See All The Stars
Written by Kit Frick
Published by McElderry Books
Publication date: 14th August 2018
Summary (from Goodreads):
Part love story, part thriller, We Were Liars meets Goodbye Days in this suspenseful, lyrical debut.
It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.
THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.
NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.
THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.
NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.
The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.
I wanted only this, the four of us together, but Ret said nothing ever happened, and Ret Johnson was the sun. Hot, bright, at the center of our universe. That we revolved around her was simply a fact.
I could have said no. I could have let the sweetness of carrot bread melting on my tongue and the lull of the breeze on my face keep me anchored to the grass. I could have let the trill of the iPad drown Ret out. Everything that came next might have been different.
No Matthais. No lies. No hot, bright surge of rage that flung us all apart, lodging galaxies between us by senior year until we were planets orbiting no-one. Ret, Jenni, Bex and me.
But that day I was the moon, dark and cold without the sun’s light. Ellory Holland – constant satellite. So I went. Ret went, and I followed.
First impressions: I am intrigued by the introduction, especially with Ellory describing each of the girls as celestial bodies around the centre of their solar system, Ret. The alternate chapters look like they will slowly reveal what happened to bring them to where they are in present-day, but my mind is already whirling trying to work it out!
Ooh, this is going to be a hard book to review without giving anything away…
The book is told by Ellory, a teenage girl suffering in the aftermath of something terrible which happened and changed her whole life. Each chapter is either a flashback to ‘before’ or telling what is happening ‘now’, each giving you a few more clues about what it was. I worked out part of it, but not all of it, but it all pulls into focus with the ending.
Ellory is a flawed and relatable character – she loves art and working with metal and she is an only child with loving, protective parents and slight social awkwardness. She works hard in school and gets along fine, although she worries that she is nobody special. When Ret takes her under her wing, Ellory is like a blank slate, willing to be transformed by Ret’s attention into somebody unique and allow her likes and dislikes to be curated by her friend. This friendship is depicted very realistically, in the sense that Ellory looking back, can see some of the dark side to this lopsided, controlling relationship, while her past self could only see the positives of not being left alone and having someone treat her as special.
Ret likes to orchestrate everyone in their friendship group, leading Ellory to describe her as the sun at the centre of their universe. She is the moon, following and reflecting back the light of the sun, while Jenni and Bex are Earth and Venus, two other planets orbiting the sun. When Ellory meets Matthais and begins to spend more time with him, ret’s control slips and their relationship becomes a bit more fraught.
Every character in this book is lovingly realised, even those you only meet for a short time. That was a true strength of this book for me, because I found myself completely absorbed in what would happen next.
If you’re a fan of contemporary young-adult books, mysteries or anything like One of Us Is Lying or We Were Liars, you will love this book!
This is a complicated, twisting, heartbreaking yet ultimately hopeful book.
I pull into the student lot extra early. As I make my way up to the second floor, my stomach lurches, just a little, and I can feel my heart start to clobber in my chest. The past doesn’t just vanish behind a screen of good intentions. All those feelings – the hurt and confusion and the deep, burning anger – they don’t just go away. Whoever said that time heals all wounds didn’t know what he was talking about. Time dulls the wounds, makes them bearable. But it doesn’t patch you up and send you on your way, as good as new.
I’m the only one who can make that happen. And it’s freaking hard.
What I liked: Ellory’s character, the characterisation of everyone, even those who play a vert small part in the story, the alternative chapters, Matthais’s notes, the gradual reveal of the mystery, the depiction of friendship and the intricacies of power and control.
Even better if: I’m not sure if I could read this again because knowing what happens at the end would completely change my reading of earlier events.
How you could use it in your classroom: The language used in this is beautiful, with some really lovely turns of phrase. Extracts from conversations between Ellory and Ret could be used to open up discussion about friendship, control and how we have the power to hurt those closes to us. I would recommend this for any library catering for older teens. Despite being set in America, I could see young adults in the U.K. loving this.
(Thank you to the publisher for my -e-review copy and to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting me be involved in the blog tour!)
About the Author:
Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars. Her debut young adult novel is See All the Stars (Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018), and her debut full-length poetry collection is A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press, 2018).
Check out the other stops on the tour below:
The Reading Corner for All- Review
everywhere and nowhere– Spotlight
ABookologicalShelf- Creative Post
Angela Walker’s Reviews- Q&A
Snark & Squee- Review
Rhythmicbooktrovert- Review & Favorite Quotes
Chrikaru Reads- Review
Book Slaying- Q&A
Flipping Through the Pages- Review & Favorite Quotes
Here’s to Happy Endings- Review
Confessions of a YA Reader-
Comfort Books- Review
Reading Under the Blankie- Review
The Traveling Inkwell- Review
THE SHE REVELATION BLOG-Review
The Clever Reader- Guest Post
The giveaway is open from the 7th – 22nd August 2018 and is to win a copy of the hardback book. Unfortunately, it is only open to those living in the U.S.A. (I’m not eligible to enter either!), but good luck to my American readers. Click here to enter on Rafflecopter.
Thanks for reading!