Where the Stars Still Shine

Where the Stars Still Shine - Trish Doller Tarpon Springs is an interesting place. It has a ton of character, it's a little bit eccentric, and it's most definitely an awesome place for a book setting. After finishing Where the Stars Still Shine I knew I had to go. It's only a little over an hour's drive from where I live, and this was my first opportunity to bring a bookish setting to life right before my very eyes. I think the author did a fantastic job rendering the setting throughout the narrative as it was pretty much exactly how I pictured it. I walked the streets, and I easily pictured Callie and Alex walking them too. This book brought out so much emotion in me and I know I cried at least three times. I didn't sob or anything, but I did tear up more than once. Here's a hint though: I cry a lot. Or at least I used to. Now it takes quite a bit for a book to bring out that kind of emotion in me. I need to really connect to the story and the characters. This is kind of like me with Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. All those characters felt like real people to me. I wanted to meet them and I hoped they were real. They weren't, but...it certainly felt to me like they could have been and I wouldn't have been surprised if they were. For instance, is this the store that Callie worked at with Kat?It easily could have been. Sidenote: This is where I bought my sponge. I also bought a t-shirt. And the guy behind the counter could have been Alex's hot older brother. He was seriously one of the most beautiful men I have EVER seen. Totally not my type, but I still can appreciate the good looks. Alex was the perfect character for me to swoon over. First of all, he was twenty-two. That helps since I really can't crush on teenagers anymore as it's not exactly legal. Not only that though, but I loved his personality, how mysterious he was (but not in a cliche way), and how sweet he was. Thing is, all the characters were perfectly flawed. I didn't love them all, but that's okay. Like, I had moments with Kat. There were times when I liked her, but there were times when she was selfish and annoying. The same could be said for Callie though. And definitely her mother. And even though I felt the story was resolved maybe a little too easily, I still enjoyed it very much. Maybe giving it 5 stars was too lenient of me. But I really connected with the story, so there it is.But I think that might be Alex's boat. Can't you just picture Callie watching Alex from the shadows? And in the following picture, is that the bench she sat on while waiting for him?With characters that jump off the pages, the plot is not particularly the main focus in this book. In fact, I believe this to be a purely character-driven novel as most contemporaries are, and sometimes I don't like that, but that was not the case here. I don't think I have liked a YA contemporary this much since Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard. Do me a favor and preorder this book. You won't regret that decision.Is that the bakery where Callie picked up a Greek pastry and coffee and ended up meeting Kat for the first time? I totally think it could have been.And I am SO HAPPY that I have a favorite author that writes about Florida with the passion that I share. So many people trash this state with no idea of the amazing things that are waiting for them if they step outside the big cities and touristy areas. Not that the big cities are bad, but there is so much to be seen in this state that you don't get to see on TV and in the sensationalist media. They portray Florida like it's all a bunch of weirdos, old people, and extremists. It's not. This is my home and I am so glad there is an author writing about it in a positive way.