Just Another...Book Crush! is a monthly feature where I invite an author whose book I've recently reviewed and loved to write a guest post and share their three latest book crushes. It's a feature I'm starting mostly because I'm often very shy to approach authors, especially ones I admire, and also because I love reading guest posts since, more often than not, they convince me to pick up a book even when the reviewer cannot.
For those of you who don't know, Where the Stars Still Shine is one of my favorite novels of the year. It managed to cover everything I've ever wanted from a contemporary read and Trish Doller, though impressing me with her debut last year, has shot up to my list of auto-buy authors. I am so excited to have her on the blog today to discuss one of my favorite aspects of this phenomenal sophomore novel: the romance! After all, who doesn't love a good love story? ;)
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.
Callie and Alex go into their relationship in an almost backward direction...which was a deliberate decision. Callie has been damaged by someone she should have been able to trust, so it isn't likely that she would enter into a relationship in a typical way. I did a lot of reading on sexual abuse and while it might seem more natural that a victim would close in on herself and be afraid of sex, there are victims who use sex as a way to feel in control after having their control taken away by their abusers. Callie has been seeking out partners who wouldn't leave her feeling shamed and used afterward, but--mostly due to her living situations--has chosen poorly.
When she arrives in Tarpon Springs, I wanted her to find someone who seemed like another bad choice. All the early signs suggest Alex might be like the rest, but he's not. With him, I wanted Callie to learn what a healthy relationship feels like. Alex respects her boundaries, practices safe sex, and not only can she trust him not to hurt her body, but we also find out that she can trust him with her heaviest secrets. If you're paying attention, you can see their relationship go from purely physical to almost exclusively emotional as that trust unfolds.
Just Another...Book Crush!
3. Jamie/Poe from the Secret Society Girl series by Diana Peterfreund
He starts the series as kind of a jerk. An abrasive know-it-all whose motives are suspect all the time. But he's one of those dark horse book boys you don't see coming and when his real personality finally arrives? SWOON.
2. Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
This quote right here kind of sums it up nicely: "He stops and looks at me. 'I'm here because of you. You're my priority. Your happiness, in some fucked way, is tuned in to mine. Get that through your thick skull. Would I like it any other way? Hell, yes, but I don't think that will be happening in my lifetime." Rough and tender, strong and sweet, I just love everything about him!
1. Ryan from Raw Blue by Kirsty Eagar
Ryan was, in some ways, the model for Alex in Where the Stars Still Shine. What I love about Ryan is that he's quiet and steady and even when Carly is blowing like a gale, he's a rock she can bash against until she's calm. Ryan is the man she needs to help her learn how to trust again and when she finally lets go, it gets me every time.
I could wax poetry about this post: that's how perfect it is. I love the way Doller describes the incredible love story within the pages of her story and both Jonah and Ryan are two of my all-time favorite crushes too. And, now that Doller has mentioned it, I totally see the similarities - and differences - between Alex and Ryan and I absolutely LOVE that. If you haven't already read Doller's sophomore novel - which released just a few weeks ago - don't hesitate to buy it at once! It's worth every penny. :)