Content Warning: This post (and book) discusses sexual violence.
I’m writing a book, which may not come as a big shock. In researching my own story, I came across this one and, after reading the synopsis, knew I needed to get my hands on a copy. I thought it would be useful research, as the concepts of the two books are tangentially related.
However, what I didn’t expect was for Girl Made of Stars to move me in such an intimate way. The story follows Mara, a high school student whose twin brother Owen is accused of raping his girlfriend (and Mara’s friend) Hannah. Mara already has a lot on her mind, with her on-again, off-again relationship being recently switched to the ‘off’ state, and with this new development she must reconsider her relationship with her twin and deal with her own related traumatic experience.
Ashley Herring Blake clearly put so much thought and love into this story. Her characters are all fully realized. Girl Made of Stars is a young adult book, which isn’t really a genre I’m familiar with, but even as a thirty-year-old, I could relate to so much of what this book entails.
I realize that a lot of my posts deal with or center on sexual violence. Unfortunately, this is something I’ve had to understand well my entire life, so it does play a significant role in my literary choices and my interpretation of events in books. Some take rape rather lightly (The Pillars of the Earth), others don’t shy away and discuss it outright (Know My Name), and most include it as more of a fact of life (The Nightingale). Girl Made of Stars makes us stare it straight in its hideous face and answer this question for ourselves – what if the perpetrator is someone we love? How then do we reckon with our relationship with that person?
I’ve recommended Girl Made of Stars to just about anyone who will listen (and not be triggered by the content). I’m happy to say that everyone who has reported back to me about it has loved it. Maybe you would too? Just be cognizant of the content before you jump in – this is a heavy read that requires a significant emotional investment.
Funny story – I have been a reader all of my life, and grew up with an outdoor pool at my parent’s house. Never once have I dropped a book in the pool while reading… until this one. And it was a library book. If you put paper towels between the a lot of the pages, turns out it will dry it pretty well. The library accepted it back and I, of course, learned a valuable lesson about other people’s property and all that. I now have my own lovely (and dry) copy of Girl Made of Stars on my favorites shelf.
Date read: June 30, 2021