Book Review: Girl Made of Stars

This article was originally published in the May 2018 issue of BookPage.

Twins Mara and Owen are closer than close, so when Mara’s best friend, Hannah, accuses Owen of rape, Mara is shattered. Torn between the brother she loves more than anything and her own visceral understanding of the truth, Mara doesn’t know where to turn or how to reconcile family loyalty with right and wrong. As she tries to grasp this new reality, Mara must come to terms with a trauma from her own past as well.

In her highly anticipated novel Girl Made of Stars, Ashley Herring Blake (Suffer Love, How to Make a Wish) delivers a thoughtful, genuine exploration of consent, victim blaming and sexual assault—themes that fill the media today. Far from an ideological lecture, the novel forces readers to grapple with a difficult question: What do you do when someone you love is accused of rape?

Blake’s prose is specific and captivating, but what really brings this book to life is her ability to render fully developed, complex and diverse characters. From Mara and Owen to Hannah and Mara’s ex-girlfriend to the teens’ parents, all of the characters struggle in their own ways with what this situation means for their relationships moving forward. Each character is both deeply likable and deeply flawed, and readers will struggle to find their footing right along with Mara.

Though younger teens should be aware of Blake’s no-holds-barred exploration of the themes of sexual assault, homophobia and anxiety, Girl Made of Stars adds an important dimension to the discussions we’re having today, both in public and in private, and Blake’s deft handling of tough topics makes for an engaging and powerful read.