

Side Note: I’m officially still in spam jail. My comments are only going through on a few blogs and for everyone else they are being stuffed into your spam folders. So, if you guys could pretty please check your spam folders for my comments and approve them to get me out of spam jail I would greatly appriciate it. ♥♥♥

Now, on to the review!

25773165Title: Lost Stars
Author: Lisa Selin Davis
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 4th, 2016
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Format: eARC
Goodreads Synopsis:

Before her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone, sixteen-year-old Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands (not science), and party hard.

Fed up with Carrie’s behavior, her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. Carrie actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie—astrophysics obsessions and all—she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.


Going into Lost Stars I was a bit hesitant as I’ve seen more negative reviews than not. However, I ended up enjoying the majority of this book. It wasn’t a book that completely wowed me but it wasn’t terrible either.

I actually put this book down at about 85% through and didn’t pick it back up for several days, so I apologize in advance if this review seems a bit choppy and all over the place.

Lost Stars is a realistic, raw, and poignant tale of a girl who doesn’t know how to properly navigate through the grief and guilt she feels over the death of her older sister. It will frustrate you and pull on your heartstrings.

It’s also very slow in pace. This book is a slow build – character development doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. Which can be frustrating for the reader given the state of Carrie as a character from the beginning to the end.

It’s set in the 80’s and the author does a brilliant job of depicting that aspect. I loved it and whenever it would slip my mind something as simple as the type of music they listened to, the fact that cell phones weren’t the norm, or even something as simple as using a map to navigate would remind me.

In a way, Lost Stars was reminiscent of Love Letters to the Dead with a bit of a darker feel. No, they weren’t set in the same era but they felt similar to me.

“Before Ginny died, that was how it felt when I got upset: like I was about to throw up. Ginny used to be the one to talk me down, to stand at the door of my room and say, softly, “Caraway, take a deep breath, come here, hold my hand.”

The main character Carrie (Caraway) makes a lot of mistakes. She is an extremely flawed character and I think that’s something I loved about her. At first, she is a bit hard to like as she is going down a really self-destructive path as a way to cope with everything she is feeling. In the wake of her sister’s death and her mother’s seeming abandonment, she turns to partying with Ginny’s friends, getting drunk, and doing drugs. She alienates herself from everyone who cares about her. It was frustrating at times and I wanted to shake some sense into her, but I also couldn’t help having my heart break for her. I felt that Lisa Selin Davis portrayed Carrie’s struggles in a very realistic light because losing someone you’re close to and the subsequent grief that follows can be hard to cope with.

“An exploding star.”

“I thought they were made of gas.”

“Most of them have every single element in the entire universe. That calcium deposit could be billions of years old – it could be made of the stuff that was present when the universe was born. Is that the coolest, or what?”

Something I really loved about this book was the fact that Carrie was an astrophysics nerd. I love anything to astronomy and all of the metaphors to do with the stars and space were incredible and they were my favorite aspect.

The biggest problem I had with this book was, in fact, Ginny’s friends. Not only were they toxic for Ginny, in my opinion, which is something I won’t go into detail about because spoiler, but I felt that they were extremely toxic for Carrie as well. I kept getting the sense that they were pretty much using Carrie as a placeholder for Ginny. I think they thought they were saving her, but in the end pushed her even more down her path of self-destruction. I didn’t connect with any of them and didn’t particularly like any of them.

I actually didn’t connect with any character in this book besides Carrie, Dean, and Rosie.

You would think given the fact that Ginny’s friends and Carrie’s old friend, Tonya, seem to play a major role in her journey in this book that I would have connected with them but I didn’t. I didn’t even form an opinion about Tonya except for hoping that she and Carrie’s friendship worked out.

So there was this minor disconnection with the characters that threw me off.

“I have a statement. I think you need to be open to the idea that people will surprise you. At any time, someone you’re sure will disappoint you may come through. Find a little optimism somewhere.”

Dean, I adored. He was so awkward and cute and I couldn’t think of a better character for Carrie to have met. Sure, he has a lot of problems himself. He was not a perfect character and had secrets and mistakes of his own, but I felt like he and Carrie were good for each other. They played key roles in the healing process of each other’s journey.

Rosie is the little sister that annoys the hell out of you but you love anyway. I adored her too. In fact, I loved the sibling aspect of this book and how there was this unspoken camaraderie.

I also wasn’t sure, and am still not, what to think of her father. At times, it almost seemed as if he had given up on her but then he signs her up for this summer work camp which might be the thing that has the most positive impact on her. Her mother I definitely didn’t like – she was selfish. They also both kept a lot of secrets that I felt that they shouldn’t have kept.

“Eventually every star will explode. There’s no getting around it.”

“Maybe they’re not gone, those stars. Maybe they’re just lost. Maybe they’re just trying to find their way home.”

Carrie’s journey in this book was a bumpy one. Like I said, the character development is slow going and might not be for everyone. However, all hope is not lost for our main character because, in the end, Lost Stars will leave you with this sense of hope and peace for Carrie’s future.

I’ve read a lot of books where siblings are dealing with the grief of another sibling’s death and this one is definitely one of the darker ones, but it’s a powerful and realistic story about what grief can do to a person as well a story about growing up.

Personally, even with the disconnect I felt for most of the characters, I did enjoy this book. I’m not sure if it is for everyone but if you think you would enjoy it then I say give it a chance!

You can pre-order it on: Amazon, B&N, Google Play, Book Depository, and Kobo

Have you read Lost Stars? What did you think of it? If not, do you want to read it?





21 thoughts on “ARC Review: Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

    • I’m the same. This was one of my click happy picks from NetGalley lol. It probably isn’t one that everyone will love, but it was enjoyable. I can’t say that I even completely loved it but more like I loved parts of it.


  1. I actually saw this book on someone’s WoW post yesterday and it seemed quite interesting, and the cover was gorgeous, so I added it to my to-read list. I haven’t actually seen any reviews for it other than yours but it still sounds like an interesting book. I get what you mean about it being hard to connect with Carrie’s character at first. Sometimes when you read books with closed-off or destructive characters it can be hard to connect with them but it is great that the development was there for her.
    For some reason when you mentioned the book was about Carrie’s journey to cope with the grief of losing her sister my mind went to The Sky is Everywhere, obviously Carrie deals with her grief in a different way to Lennie but I still connected those two books. Either way it’s great this book is still an accurate portrayal of grief, albeit a darker one.
    Great review Melissa! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Beth! 💕
      I agree with you about the cover! That’s actually what first drew me to the book and then I read the synopsis and I actually automatically thought of The Sky is Everywhere and at the time it had said for fans of Jandy Nelson so I couldn’t resist. So, I can see how your mind went straight to Lennie and that book because mine did too. It also reminded me of Love Letters to the Dead without the letter aspect. But yeah Carrie deals with it in a very different way than Lennie did. Which just goes to show how each person processes grief in a different way. It made it very realistic. And it’s definitely one of those reads where you have to be in the mood for a sad book because it’s gets really sad at times. The development really was there for here though even though it was slow. I enjoyed that aspect just because it made the book more focused on her journey than anyone else’s which was the whole point. I hope whenever you decide to pick it up you end up enjoying it 😊.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s all right ❤️
        I take it the ‘for fans of Jandy Nelson’ has been removed from the sound of your comment. I guess although my mind went there first I wouldn’t say they were similar just because your review makes this one sound a fair bit darker. I dunno. I haven’t read Love Letter to the Dead but it’s great seeing people go through grief in different ways because everyone does handle it in different ways and it wouldn’t have been realistic I guess if Carrie reacted the same way Lennie did.
        I’m not in the mood for a sad book at the moment I’m afraid but I will keep it on my to-read list until I am. I think if done well books that focus more on the journey of the characters can be amazing, hopefully this will be one of them and I’ll enjoy it as well! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yep it was removed. The only thing they have in common is the whole death of the older sister thing. So, yeah not really similar at all. This one definitely has a darker feel where as The Sky is Everywhere was lighter even though it was dealing with something similar.
        It really is!
        I get that. I wasn’t really in the mood for a sad one myself which is probably why this one took me so long to get through. 🙈
        I think so too! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah that’s not enough to make a book similar, if not you could say any book with a death of a family member is similar to TSIE and that would not work for fantasy books. I liked the fact that, even though it was a book full of grief, TSIE was still a lighter take on it you know?
        Yeah at the moment I’m not in the mood for a sad book, I have a few on my to-read list but I’ll leave them for now! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree! Especially where fantasy books are concerned. Yeah, that was one of my favorite things about TSIE. It was definitely a more healthy representation of processing grief. While Lennie made a few mistakes they weren’t as dire or harmful. There needs to be those books that represent the extremes of grief and then those ones that represent the possibility of processing it in a healthy way. And it’s great that there are both. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • You see a lot of fantasy/dystopian books compared to The Hunger Games and a lot of the time there’s nothing similar there!
        Exactly, everything she went through felt so real because, as it wasn’t a negative extreme, it’s something a lot more people could identify with. Plus I guess it’s nice to see books that deal with things like this in a healthy way rather than going straight for the darker side of things. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes! I actually hate when fantasy/dystopian books are compared to The Hunger Games. I’ve been really mislead by comparisons like that in the past.
        I completely agree. And I kind of want to reread The Sky is Everywhere after all this talk of it 🙈.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here, there have been books I’ve picked up purely because they’ve been described as ‘perfect for fans of The Hunger Games’ and then they turn out to be not good and I’ve just been so disappointed!
        Same here actually, I do want to re-read it before this year is over! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! That’s why I’m hesitant when books are likened to another book or even described as “for fans of such and such” and I try to go into it without the expectation that it will be like the other book. I do it myself in reviews sometimes but I hope everyone takes it with a grain of salt because one book could be like another for some and then not at all for others. 🙈
        Same! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      • There needs to be a better way to describe books that make people want to pick them up without comparing them to others you know? The thing is though I still get sucked in by those comparisons, I try and stop myself because like you said things like that need to be taken with a grain of salt but it’s hard when a new release is described as perfect for fans of a book you love! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • There really does! I think the main reason why they do it is because it’s natural to make comparisons when a book shares a small idea or genre with another but I also think they do it because it means more people will buy it just because of that comparison. I don’t even think most books need it as they could get by on their own merit and reader reviews. I find myself trapped in them at times still as well, this book for example pulled me in at first because of the Jandy Nelson comparison. It really is hard because when a book is incredible and another book is compared to it you want that same feeling you got when you read the book its compared to all over again. Publishers and their marketing techniques! 🙈

        Liked by 1 person

      • Honestly it’s probably a mixture of both, I mean you’ve got to admit though if a book says something like ‘perfect for fans of The Hunger Games’ people are much more likely to pick it up and it’s much more likely to become a best seller! I know what you mean though a lot of books don’t need it but it gets people to pick them up in the first place and start reading them.
        Yeah, and it can be disappointing when it just doesn’t live up to your expectations! But hey, if it gets the books to sell it’s what the publishers are going to do! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    • It is really interesting! Overall I enjoyed it even with the problems I had, but the character aspect was a big reason why I rated it the way I did. It wasn’t so much the main character, though her development is slow, it was a lot to do with side characters and how little I connected with them. I get what you mean though and even after having read it I have a lot of mixed feelings toward it. I hope if you do ever end up picking it up your enjoy it! Thank you! 😊


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