Book Title: See All The Stars
Author: Kit Frick
Genres: YA, Contemporary Fiction, Suspense
Pub Date: 08/14/18
It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.
Then: They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. (Venus. Earth. Moon. Sun.) 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.
This is going to be an extremely difficult book to review, and I probably should have left this as a mini review solely for the fact that the less you know the better. See All The Stars is a character driven novel full of suspense with page turning compulsion, and I believe fans of YA novels that cross over between contemporary and mystery will eat this up. I am cautious to scream “READ THIS BOOK” because I know it’s the fastest way to build hype and set up for unrealistic expectations, but I really do encourage readers to give this a second glance come August. It’s not that this story hasn’t been told before, but it’s the way it’s told and the sheer tension built throughout that really impressed me. Below, I’m going to frame some of the reasons I loved this in a non-spoiler filled manner and let you decide for yourself whether to pick it up.
The most important thing to remember about this novel is that it’s a lesson in working through hard things. Grief, conflict, and betrayal aren’t new themes, especially in the young adult realm, but I do think we need more novels showing teens how to work through these issues, and that’s precisely what Frick has written into her narrative. While I guessed early on the source of the conflict (but more on this in a minute) and also had guessed somewhat of how the big twist would play out (also more on this in a minute), I didn’t feel that detracted from the importance of what this novel has to offer. The real jewel here is, again, the lesson of facing your fears, facing your mistakes, and also learning to forgive yourself for not only the things you can’t control, but also the things you can. I also love how naturally Ellory’s use of a therapist is included here; not once is it portrayed as uncool, weird, or taboo, but as a necessity to her mental health and something she admits to helping her along her journey. We all make mistakes, and See All The Stars paints a picture of how one action can cause a chain of reactions that were never intended in the first place. We also see a classic tale of the manipulative, narcissistic friend that shows both the highs and lows of such platonic abusive relationships.
This novel was written in a very particular way, which will become clear as to why once you read it, and I loved it! For the majority, we receive alternating chapters (all from Ellory’s POV) of past and present, or “pre The Fall” and “post The Fall”. Like I mentioned above, you are somewhat expecting the betrayal that is coming, but I felt the author intended this, almost as a tool to ramp up the tension and suspense as we don’t know exactly when it will happen and what the big fallout was afterward. Sorry for the vagueness, but trust me, you want to go in blind! Also, I mentioned above that I guessed the twist almost 100% on point (I knew the what but I didn’t know how it came about until the end), and that was solely based on a book that the blurb compares this to. (I didn’t include this in my synopsis above but it’s easy to find if you choose to look for it.) While I see the necessity in finding the right audience for a novel, and do agree that fans of said novel will take to this, I also felt I wouldn’t have guessed the twist prior to the reveal if I hadn’t seen that and this would have been bumped up to a 5 star read.
Overall, this was the most compulsive book I’ve read to date in 2018. I absorbed everything from cover to cover in less than 24 hours, and I felt the characters were the type that will stay with me for a long time to come. I’ve been trying to write this review for almost a week now, and still feel moved and unsettled (in a good way) by this story. Also… CoVeR LoVe! ❤ If you’re looking for a lightning fast read that will play on a wide range of your emotions, give this a try. Compulsive, addicting, and suspenseful, this checks all the right boxes for a quick summer read. Highly recommended and I can’t wait to see what the author brings us next!
*I received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley.