Book Review: Girl Made Of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
ashley | Sobbing. Just sobbing. I knew I was going to love this book before I even started, but the characters, the conversations and the reactions made me love it even more than I was expecting. I was first attracted to the title of Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake, it sounded dreamy and weightless, but when I read the description, I realized this was going to be anything but weightless. The topic of rape is always heavy and always hits me hard and in our current climate, this book is so important and so loud. Blake offers an alternative take on the situation which is also really important; a situation that puts someone you are close to, someone you love, someone who is your twin, in the seat of the accused and turns the whole narrative around.
I was immediately struck by the relationship between Mara and Owen. I loved the strong twin bond, the easy banter and trust between them. They were quick to like and easy to get caught up with. Following them through their everyday life and to a typical high school party was kind of weightless and dreamy, which made it all the more difficult to deal with when things took a dark turn and Owen was accused of raping a girl at that typical high school party.
I also really admired the female friendships in this book. Part of me had a hard time believing that these girls were mature and aware enough to maintain their friendships through these various hardships, but that part of me must forget what it’s like to be a stubborn teenager. I loved how supportive Charlie was even though her and Mara had their own problems to sort out, I loved how Mara felt so much for Hannah, even though she was accusing her brother. There was a moment between Charlie, Mara and Hannah that was really heartbreaking and really sweet, it actually brought tears to my eyes. I don’t feel that emotional about books much anymore, so it was really surprising and touching.
I think what makes this book so great is that it doesn’t spend too much time on the details of the rape itself, but more on the aftermath and how the situation affects everyone around it; parents, siblings, best friends, friends at school. This book is full of complicated relationships and situations between many different characters and it tackles a lot of different issues like gender identity, consent, feminism, sexuality, loneliness etc. and does a really great job of describing how all these things swirl around chaotically in the head of a teenage girl. The reactions and thoughts and confusion were so real and so hauntingly familiar, it brought back a lot of that anxiety and confusion I remember feeling as a teenager, which was really powerful. I pretty much just sobbed through the last quarter of the book, I can’t even…
I’ll say it again, this is a loud and important book, screaming about the casualties that are left in the wake when we take sides and victim blame and shame and don’t listen. Blake does an incredible job of highlighting the aftermath of a situation like this and writing about the heartbreaking affects this takes on many different relationships. Still sobbing.
may 15, 2018