Have you ever finished a book and just sat there for 5 minutes, not knowing what just happened?
That’s exactly what happened to me with Girl Made of Stars. There were SO many emotions involved with this book, yet it was nothing short of amazing. During the month of September, I held a survey to see which book you had wanted to see reviewed the most. This one won by a whopping 66.7%, so of course, this one’s to y’all who voted 🙂
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
<< synopsis >>
“I need Owen to explain this. Because yes, I do know that Owen would never do that, but I also know Hannah would never lie about something like that.”
Mara and Owen are about as close as twins can get. So when Mara’s friend Hannah accuses Owen of rape, Mara doesn’t know what to think. Can the brother she loves really be guilty of such a violent crime? Torn between the family she loves and her own sense of right and wrong, Mara is feeling lost, and it doesn’t help that things have been strained with her ex-girlfriend and best friend since childhood, Charlie.
As Mara, Hannah, and Charlie navigate this new terrain, Mara must face a trauma from her own past and decide where Charlie fits in her future. With sensitivity and openness, this timely novel confronts the difficult questions surrounding consent, victim blaming, and sexual assault.
<< thoughts >>
~ preview ~
I’m just going to put this out here: no review can ever do this one justice. Honestly.
In the rise of the #MeToo movement and all, it is SO important to have a YA book that talks about this. It is, extremely sad and unfortunate, that there are many people who have endured/are facing this kind of trauma and harm. In the past, there has been a lot of victim blaming, but in the wake of this movement and awareness, more and more are coming out because it’s time to let them know that they can’t beat us down.
~ review ~
“I’m done hiding. I’m done feeling ashamed.”
Before I started reading this, I was hesitant about it because I feared that this would be romanticized, which is NOT okay. Thankfully it did not happen, and I thought that Blake handled this discussion realistically and responsibly even through fiction. *applauds*
Mara – my beautiful child. One of my favourite components of Girl Made of Stars was seeing her grow as the story progresses; the character development was so amazing to read. Seeing her rise from her past and emerging as a stronger person just made me so…. happy. Honestly, it was like this close (yes measure the distance of the spaces between words) for a tear to slip down my cheek. I honestly can’t put into words to describe my love for her.
“Because when they thought the stars were sticking to her, really all the loneliness and sadness were falling off. The stars were underneath.”
Alex, was overall my second most favourite character in GMOS next to Mara. His heart is just so beautiful, and he wasn’t afraid to show his emotions. Traditionally, males are told – starting from being young boys – to not cry because it shows that they are weak. Well flip NO. That isn’t true, at all. Whenever I read a book with context like that when describing a male character I just start to internally scream, but there’s something with him that is just so raw and honest. To ya’ll out there: don’t be afraid to show your emotions, because there is nothing to be ashamed about 🙂
It absolutely shattered my heart to see Hannah being doubted and shamed by society, let alone suffering through the aftermath of rape. It broke her heart from what Owen did to her, but her resilience and strong heart led her closer to her own kind of closure, and it showed him that what he will never be able to bring her down. Hannah and Mara’s friendship is just so pure, just have my heart.
“Even girls made of stars are captives, bound at the wrists and traded like property. Even girls made of stars aren’t asked, aren’t believed, aren’t considered worth the effort unless they can offer something in return.
Even girls made of stars buy into those lies sometimes.”
The relationship between Mara and Charlie was just so… beautiful. The bi and genderfluid rep was done so well, and following their healing journey was stunning. Charlie (she uses she/her pronouns!) is so honest, kind, brave, and a million other qualities I can’t fathom.
There was something about Girl Made of Stars that just hit home for me. The family relationship between Mara, Owen, and their parents is just heartbreaking. Seeing Mara’s reaction when dealing with the news just made me crack.
“And I’m not sure I ever will recover from what Mr. Knoll did. Not fully. It’s changed me forever, but changed doesn’t have to mean broken.”
It took me awhile to notice this, but yes, there was in fact a love-triangle in there, but it was handled so well. Most of them in books/movies are just insta-love and *rolls eyes*, but Blake just made each piece of this triangle fall into its place perfectly. This also wasn’t directly intertwined with Hannah and Mara facing her own past, in which I am SO thankful for.
To be honest, I had mixed feelings about when Mara decided to go against the school dress code. My thoughts aren’t at all related to the whole “boys being boys” thing said by the principal (ugh). In fact, it’s more of a “me trying to put that into perspective” kind of thing. I’m still trying to figure this out.
Another thing that stood out to me was the anxiety rep. It was realistic, and it was tackled in a honest yet subtle way. Panic attacks were also put correctly into context, and I just can’t agree with Mara any more than I already am: it is the absolute worst. With all the realistic and responsible representation for victims of sexual assault/rape, anxiety/panic attacks, and LGBTQ+, I just can’t help but give this a standing ovation.
If I had all day, I’d talk and rant about how beautiful Girl Made of Stars is, like I can’t even comprehend it. This is literally a literary masterpiece, and it is definitely award-worthy, or even beyond that.
Final verdict // ★★★★★
<< additional information >>
trigger warnings* | rape, sexual assault, anxiety/panic attacks, victim disbelief
Publication date | May 15, 2018
Publishing Company | Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Genre | YA, Contemporary
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have you read GMOS before, or any other books by Ashley Herring Blake? thoughts on the rep? what books empower you? which was your favourite quote? if you haven’t read this before, please do, and i know you’ll love it as much as I do 🙂