Review: Made of Stars by Kelley York

Made of Stars by Kelley York

When eighteen-year-old Hunter Jackson and his half sister, Ashlin, return to their dad’s for the first winter in years, they expect everything to be just like the warmer months they’d spent there as kids. And it is—at first. But Chance, the charismatic and adventurous boy who made their summers epic, is harboring deep secrets. Secrets that are quickly spiraling into something else entirely.

The reason they’ve never met Chance’s parents or seen his home is becoming clearer. And what the siblings used to think of as Chance’s quirks—the outrageous stories, his clinginess, his dangerous impulsiveness—are now warning signs that something is seriously off.

Then Chance’s mom turns up with a bullet to the head, and all eyes shift to Chance and his dad. Hunter and Ashlin know Chance is innocent…they just have to prove it. But how can they protect the boy they both love when they can’t trust a word Chance says?

I received Made of Stars from Engtangled Teen in exchange for an honest review.

Made of Stars is told from the alternating points of view of Hunter and his half-sister Ashlin. The siblings spend summers in Maine with their father and winters with their mothers. One of the best parts of their summers is their best friend Chance, who they met as children. Every year they look forward to meeting back up with Chance.

When Hunter and Ashlin are 15, their father is shot on the job (he was a cop) and they remain at home with their mothers while he recovers. Two years later, high school graduates, they both put off college for a year to spend the winter with their father.

On arrival, they immediately go looking for Chance, who they haven’t seen or contacted in the past two years. They’ve never been to his house, so it’s a surprise when it’s not the house with large windows and a pool in the backyard that he described, but instead is a mobile home. Chance’s mother says that he’s not home and promises to pass a message along. She’s not quite the mother Chance described either.

Two weeks later, Chance shows up and the three friends fall back into their old patterns. Chance spends almost all of his time with Hunter and Ashlin, leaving only at night when it’s time to sleep and sometimes not even then.

But there are hints that Chance is keeping other secrets, too. He has bruises he doesn’t want to talk about, and sometimes he disappears for days at a time.

Hunter has a girlfriend, Rachael, of about a year. She’s in college in Florida and expects Hunter to join her there next fall. As Hunter spends more and more time with Ashlin and Chance, he’s less interested in Rachael, ignoring her phone calls and texts, and becoming less enthusiastic about her impending winter break visit. By the time Rachael visits, Hunter is starting to realize that their relationship might not work out. His heart isn’t in it anymore.

I love these characters, and I really love the relationship between Hunter and Ashlin. They haven’t grown up together, only spending those short summer months together each year, but they really love each other. They get each other. And they get Chance, too, or at least they think they do.

But maybe they don’t know him at all.

Made of Stars is beautifully written. The first part of the book, before Chance’s mother’s death, is my favorite. I could have gone on in that world, experiencing their adventures and lives, forever. After his mother dies, the book speeds up and things get real and dire. I don’t dislike the second part, but I want more of the first part. There’s so much left there unexplored.

This is really Chance’s story. Because it’s told from Hunter’s and Ashlin’s points of view, he’s the character we know the least. For that reason, unfortunately, he’s also the one I like the least. Although I feel for him, I can’t get into his head and I don’t feel like I know him any better than Hunter and Ashlin do.

The one weak point of the book for me is the ending. There’s no real ending. It just stops, and while some people like that and say that it’s the only ending the book could have, I disagree. I don’t like it. In order for a book to be truly successful for me, I need it to provide closure or at least into the next book in a series. As this is a standalone, that’s not going to happen.

four-stars
addtogoodreads

Comments

  1. I LOVED Made of Stars! Hunter and Ashlin really were like siblings, they got each other. I liked that. And Chance… *sigh* I loved him, but can’t say that I totally got him. At the end, I understood some things about him, but it was too little too late… I just felt sorry for Hunter and Ash. We didn’t get to see it, but I’m sure they took it hard when they learnt about Chance…especially Hunter… Aww, this book was such an emotional read…
    Cayce recently posted…[Would You Rather?] Horror October EditionMy Profile

  2. This book has a lot of potential especially that its main theme is about relationship but I don’t think I’ll be putting this on my TBR list especially with that kind of ending. I’ve been burned before so nope.

    Based on your review, I think that out of these three characters, Chance will really appeal to me because I have this crazy penchant for enigmatic characters. It’s such a pity though that the author didn’t provide a way for the readers to really know him.

    “As Hunter spends more and more time with Ashlin and Chance, he’s less interested in Rachael, ignoring her phone calls and texts, and becoming less enthusiastic about her impending winter break visit. By the time Rachael visits, Hunter is starting to realize that their relationship might not work out. His heart isn’t in it anymore.”– This part here really made me curious. Is Hunter’s friendship with Ashlin and Chance really that awesome for him to fall out of love with Rachael? Makes me think that Hunter shifted his attention to Chance. Hmmn…
    Charlotte recently posted…Filipiniana Sunday {4} + Book Review: Icon of the IndecisiveMy Profile

    • I had never really considered the case of half-siblings who live with their separate mothers and meet up at their father’s every year. That’s very interesting to me, and Hunter and Ashlin were very close despite spending most of the year apart. I think they mentioned they talked on the phone or texted and emailed pretty often.
      Jenna recently posted…Review: Made of Stars by Kelley YorkMy Profile

  3. I am a huge cover judge, so that was the reason why I didn’t bother to check out the book — because of the cover. But now that the positive reviews have started pouring in, and I’ve actually taken the time to read the blurb, I have to say I’m intrigued. And also, it’s Kelly York. I know a lot of people who love her works, though unfortunately I haven’t read any of them yet.

    hey haven’t grown up together, only spending those short summer months together each year, but they really love each other. They get each other.” — I love this. Family relationships isn’t something very much seen in YA these days — even contemporary novels — so it’s always a gem to see real, loving, and whole families with strong bonds in books. And it’s amazing how well Kelly captured Hunter and Ashlin’s relationship so well, despite barely seeing each other.

    I’ve heard a lot of the author’s gorgeous writing as well! I like how it seems like the first part of the book is kind of preparing us for the second part, where everything gets dark and gritty. To be honest, I think I would prefer the second part more, because I have a thing for emotional, powerful, and dark reads, and I like books to make a huge impact on me. I’m so glad to hear that everything was done in a very real and believable way, though. That’s one of the most important aspects, ever.

    And yeah, the ending seems to be everyone’s complaint. I’d really dislike that open ending as well, because it’d leave me INCREDIBLY frustrated, not knowing what will happen after that. It’s like, if you’re going to end a book, at least end it properly! Don’t leave it up to the readers’ imaginations, because sometimes, everyone wants something firm and fixed. So I’m disappointed that MADE OF STARS didn’t end better, but at least the rest of the book made up for that, right?

    Lovely review, Jenna! You really portrayed your love for the book well in such a beautiful review. 🙂
    Megan @ Adrift on Vulcan recently posted…MG With A Kick: Wake Up Missing, Kate MessnerMy Profile

    • Oh, I really like the cover. Someone else mentioned in their review that they thought it was a paranormal based on the cover. It seems like a paranormal cover to me, too. I imagine werewolves live in those woods.This is the first Kelley York book I’ve read.

      As much as I liked the relationship between the siblings, I would have liked their father to be more involved in their lives (and the book) too. He’s laid up with his injury, although he is recovered quite a bit since it happened two years earlier. I kind of got the idea that he let them do their own thing even before his injury anyway. He wasn’t a bad character, I just wanted more of him.
      Jenna recently posted…Review: Made of Stars by Kelley YorkMy Profile