Title: Girl Made of Stars
Author: Ashley Herring Blake
Genres: Young Adult contemporary
“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.
The lovely people over at HMH teen offered to send me a review copy of Girl Made of Stars. I immediately jumped at the opportunity because I read another book by Ashley Herring Blake in the past (How to Make a Wish) and I absolutely adored it, so I was certain I was going to love this one as well. I was aware of the trigger warnings for this book, but after I got it in the mail my mental health started doing not-so-great things so I knew I wouldn’t be able to read and review the book. But I didn’t want the ARC to go to waste either, so that’s where my friend Lia jumped in. She was kind enough to read the book, and write a guest review for it. And here are her thoughts on the book:
Girl Made of Stars is a book that just hits the right mark every time. The characters, the story, the message, it all just fits together perfectly and is weaved into a complicated, emotional, and engaging experience. It is about a girl, Mara, whose twin brother has done such a horrible thing: he has raped his girlfriend, who is also Mara’s friend. And now Mara has to deal with trying to merge that perfect picture of her beloved twin brother with an act of a horrible person.
It is not an easy book to read. Mara is incredibly conflicted, her emotions are all over the place and she doesn’t know whether she can still trust and love the people around her. Because those people all have their own story of who Owen is and who Hannah (Owen’s girlfriend) is. It also makes you question everything: good people can do bad things and people you care about can hurt others, and how do you move on from something like that? Is there a way to move on?
I loved the characters in this book. Mara is very relatable in the way she deals with things and I loved being able to see her develop throughout the story. She’s bisexual and is still in love with her ex-girlfriend and still best friend, Charlie who is genderqueer (nonbinary but uses she/her pronouns) and their relationship is amazing. All the characters are just so complex, with their own views and opinions and they are all a little messed up, but that’s how life is: it’s not perfect.
This book has such a great writing style. The writing style is simply wonderful to read. Sometimes I found myself just rereading paragraphs just to admire their beauty. It gives Mara such a strong and distinct voice, which I loved.
This book is messy but perfect, it hits all the right chords, it made me think and cry and laugh. It’s a book about a tough topic, and it’s not easy to read at all times, because it feels so real. I think that’s really the strength of this book, it’s not just a story, it dragged me in and made me feel all the things Mara is feeling. I cannot help but absolutely love this book and everything about it. I definitely recommend it but with a warning for rape and sexual abuse.
“I don’t look back at Owen, but I can’t help but picture us sitting on the roof, faces turned towards the stars. That’s how it would go if all of this weren’t happening. If there weren’t all these lies and a stranger wearing my brother’s face between us.”
“There’s this feeling inside me that I can’t explain. I’m either dying or being reborn, joints coming apart or melting together, all my blood leaving me or swelling my veins.”
“What happened is simple. It’s a tangled mess of simple facts, a kaleidoscope of right and wrong. The aftermath – that’s what complicated.”