Book Reviews · Contemporary · Fiction · Young Adult

Review: Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love by Lisa Selin Davis

Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love by Lisa Selin Davis
Published October 26, 2016 by Bonnier
RRP AUD $19.99
★★★☆

I’ll be your mirror, reflect what you are, in case you don’t know…

In the aftermath of her older sister’s death, sixteen-year-old Carrie is taken under the wings of her sister’s friends, and finds herself forsaking the science nerds of her former life and slipping into a daze of cheap beer and recreational drugs. Carrie – a talented guitar player and obsessive tracker of the coming Vira comet – is partying hard and fooling around with boys she doesn’t even like, even though she’s desperate for a boyfriend.

Her mother, enveloped by grief at the loss of her eldest child, has retreated to a monastery in the Catskills that requires a vow of silence. With her family splintered apart, Carrie is overcome at times by uncontrollable rages and her father decides to send her to a boot camp for wayward teens. Compounding the shame, and to her horror, she is forced to wear work boots and a hard hat – boy poison.

Then she meets Dean, a fellow musician and refugee from his own dark past. Throughout the summer Carrie learns more about Dean, about her sister’s death, about her own family’s past, and about herself…as well as about the Bee Gees, disco and the difference between wood and sheet-rock screws. Through love, music and her precious comet – and no small help from Lou Reed – Carrie fumbles her way through the complex web of tragedies and misunderstandings, to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.

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Before starting the book I had only briefly skimmed the synopsis a few months ago and had a vague remembrance of what the book was about, so when I picked it up to actually read it, I kind of went in blind.

Lisa’s writing was beautiful, I loved the metaphors and the fluidity of the story. I didn’t actually realise that the book was set in the 80’s until I read a couple of other reviews, oops. However, that does explain all the music references scattered throughout the book!

So, when I started out I didn’t like it but didn’t dislike it, but I pushed on and ended up either really liking it or disliking it I honestly don’t know?? But it made me cry so I suppose that means it’s good??? After sitting on it for a while I think I’ve decided I did like it. While the romance itself wasn’t exactly the highlight, I think I liked the family aspects more. The parts that made me cry were more about how estranged the family had become and what had happened afterwards, and my heart broke for the characters.

I also liked how imperfect it was, like life definitely isn’t perfect and things don’t always work out 100% right, and that’s ok. I also really liked the astrophysics aspect of the book! I felt like that isn’t something you generally come across in YA fiction, and I love space, so I was super excited whenever it came up.

Carrie herself kind of annoyed me sometimes, and I wasn’t a fan of the constant self-pity or how rude she was. I get that was the whole point of her character, but sometimes it was just too much and the other characters she was being rude to didn’t deserve it, and yeah, she’d gone through tough things, but that doesn’t give her an excuse to just be a terrible person. I also really, really, REALLY disliked how she kept going on and on about how she wanted a boyfriend. GIRL. Boys aren’t everything in life!! I was happy when she finally changed her mindset.

The book deals with a lot of teenage problems, like drugs, alcohol, toxic friends and relationships, and I think Carrie’s grief was depicted relatively accurately. Her recovery, however, I had minor problems with, as I don’t think it would’ve been that easy to do what she ended up doing over a one-month period.

I think all in all, it was an ok book, not good but definitely not bad. The ending made up for majority of the problems in the beginning.

I received a review copy from the publisher

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ABOUT THE AUTHORLisa Selin Davis

I’m super crazy excited to have my first YA novel, Lost Stars, come out in October 2016. I also have a novel for grownups called Belly, published by Little, Brown a few years ago. For the last 12 years or so, I’ve paid my rent by writing articles for The New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal and a zillion other publications. Before that I worked in film and TV, doing props and other art department jobs, including a four-year stint making props for Nickelodeon’s Blue’s Clues. I live in Brooklyn (but, hey, I moved here before it was cool) with my hubby, two kiddos and our kitty.
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One thought on “Review: Lost Stars or What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love by Lisa Selin Davis

  1. From your description of the book, I understand your ambivalence. I agree that the character would not make such a quick turnaround. You were wise to “sit on it” for a while before writing a review. I usually write one as soon as I can after reading a book, but there are some cases where there just needs to be some time to digest!

    Liked by 1 person

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