This week The Reading Corner for All is a part of the blog tour for See All the Stars, a debut from author Kit Frick. Be sure to check out all the blog tour stops by clicking the banner.
About the Book
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release date: August 14, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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.
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"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-"
"I took the one back to you."
See All the Stars may be Kit Frick's first work, but she is already very seasoned at writing a jaw dropping ending.
The book is told primarily through Ellroy's perspective in a divided narrative between NOW and THEN. NOW depicts a time where Ellroy must live out her senior year bearing the consequences of THEN, her junior year. Through the course of venturing between NOW and THEN, readers are able to piece together what is haunting Ellroy.
The swirling teen angst, high school drama, and the general dark edginess of this book provide a clear indication that this work was primarily geared towards a young adult audience. As I read the first few chapters, I was intrigued with Ellroy's story and was eager to learn what had affected her life so greatly.
I settled into the first third of the book which was dedicated to describing Ellroy's relationship with her friends Ret, Bex, and Jenni in THEN to contrast her circumstances in NOW. They didn't particularly stand out as characters other than the emphasis that they were all tied together through Ret's whims. Ellroy's romantic relationship with Matthias marked a great distinction between Ellroy's primarily female interactions and showed how Ellroy was undergoing rites of passage in her own way by slowly realizing the toxicity of her bond with Ret. The second half of the book led to some predictable avenues and conventional teenage conversations. THEN remained a particularly engaging narrative, yet NOW seemed to become a series of repetitions.
Until the last third of the book.
When you finish See All the Stars, you understand where the author was going with her story. It's the moment when you see through all the subtle hints that Frick littered around the book like nuggets of foreshadowing. What seems to be a quintessential YA mystery/thriller novel which was told in a steady narrative turns completely on its head at the end.
As I've mentioned before in previous reviews, I love nothing better than the unexpected and when books lead you to an unforeseen ending. With these type of endings I always imagine authors saying "GOTCHA!" or something among those lines. I'm never one for spoilers but I will say that I really liked the idea that the past, and our regrets, shadow us and we can only move forward by forgiving ourselves. Frick embodied this idea through Ellroy and incorporated the concept as cathartic method for Ellroy to merge THEN and NOW to ultimately come to terms with herself.
"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, good as new.
I'm the only one who can make that happen. And it's freaking hard."
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, August 14, 2018), and her debut full-length poetry collection is A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press, fall 2018).
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