Made of Stars
By Kelley York
Available now from Entangled Teen
I discovered Kelley York's HUSHED sometime around March last year, I think. I still haven't read it, but it's on my wishlist. The summary really stuck out and has hung in my mind. When York's new book, MADE OF STARS, popped up on Netgalley, I made with the grabby hands. Here was a chance to give her a try!
MADE OF STARS is the story of three teenagers. Hunter and Ashlin are half-siblings, and Chance is their childhood friend, who they hung out with during summers at their dad's. Now, Hunter and Ashlin are living with their father again as they both take a gap year and decide what college to go to and whether college is even right for them. When they meet back up with chance, it becomes clear that they're no longer children. Something is wrong with their friend, who never lets them see his house and who has mysterious injuries. There are also romantic shenanigans afoot, complicated by Hunter's long-distance girlfriend.
I liked that York dealt with coming out angst in MADE OF STARS. It's a bit passe in YA novels nowadays, almost verboten. But there are still a lot of teenagers dealing with accepting themselves and the fear of rejection, and it's nice to have books that deal with it. York manages to balance it with the plot about Chance's home life so that neither one really takes over the book. That's where we come to my misgivings.
MADE OF STARS contains a big epiphany, and there's definitely a climax. But where's the falling action? It just ended, right when things were getting really exciting. And as far as I can tell, there is no sequel coming. I want to read about the consequences, and York just left me hanging.
Which brings me to FAULT LINE.
By C. Desir
Available now from Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster)
FAULT LINE is the story of Ben, a popular jock, dealing with the fallout of something unknown that happened to his girlfriend, the confident, artistic Ani. He didn't go with her to a party, and she ended up in the hospital with no memory of what happened, having to have a lighter removed from her body.
Kelly at Stacked made a great post about the issues raised by this book and the choice of the lighter for the cover. I don't agree entirely with her about this book, but I think her review is very worth reading, so I wanted to point it out.
One way in which we differ is that I liked the beginning. I think the future scene lets the reader know they're in for a wrenching read, and that the sweet, almost romantic comedy tone of Ben and Ani's courtship isn't going to last long. Now what I disliked was the ending, which doesn't really move past the beginning. FAULT LINE truly is Ben's story, and it's about his journey. The ending made me realize I'd rather be reading Ani's story and see her reach some resolution.
FAULT LINE is a difficult book to read. Debut author Christa Desir's prose is fine, and doesn't linger nastily over unpleasant details, but the few details there are hurt. Ani's story is powerful, painful, and - worst of all - realistic.
I do agree with Kelly that the character of the rape counselor is a bit too obvious, although it was obviously easy for Desir to draw on her own experiences for that character. And if a book hammers in that there is no right way for a woman to react to rape, but that it's certainly wrong for others to shame her, at least its being unsubtle with a decent message.
I think that FAULT LINE deals pretty well with a very difficult subject, and hope that experience smooths out the bumpier aspects of Desir's plotting. I know lots of people don't like issue novels, but I'm always up for an author who can take an issue and turn it into an interesting, affecting story.
MADE OF STARS is also a book that tackles difficult issues, with a little bobble at the end. I put these two books together, because in the end I reacted to them much the same way. I was completely absorbed until the book just ended, leaving me wondering where the rest of the pages had gotten off too.