Title: The Girl Who Read the Stars
Author: Skylar Dorset
Series: Otherworld (Book 01.5)
Read Type: eARC from SOURCEBOOKS fire
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Set after Skylar Dorset’s debut The Girl Who Never Was and before the thrilling conclusion to her Otherworld duology, The Boy With the Hidden Name, this novella is told from the perspective of Merrow, the Fay of the Summer Equinox.
Merrow could tell is was going to be a good school year because Jupiter was moving into her constellation. Merrow read the stars...well, sometimes she got a feeling anyway. The stars were always dancing — they were difficult to understand. And then there was Trow. He was a new boy at school and Merrow got a feeling... Which is weird because she’s never minded being on her own before. (She wasn’t exactly popular.) But there was something about Trow. And a prophecy and fate and danger and love — if only the stars would hold still.
Skylar’s first story was a tale of romantic intrigue involving two
feuding factions of squirrels. Think “Romeo & Juliet” but with bushy
tails and added espionage. She was seven.
Since that time, Skylar’s head has been filled with lots of
characters and lots of drama. She is delighted to be able to share some
of it with all of you now, because, honestly, it was getting pretty loud
and crowded in there.
Skylar is a born-and-bred New Englander, which is why Boston was a
natural setting for her debut novel, THE GIRL WHO NEVER WAS. Skylar
shares her home with a cardboard cutout of the Tenth Doctor,
lots of Mardi Gras beads from the time she spent living in New Orleans,
and a harp she’s supposed to be teaching herself to play. She’d like to
get a dog.
Strong language: Some, mild
Sexual content: No
Please note: I have read an advanced reader copy of the sequel, The Boy With the Hidden Name before this novella so I had some insight into what was happening. Any inconsistencies in my review can be put down to that.
Merrow is a high school girl and a bit of a loner, but she doesn't mind about that part. After all she has the yoga classes she teaches, reading tarot cards, the stars, the way salt and pepper fall as well as dust motes to tell her it will be a good year. She doesn't know why, but it just will be. After all, we all know the stars can be a bit fickle like that!
She also has two Moms, one a hippie yoga teacher (she owns the studio Merrow gets to teach some classes at, and a lawyer Mom who keeps them both tied to the ground so they don't float away in their stars!
The book is written in first person, a very chatty voice used, the kind you'd be happy to sit and listen to as she tells you crazy stories of her life she feels are completely normal. She still has many of the complaints of a normal youth, but gets along with both her moms smashingly and finds her solace around them. I loved that that was just a fact, not a big thing made of it, just a fleeting line in the story before we move on.
So Merrow knows she will be having a good year – until she sits down in homeroom and finds a new boy in front of her, the first boy she's ever really paid attention to. Then the stars and tarot and salt and pepper and dust motes and everything else start to tell her things that make no sense. There's a boy. And she's far too attracted. She never gets attracted. Can this be a good thing?
I found said boy, Trow, (yes there is a slight penchant for unusual names, which I found charming) seems nice, if a bit dry and with secrets. Well, he's her first boy-interest, this could never go smoothly, now could it?
I thought at times the plot was a bit hectic, to use an example Merrow might think of, it was a bit like a long string of wiggly spaghetti that had wrapped around itself and gotten confused in places as to which way you went at the crossing. Having read the sequel I knew things about certain characters, so I found it easier to follow, but I do worry some readers may be confused.
The supernatural element, excluding the fortune and future reading in its various forms, was introduced suddenly into our laps, however, like that piece of tangled spaghetti above it was slowly and carefully unravelled into a roughly straight line so everybody understood what was happening. Much like young love, the parties this most involved were the last to understand!
This was a sweet novella with a thoroughly charming voice that made me want to be friends with Merrow, the point of view character, from the very first chapter. At times it was confusing, but there were also fascinating conversations about life, and takes on aspects that only a hippie teen could have.
If you are not used to fantasy I would recommend you consider reading The Boy With The Hidden Name first, however, I think you should definitely return to this. Readers of fantasy should get along fine with the novel
For voice I give it a 5
For casual use of a lesbian adoption in YA fiction I give it a 5
For comprehension of foreign concepts I give it a 3.5
Overall I give this novel a 4