Before he leaves, Dad just stares at me as if he doesn’t even know who I am. He probably doesn’t. We don’t know who any of us are. Years under the same roof and we’re all strangers, circling one another and living with happy illusions about star-infused twins and the parents who love them so much that they let them adventure in the sky.
I’m just going to jump right in: Girl Made of Stars is such an important, beautiful book. Every aspect of the book is raw and real. The main storyline is of a girl named Mara grappling with the sexual assault of her friend by her twin brother and the hardships that it brings to relationships with her friends and family. Mara has an extreme and unique internal conflict when faced with believing her friend Hannah (who wouldn’t make this kind of thing up) over believing her brother Owen (who couldn’t have possibly done such a horrendous thing). Of course, this eventually develops into a battle with her brother and parents who support her brother’s version of events.
Woven in with that main story are Mara’s romantic relationship and sexuality problems as well as facing the reality of her own past trauma. Mara and her girlfriend Charlie just broke up. Unbeknownst to Charlie, the break-up is largely due to Mara’s anxiety that was caused by her past trauma. Mara and her brother’s best friend turn to each other for comfort and that causes even more problems for everyone involved.
The characters, Mara in particular, and their growth is pretty astounding. Mara and the other characters are faced with so many dilemmas and dramas that make them full, multidimensional characters. It isn’t over-the-top drama for drama’s sake; logic and backstory is provided for every issue, they don’t just pop up out of nowhere. Mara and her friends and family seem like real people with real lives. Throughout the story, Mara comes to understand the difference between being a victim and a survivor. Mara also learns that it is important for womens’ and girls’ voices to be heard and believed, herself included, and she finally shares her own traumatic experience with her friends and family.
Girl Made of Stars made me cry more than I’ve ever cried while reading a book (TFiOS and The Lovely Bones included) and I still haven’t stopped. In sum: this story will break your heart and not put it back together.