To be completely honest, I didn’t have any idea what this book was about when I started reading it. I had read about it in the past and I thought it sounded really good, but by the time I got the book, I had forgotten the synopsis, so this time, instead of re-reading the synopsis, I decided to go into the book without any recollection of what it was supposed to be about, and I’m kind of glad that I did.
For me to rate a book 5 stars, you know it has to be the kind of book that is simply freaking amazing. And See All The Stars is one of the best contemporaries that I have ever read. Not just one of the best contemporaries that I have read in a while, but one of the best contemporaries that I have ever read. I honestly am not sure what I could possibly say in a review that would do this book any justice, but I’m going to try.
This is the kind of book that I wish I could gift every single person I know and have them read it. It’s that good. It’s the kind of book that once I finished reading it, I totally went back and reread it a second time because I loved it so much.
“I wanted only this, the four of us together, but Ret said nothing ever happened, and Ret Johnston was the sun. Hot, bright, at the center of our universe. That we revolved around her was simply a fact.”
Ellory, Bex, Jenni, and Ret were all best friends – they spent their afternoons, evenings, and weekends together, doing all kinds of fun things that you would expect. Ret came to Ellory and helped her fit in when she didn’t, and became her friend quickly. While Ellory was never best friends with Jenni or Bex, the four of them were pretty much inseparable regardless.
“Soon Ret’s world was my world, her friends my friends. It was like it had always been that way. Everything Ret touched felt electric, exciting, a little bit dangerous. Including me. Before Ret, I was basically invisible.
With Ret, I was somebody.”
Ellory loved Ret and all the perks that being best friends with Ret brought with it. The parties, the circle of friends, the exciting adventures – all of it. Ret made Ellory feel as though she was truly herself, or if not herself, she was a better version of who she had always been.
One evening at a party, Ellory meets Matthias. Matthias is a mystery to her, but the more she gets to know him, the deeper she falls. Soon, she has it all: a boyfriend she loves, a group of best friends who are always there for her, and college dreams.
However, nothing could prepare Ellory for the fallout. Nothing could prepare her for what was yet to come, how things would change, and how her world would be completely different from what it used to be.
“Four months after the fall, no one even remembers how Ret broke all of us apart. The facts – what she did, how she lied – were immediately lost in what followed. In the end, who hurt who didn’t matter. The result was the same: the four of us split down the seams and a world of a pain in my heart.”
Ellory must learn to navigate her world now that everything has changed and what she knew has been ripped away from her.
Things with Matthias and things with her friends quickly go south, and Ellory is left to clean up the mess of what used to be, even if it’s almost impossible for her to ever put the pieces completely back together again.
“How am I supposed to supposed to live in the present if I can’t even understand the past?”
See All The Stars is a heart wrenching novel that left me with chills that I don’t think will ever go away. It’s beautiful, almost lyrical at times in terms of writing, and it really hooked me in, and quickly.
When you start reading See All The Stars, be prepared to be somewhat confused, maybe even for a while. The book starts in the now, and alternates chapters in between the present and the past, working its way up until you finally come across the twist at the end that really brings the entire novel together. I feel that by writing the book this way, the author truly grabs the attention of the reader, making them want to stick around to see exactly what happens and why. It’s almost as though the novel goes backwards and then forwards again, giving you the chance to view everything from multiple angles and really get a good idea of what has been going on in the main character’s head for the entire series of events that lead up to the big fallout.
Ellory’s character was truly deep and well fleshed out, and I found that she was written in such a way that I was able to really, truly connect with her. I didn’t have those kinds of feelings for Bex or Jenni, and I feel like we didn’t really get to know them quite as well, but they weren’t the main characters, so it’s okay. Ret, Ellory, and Matthias were the three characters that we really got a good look at in the book.
The ending had me feel really conflicted – I rarely come across a twist that I didn’t see coming, but I had no idea what was going to happen here, and I’m really surprised by it. I loved it, though – I loved it so much. I love endings that take me by surprise, and I love books that really make me guess.
See All The Stars is a beautifully written young adult novel that is dripping with raw feelings and emotions and has a gripping story that is well thought out, written, and constructed in such a way that you will be turning page after page until you read the shocking conclusion. Definitely pick this one up.
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).
One finished copy of See All the Stars by Kit Frick (USA only)
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