Sunday, April 19

Andrea Hannah - Of Scars and Stardust

"Sometimes the unknown is far scarier than what's really there when you're ready to look."

After her little sister mysteriously vanishes, seventeen-year-old Claire Graham has a choice to make: stay snug in her little corner of Manhattan with her dropout boyfriend, or go back to Ohio to face the hometown tragedy she's been dying to leave behind.

But the memories of that night still haunt her in the city, and as hard as she tries to forget what her psychiatrist calls her "delusions," Claire can't seem to escape the wolf's eyes or the blood-speckled snow. Delusion or reality, Claire knows she has to hold true to the most important promise she's ever made: to keep Ella safe. She must return to her sleepy hometown in order to find Ella and keep her hallucinations at bay before they strike again. But time is quickly running out, and as Ella's trail grows fainter, the wolves are becoming startlingly real.

Now Claire must deal with her attraction to Grant, the soft-spoken boy from her past that may hold the secret to solving her sister's disappearance, while following the clues that Ella left for only her to find. Through a series of cryptic diary entries, Claire must unlock the keys to Ella's past—and her own—in order to stop another tragedy in the making, while realizing that not all things that are lost are meant to be found.

"Where do you begin looking for a girl made of scars and stardust?"

After her sister's attack, that'd happened years before the book started, Claire was sent to live with her aunt in New York. After this she went down fast. She started heavy drinking, and skipped school on more occasions than she was actually there. She never ever thought she'd go back to her hometown but when Ella disappears she doesn't have any other choice. Finding her sister is her responsibility, and she'll do just about anything to get to Ella. 

Reading Of Scars and Stardust was a journey of me trying to figure out what's real and what isn't. Claire was an unreliable narrator to say the least. I don't think I've ever read from a POV of such a confused protagonist. Reading her words made me doubt everything and everyone and unfortunately the ending didn't give me the satisfaction I seeked. 

Some things were never properly described, and some things just didn't add up, simply because we only got Claire's POV who didn't have the answers. To sum this up, I'd say that the book kept me interested but in the end when things were revealed and I looked back at the story, many things didn't make any sense. Obviously, this can be thanked to Claire being unreliable but I feel like the author tries to blame everything that doesn't make sense on Claire being unstable. 

The relationship of Ella and Claire was pretty well-portrayed, though I was sad we didn't get the chance to see Ella in the end. The romance was a great addition to the story but I would have preferred if it had been a bit more slow-developed. This was forgivable, though, because Claire and Grant had known each other before she was sent away so they've already had some kind of relationship. 

Surprisingly the author didn't left out the gory parts at all. I was glad to see that she didn't try to sugarcoat Ella's injuries or anything else for that matter. I mean it's YA but whoever picks up a book like this can handle his/her shit. 

"I wanted to watch her learn to talk again, watch her half-eaten lips learn to make sounds again."

I had some problems with the novel being unrealistic. While I wouldn't call Claire an alcoholic I still found it a bit unbelievable that after years of drinking she didn't even miss alcohol, not even when she was under a lot pressure after going home. She hadn't once desired to drink again. Other things were a 100% realistic. The small town feeling was something I really liked, you could particularly feel the townspeople hatred toward Claire. 

About the characters... most of the time I was happy with them. I felt like they were well-developed, with interesting characteristics. Meanwhile, when I looked back at them after finishing the book, I realised that they didn't live such a huge impression on me. They weren't that unique and I'm pretty sure that if I ever have to list characters by certain things, they'll not come to my mind. Partly this can be thanked to the fact that they weren't relatable, I couldn't understand any of them, and to be honest, didn't like them all that much.

All considered, despite the small mistakes and my confusion over what had happened Of Scars and Stardust is a pretty decent read that I'd recommend to those who enjoy mystery. 

Favorite character: - 
Least favorite character: Rae (Claire's best friend)

The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 3/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5


  1. This YA novel has many things I enjoy in books in general, starting with the unreliable narrator. I don't know why but I love to be confused all the time. It gets on my nerves, true but I love it. I love the feeling of not knowing what the hell is going on. I might pick up this one and see how everything is dealt with. I enjoy a damn rough book from time to time. Sugarcoating is alright but sometimes not realistic and YA errs on that. Great review, Veronika!

    1. I really hope you'll check it out sometime soon because based on what you said, I think you'll enjoy it. It's not that gory or anything but I loved how the bloody things that needed to be described were not sugarcoated. Thank you! <3

  2. Sounds like a a great read.Not my kind of book,but it does promise a good story.And I like the fact that the author didn't sugarcoat anything.I always prefer realistic portrayals,no matter how unappealing they might be.
    Great review Ronnie!

    1. It is a great read, but I get that it's not for you. I like it better too, I pick up a rougher sounding book knowing what it is about, so it's not like I can't foresee that there will be gory parts.
      Thanks, Mishma! <3

  3. Great review, Veronika! I've seen this book somewhere and wanted to read it, but now I'm sort of doubting it now after reading your review. So sad that Claire has the only POV that you get to read. I'm not a fan for books with multiple POVs, but it would have been great if Claire had more interesting thoughts to share, and not just ones that confuses everything else :/ Also, I kind of agree with how you said it was strange that Claire was an alcoholic, and didn't even miss alcohol. Very strange and unrealistic!

    1. Thank you! I think if you're interested in the story you should give it a chance. On some levels Claire's confused thoughts made the story interesting, though I'd have preferred some kind of explanation in the end. It's always a bummer when you expect answers but never get them.
      Now that was a terribly unrealistic thing, thankfully besides this it was pretty realistic.

  4. I'm not so sure I could deal so well with an unreliable narrator and patchy world building but kudos for still being able to enjoy it. The idea of this book sounds so good its a little disappointing the author didn't pull it off as well as it could have been. Great review!

    1. The story was really great if only certain things had been explained properly in the end instead of the author saying: the MC is unreliable thus can't know the answers. Ugh, I was SO annoyed.
      Thanks. <3


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