See All the Stars by Kit Frick
Published by McElderry Books, Scheduled for August 2018
Genre: YA, Contemporary
I knew this was special right away, commenting on how I loved the voice as early as the first few pages. But HOLY COW did I not know how much I would ultimately love this book.
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.
See All the Stars does something I LOVE which is that it makes me care a ton, even though I don’t love the characters. For the most part.
Ellory, our narrator, is so special. I adore her in both the Junior and Senior year timelines. Ellory feels real. Flawed in all the right ways and so, wholly teenagerific. Nothing bothers me more than when teenagers in books don’t feel like teenagers, and Ellory is spot on.
Matthias, Ellory’s boyfriend in the THEN timeline, is perfect. Not likable, an important distinction. But perfect for what he is. Sometimes, the good girl and bad boy thing is so very nauseating. But this is utterly believable. I believe Ellory would fall for Matthias. Their relationship feels real to me.
Ret, Ellory’s best friend in the THEN timeline, is kinda the same. I love her character, even though as a person I can’t stand her.
Also, I wanna say, I tweeted a very long time ago: “I just want to read ONE book with two female characters where it’s not a main plot point that one is jealous because the other is prettier.” WELL IT FINALLY HAPPENED. There are FOUR main female characters, and there is none of that shit in this book. Thank. Goodness.
The writing is wonderful! SO much can go wrong with alternating timelines, and I’m generally weary, but this is done so very well.
The differences between the two are perfect, also. The THEN timeline being more about relationships and dialogue, and the NOW timeline being more about solitude and with very, very little dialogue. To be able to pull off both writing styles so well is wonderful. Magic.
The pacing is spot on, too. I enjoyed the first half, but the closer we got to the end I HAD to keep reading, had to know what would happen.
I don’t want to say too much, no spoilers, but the end made me SHOUT SO LOUD. I was genuinely surprised. I had a lot of theories, and this wasn’t one of them.