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!
Author: Lisa Selin Davis
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA, Contemporary
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!
Have you read Lost Stars? What did you think of it? If not, do you want to read it?