Where the Forest Meets the Stars
In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

Where the Forest Meets the Stars Details

TitleWhere the Forest Meets the Stars
Author
ReleaseMar 1st, 2019
PublisherLake Union Publishing
ISBN-139781542040068
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Fantasy, Mystery, Literary Fiction

Where the Forest Meets the Stars Review

  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5When my publicist buddy Ashley sent me this and said, you were this first person I thought of when I finished this one, it’s right up your alley and is very similar to Catherine Ryan Hyde I had a feeling I was in for a treat! Man was she ever right, I was totally charmed by this one it’s such an unusual and gorgeous read.I adore books about unlikely friendships and the sudden bond that develops between Jo and Ursa was the type that I like most of all. Jo is a broken woman, she battled breas 4.5/5When my publicist buddy Ashley sent me this and said, you were this first person I thought of when I finished this one, it’s right up your alley and is very similar to Catherine Ryan Hyde I had a feeling I was in for a treat! Man was she ever right, I was totally charmed by this one it’s such an unusual and gorgeous read.I adore books about unlikely friendships and the sudden bond that develops between Jo and Ursa was the type that I like most of all. Jo is a broken woman, she battled breast cancer at a very young age and has isolated herself from the outside world. She’s an ornithologist making it very easy to live a secluded life and the last thing she wants to deal with is a young girl. Ursa is the type of character that grabs your attention and your heart instantly, she’s such a strange child, but she’s precocious as well and she wiggled her way into my heart just as fast as she got into Jo’s. These two were both incredibly well developed, very deep and complex and extremely fascinating, especially Ursa. I was dying to hear her full story because the story she shares with Jo was so out there and I read this one fast because I was so intrigued.This had such a magical feel to it, both because of Ursa’s individuality but also because Vanderah has a bewitching writing style. I absolutely loved the meaning behind this, it was about the bonds of love, second chances and most importantly the power of keeping hope alive.Where the Forest Meets the Stars in three words: Enchanting, Insightful and Extraordinary.
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    Oh my heart. Sob sob sob. I loved, adored, TREASURED this book and I didn’t want it to end. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll keep it brief but it was just PERFECT. Full of magic and hope and despair and pain and longing and love and loss and fear and more magic. Woven throughout the story are threads of love. Love lost, love gained, love that the characters dreamt of but weren’t sure they deserved, weren’t sure they were capable of. Tenderly and beautifully written.
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  • Goth Gone Grey
    January 1, 1970
    Magical quarks, full of emotion, possible spoilers. First few pages: Alien kid, like KPAX or Sati. Ok, I can get into this. A few more pages: Ominous foreshadowing. Not digging that. But hey, there's a cute dog, too! A few chapters in: A romance between two damaged people. This works, too, and it works with the star child and the dog. Nice. I'll just forget about that foreshadowing nonsense. A few more chapters: Ooooooohhhhh.... This book is going to break my heart. After more chapters: Emotiona Magical quarks, full of emotion, possible spoilers. First few pages: Alien kid, like KPAX or Sati. Ok, I can get into this. A few more pages: Ominous foreshadowing. Not digging that. But hey, there's a cute dog, too! A few chapters in: A romance between two damaged people. This works, too, and it works with the star child and the dog. Nice. I'll just forget about that foreshadowing nonsense. A few more chapters: Ooooooohhhhh.... This book is going to break my heart. After more chapters: Emotional revelations from the adults, laid bare moments more intimate than any sex scene could ever be. This book is really well done. A beautiful example that mesmerized me: “When I knew my mother would be dead in a few months, I had two choices . . .” She looked at him. “I could distance myself from the pain or get closer to it. Maybe because I’d lost my dad without getting a chance to tell him what he meant to me, I decided to get closer. I got so close, her pain and fear became my own. We shared everything and loved each other like we never had when death was some distant thing. In the end, part of me died with her. I’m not recovered from it even now, but I made the conscious choice to enter the darkness with her. Everyone I know who’s lost someone they love has voiced regrets—they wish they’d done this or that or loved them more. I have no regrets. None.”Further still: Sh!t Gets Real. Heart broken - but temporarily. It heals. They heal. Conclusion: Happily ever after, or at least for now. I want to know what happens to these characters next, to read more of the conversations and interplay between them. Kudos to the author - for a first book especially, it captivated me under a spell woven of fantasy, emotion, and love. It's cleanly edited, charming in places, raw in places, and beautiful through and through.
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  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    *Got via Amazon first reads, one of the hardcovers I picked*
  • Kathy
    January 1, 1970
    Three stars for the first 50% of this debut book. It charmed me with the appearance of a child that truly did seem to be intelligent enough to be alien, and the young woman who opened her home and heart was also engaging. It has qualities of a fairy tale until it meets harsher truths. My preference would have been a short story that ended in the middle of the book.I appreciated the bird work, the natural setting in Illinois, the healing power of love.The gunmen made no sense to me.
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    If you are an Amazon Prime member and have not yet selected your Kindle First Reads book for February 2019, grab this now!What a great book! I started reading this novel on Saturday night and ended up rearranging my Superbowl Sunday plans so that I could finish it the next day. The characters are very human, very imperfect, and so endearing. The reader meets the little girl at the same time that the characters do and we are all swept away by the mystery that brings all of these characters togeth If you are an Amazon Prime member and have not yet selected your Kindle First Reads book for February 2019, grab this now!What a great book! I started reading this novel on Saturday night and ended up rearranging my Superbowl Sunday plans so that I could finish it the next day. The characters are very human, very imperfect, and so endearing. The reader meets the little girl at the same time that the characters do and we are all swept away by the mystery that brings all of these characters together.
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  • Suzanne Moore
    January 1, 1970
    An Amazing storyI can't believe this is a first novel! It's the best book I've ever read from the Amazon prime monthly offerings. I could hardly put it down and read it in two sittings over two weekend days.
  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    What can I say about this debut except this...I want more Glendy Vanderah! Wow, I loved this book and devoured it, but just didn't want it to end! So many themes and all wrapped together in a wonderful storyline. All the many ways we love and all the many kinds of love. All wrapped up with the natural world and all it's magic! Oh, and kudos for addressing the subject of social anxiety, agoraphobia, and depression. Currently dealing with this in our own family and was so moved to see those issues What can I say about this debut except this...I want more Glendy Vanderah! Wow, I loved this book and devoured it, but just didn't want it to end! So many themes and all wrapped together in a wonderful storyline. All the many ways we love and all the many kinds of love. All wrapped up with the natural world and all it's magic! Oh, and kudos for addressing the subject of social anxiety, agoraphobia, and depression. Currently dealing with this in our own family and was so moved to see those issues dealt with so compassionately and honestly. Thanks for a great read and looking forward to the next!
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    We all know exactly what we would do if a child showed up on the edge of the woods in their pajamas, no shoes, dirty, and with evidence of abuse in the form of bruises, right? It’s a no brained—call the police. However, when the child is actually an alien inhabiting a dead body that runs every time the police arrive, who manages to mysteriously make good things happen around her, refuses to leave, and obstinately sticks to the story that she’s an alien with no home on earth and no parents, it ge We all know exactly what we would do if a child showed up on the edge of the woods in their pajamas, no shoes, dirty, and with evidence of abuse in the form of bruises, right? It’s a no brained—call the police. However, when the child is actually an alien inhabiting a dead body that runs every time the police arrive, who manages to mysteriously make good things happen around her, refuses to leave, and obstinately sticks to the story that she’s an alien with no home on earth and no parents, it get a bit more complicated. You might give the alien a hamburger, let it sleep on the couch, give it a bath...The little alien girl says she has to witness five miracles before she can return to her planet in the Pinwheel galaxy where all the aliens look like starlight. Something about the girl is magical and ethereal, and her unbridled joy at witnessing simple things like newborn kittens and a bird’s nest almost has Jo, one of the main characters, wondering if she really could be from another planet. Knowing the situation was getting out of hand and she could get into big trouble, Jo, a grad student doing field work in rural Illinois, makes several attempts to get the girl to leave. The local sheriff brushes her off as an outsider, and has strong views on the evils of the foster care system. Another night she attempts to sneak away to call the police (out-crafting the alien is very difficult) by driving down the road to get more eggs from the “Egg Man.” She seeks his advice, and he gets caught up in something he wants nothing to do with. The Egg Man has some agoraphobia, but he agrees to a scheme Jo devises and shows up with a so-called egg delivery. Once the alien meets him she decides he’s another favorite human and loves to spend time on his farm. One of the little alien’s miracles is to make Jo and Egg Man fall in love with each other which has many complications. Throughout the course of the book there are a lot of funny moments to break up some heavy topics on cancer, loss, grief, depression, and abuse. There are a few “quarks” thrown in to spark some romance which was well written into the book. It wasn’t too hot and heavy or too light. The author’s descriptions of certain scenes really took my mind there. The swimming hole, the run through the forest during the thunderstorm, the girl’s first sighting of an indigo bunting, and Egg Man’s sister are a few stand out moments for me. I really enjoyed reading this book! It was a quick read and captured me from the first pages. It’s a love story, a story of survival and healing, learning how to trust again after a trauma, it’s a little about stars, ornithology, Shakespeare, and gritty crime. I grew up in a rural area running through fields, finding neat rocks, camping, cooking over a fire and roasting marshmallows, so this brought some warm fuzzy memories back to me of those golden days of youthful summers. I did not enjoy the last portion of the book, which I will not describe because of spoilers, but there was a “sit-in” scene that dragged on far too long. I was also a little frustrated by the ending because it wrapped up everything except the relationship between Jo and Egg Man. What happens? When will they see each other again? You can’t do this to me!! These few complaints are not enough to pass up this this book with paragraphs that tinkle like bells and sparkle like crystal chandeliers when you read them.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    This was a wonderful story. I am so pleased that I read this novel. A delightful mystery-come-fantasy that almost had me reaching for the tissues. It was just so lovely. And a complete contrast to some of the grittier novels I have read recently.The concept of Ursa being an alien within a dead girl’s body runs throughout the story. Even when the writer reveals the answers, I could not help but feel there was still more left unsaid. The bond that she develops with Jo and then Gabe is so wonderful This was a wonderful story. I am so pleased that I read this novel. A delightful mystery-come-fantasy that almost had me reaching for the tissues. It was just so lovely. And a complete contrast to some of the grittier novels I have read recently.The concept of Ursa being an alien within a dead girl’s body runs throughout the story. Even when the writer reveals the answers, I could not help but feel there was still more left unsaid. The bond that she develops with Jo and then Gabe is so wonderful and it is impossible not to feel the warmth radiating from the pages of this novel as their relationship develops. Initially you feel as suspicious as Jo about Ursa’s sudden appearance but, Ursa’s sweet innocence inevitably wins you over.Ursa’s innocence is amazing and endearing. It is a reflection of times gone by and an innocence in childhood that we, as adults, unfortunately lose whilst growing up. That precious time is something to be protected and I think this is one of the things that encourages Jo to care for and protect Ursa. Furthermore, the “miracles” that Ursa has come to witness are so unexpected but undoubtedly provide both Jo and readers alike that same feeling of warmth, as Ursa takes delight in such simple and natural things in life.The internal struggles that Jo and Gabe overcome are heart-wrenching. They are similar in their isolation and loneliness in life and it is Ursa that helps them to reconnect with those around them. She is like a little miracle in herself! Bringing a clarity, warmth and simplicity to life, readers share the excitement all three characters feel as they undergo a summer of discovery and a personal journey. Jo, having recently lost her mother to breast cancer and recovering from life-changing surgery, sees something in Ursa that encourages her to embrace company and a delight for life once more. Coupled with Gabe’s complicated upbringing, there is enough upset and trauma to throw these three characters together in a wonderful story-line.The climax to this story was unexpected. Reflecting the uncertain times we live in, I found myself becoming increasingly anxious about what would happen to Jo, Ursa and Gabe. The police involvement was difficult for me to read as I desperately wanted a happy ending to come from such a lovely story. Some emotional issues are revealed in this novel which juxtaposes with the innocent summer of discovery that happens in the forest. As a result, the closing of the novel literally made me sigh with the satisfaction of knowing that the writer had got the balance just right.This was a fantastic story. I was a bit reluctant to read this based on the blurb but, being so different, wanted to give it my attention. And I am so glad I did, because the book aftermath has left me feeling all warm, cosy, and pondering the real Ursa.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced review copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.This selection is currently available for FREE for Prime members so definitely scoop it up! This is a heartwarming debut about how a child teaches two strangers to find love and trust again.The story opens immediately with a child showing up at a woman's temporary home where she is residing while studying research on nesting birds . Dirty and sickly looking, she says that she is an al I received an advanced review copy of this novel from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own.This selection is currently available for FREE for Prime members so definitely scoop it up! This is a heartwarming debut about how a child teaches two strangers to find love and trust again.The story opens immediately with a child showing up at a woman's temporary home where she is residing while studying research on nesting birds . Dirty and sickly looking, she says that she is an alien who has taken over the body of a dead girl and has been granted access to Earth to witness five miracles before returning to her country.Have I lost you yet?I almost put the book down, but Vanderah's eloquent writing pulled me in to find out where this girl really was from and Joanna reluctantly lets her stay so so she can figure out more about her story. She recruits her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel, to help her solve this mystery. What they don't realize about one another though is that they are both very broken in some way and the child, Ursa, really does have the power to bring out the miracles and can mend these two together through each other.Of course, the girl was never theirs, but they become swept away in the magic and set aside the nagging responsibility of returning Ursa to her real family. These consequences loom while the reader wishes for a miracle themselves that will pull them all together.The cover compares this to  The Snow Child , which I can see in this story's themes, but it doesn't have that storybook quality that I think you can find in that story. That said, it delivers beautifully! I doubt you will be able to put it down!
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  • Lisa Stein
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. This was so sweet, so extraordinary in the levels of feelings I developed for the characters. One thing that struck me as very unique in this book was that quickly after there was some foreshadowing of something that had happened, you found out what that was. You didn't spend 300 pages with that lingering in the back of you mind, wondering what had happened, or if you had made it up. I hope I'm not the only one that does that.I hope there's a sequel. I'd like to know what else I loved this book. This was so sweet, so extraordinary in the levels of feelings I developed for the characters. One thing that struck me as very unique in this book was that quickly after there was some foreshadowing of something that had happened, you found out what that was. You didn't spend 300 pages with that lingering in the back of you mind, wondering what had happened, or if you had made it up. I hope I'm not the only one that does that.I hope there's a sequel. I'd like to know what else happens with these characters.
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  • Rituparna
    January 1, 1970
    I picked this book from Amazon First Reads, not expecting much, but it turned out to be such a wonderful heartwarming story that I finished it in about 3 sittings. The writing was simple and just seemed to flow throughout the book. The story itself was beautiful, simple and sweet, especially the relationship between Jo and Ursa, and eventually between Gabriel, Jo and Ursa. In short, this book was like a piece of warm chocolate cake and I wish the story hadn't ended.
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  • Maria
    January 1, 1970
    I wan't sure whether this book was going to be fiction or science fiction when I selected it, and I was nearly through the book before I could come to some decision on that, but I found it utterly gripping in an emotional sense. I laughed, I cried, I worried, and I wondered, and isn't that what good writing is all about? If Glendy Vanderah goes on to write more books, I will certainly be in line to read them. Fantastic first effort!
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  • Amanda Petermann
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this story from the start! Ursa was a character who made me smile, and I often thought about what my life would be like if I had some of that wide-eyed wonder and joy every day. It certainly was a reminder that good people are out there, and that we all have a little something to be thankful for.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    This story was well written and original. The little girl was mysterious and amazing, with a dazzling sense of discovery. The way the other characters came to acceptance and love was heart warming and showed the possible! It takes a while to sincerely believe the child was so brilliant and no spoilers here. I recommend reading it.
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  • Whip Rickman
    January 1, 1970
    Best novel in a long time!I gave this book five stars because it held my interest from beginning to end. You know it's good when you feel like you are watching a movie, instead of reading a novel. Right up there with Fried Green Tomatoes!
  • Kelly Wuyscik
    January 1, 1970
    Whimsical and adventurous. Not at all what I expected, but that was okay because I enjoyed it nonetheless. Beautiful imagery, a magical character, and a lot of good feelings. I enjoyed this one and glad I picked it as my Kindle First Read.
  • Kimberly
    January 1, 1970
    Beautiful, gripping, heart wrenching. Ursa will be in my heart for a long time. Excellent debut, looking forward to her next book.
  • Gerri
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautifully woven story. Ursa will capture your heart - she is amazing with her quarks. I could not put this book down. I needed to know how Ursa's story would end. And Nature is as much a character in this novel as are Jo, Gabe, Little Bear and Ursa. There are many layers to this story that weave in and out to create a story well worth reading.
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  • Renee Lundberg
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing!! Loved this book, and look forward to reading more from this author!! Such a page turner... Hopefully this turns into a series.
  • Book Woman 📚
    January 1, 1970
    What a beautiful story! Each character has painful issues but as they develop relationships with each other their lives find healing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
  • Brandy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Not what I expected. Kept me on my toes every step of the way. What a lovely story about being lost and finding where you belong!
  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    Really liked this one, and the many threads of its narrative that came together. There are so many interesting themes here, some of which I don't want to name for fear of spoiling the story, but this book deals with sickness and the stars and nature and mental health and the complications of family, and who you call your family. There were some characters and some scenes I wanted to be more fleshed out, and some scenes that I wanted to be trimmed back, but for the most part the story clipped alo Really liked this one, and the many threads of its narrative that came together. There are so many interesting themes here, some of which I don't want to name for fear of spoiling the story, but this book deals with sickness and the stars and nature and mental health and the complications of family, and who you call your family. There were some characters and some scenes I wanted to be more fleshed out, and some scenes that I wanted to be trimmed back, but for the most part the story clipped along at the right pace. Worthwhile and engrossing.
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  • Scott K
    January 1, 1970
    Above all, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a great read; it is well plotted, full of interesting characters, and exciting. Precocious Ursa, a child who appears out of the woods at the house of a wildlife biologist, is beautifully drawn and believable. She is the driving force behind everything that happens. Joanna, the wildlife biologist, is recovering from surgery and has no interest in taking care of a homeless girl during her research project in the wilds of far southern Illinois. Yet, sh Above all, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a great read; it is well plotted, full of interesting characters, and exciting. Precocious Ursa, a child who appears out of the woods at the house of a wildlife biologist, is beautifully drawn and believable. She is the driving force behind everything that happens. Joanna, the wildlife biologist, is recovering from surgery and has no interest in taking care of a homeless girl during her research project in the wilds of far southern Illinois. Yet, she finds herself caring about the girl and involves her neighbor, the mysterious Egg Man, a backwoods loner who sells eggs on the roadside. Without giving away the plot, the story contains a mystery, romantic tension and a magical twist that keeps the reader guessing to the end. One of my favorite parts of the book is its unusual setting--it is full of biological details that will interest bird and nature enthusiasts. I was also intrigued by how Ursa uses fantasy to deal with the traumatic consequences of violence. Ursa is one of the great characters I have ever encountered in fiction--she is a true force of nature.
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  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    Going by the star rating, I have to say this book was just "okay".(SPOILERS AHEAD)My biggest issue with this book is that I didn't like the protagonist, Jo.At all. The first half of the book she was a robot, completely void of a personality. The second half of the book, I thought she was very pretentious. Also for a scientist she sure is ignorant and bigoted, particularly when it involves mental health. I didn't appreciate her forcing Gabe to change so much just because she wanted him to be a ce Going by the star rating, I have to say this book was just "okay".(SPOILERS AHEAD)My biggest issue with this book is that I didn't like the protagonist, Jo.At all. The first half of the book she was a robot, completely void of a personality. The second half of the book, I thought she was very pretentious. Also for a scientist she sure is ignorant and bigoted, particularly when it involves mental health. I didn't appreciate her forcing Gabe to change so much just because she wanted him to be a certain way (forcing him to leave his farm to live with her, shaving his beard when he wanted to keep it, etc). If the roles had been reversed people would have gone berserk. It also annoyed me that she essentially told Gabe to "get over" his mental illness, then forced him into situations that she knew would make him very uncomfortable. Again, if the roles reversed people would have gone nuts about it.The second problem I had was the length. It felt like this story dragged on and on and on and on. Even when nothing particular was happening. It felt like it took forever to get to the point and wrap it up. This feels like it could easily have been half the length it was or even some sort of short story.The third and final problem, was the ending. I get this was a "feel good" kinda book that requires you suspend a bit of belief but that ending requires a lot more than suspension. How did the government go from 'no' to 'yes' in such a record amount of time? They can't even decide when they should go to the bathroom without a meeting, debate, writing up a bill, and arguing about it for the next three to five years. How did she get the qualifications and training done so fast when the state said no single parents and had issues with her health and status as a student?I'm happy the story ended with a "happily ever after" but I don't know...I would have liked the story to have covered more of the logistical nightmares the government and state threw in than the "nothingness" that was the plot. It was a little annoying to go from an insurmountable obstacle only to turn the next page and find out everything was suddenly hunky dory without explanation.This is a cute book if it want something feel good and quick to read (it took me a while to finish it because, again, I didn't like Jo and thought it was dragging out).
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  • Gina
    January 1, 1970
    Really enjoyed this one, which was one of my Kindle First freebies for this month. If you're having trouble choosing, pick this one! I knew there was more to Ursa than she was letting on, but the author did a great job developing her story, making it obvious at just the right point what was happening but not giving away too much too soon. You want to think this is magical realism at first but read on, it all becomes clear (and somewhat sad). I loved Gabe and his backstory was a bit of a surprise Really enjoyed this one, which was one of my Kindle First freebies for this month. If you're having trouble choosing, pick this one! I knew there was more to Ursa than she was letting on, but the author did a great job developing her story, making it obvious at just the right point what was happening but not giving away too much too soon. You want to think this is magical realism at first but read on, it all becomes clear (and somewhat sad). I loved Gabe and his backstory was a bit of a surprise but did explain his relationship with Lacey when all was revealed. Very well written, well-developed characters and although a tough read toward the end because of the subject matter, I'd definitely recommend reading it. The bird parts were a little dull but they moved through quickly so I didn't think that detracted from the book. I was worried they would focus too much on that as other authors have (I'm looking at YOU, Jodi Picoult!) and make Jo boring and stuffy but not so at all. I liked her a lot too and really felt for her, especially toward the end. For those wondering whether it's chick lit because it hasn't been categorized very well, it is definitely not. There is a little romance here but nothing too obnoxious if that's not your thing, and it's definitely not the only significant part of the story.
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  • M
    January 1, 1970
    A mystery and love story (not science-fiction) about a unique girlBeautifully written debut novel about a lonely field-biologist/ornithologist who finds—or is found by—a ten-yr old runaway who claims to be an alien PhD student from the Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major. This preternaturally intelligent and charming girl insists she has no home, family or friends on earth. Yet, she threatens to run away and hide if the police come around. Jo the field biologist and Gabe the Egg Man are enchanted by Urs A mystery and love story (not science-fiction) about a unique girlBeautifully written debut novel about a lonely field-biologist/ornithologist who finds—or is found by—a ten-yr old runaway who claims to be an alien PhD student from the Spiral Galaxy in Ursa Major. This preternaturally intelligent and charming girl insists she has no home, family or friends on earth. Yet, she threatens to run away and hide if the police come around. Jo the field biologist and Gabe the Egg Man are enchanted by Ursa, who is not in any missing persons data-base. Instead of delivering Ursa to the police and social services, Jo and Gabe break the law by becoming semi-surrogate parents. I knew very early where the plot was headed and predicted possible scenarios, but I was invested in the characters. I wanted to know how Jo, Gabe, Ursa, and others fared throughout this story, and I hoped Ursa’s sparkly quarks—which she claimed made good stuff happen to earthlings she liked—also helped her find happiness.I knocked off a star because there was OTT family melodrama and hospital-related drama, which slowed the pace of the story.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    A truly touching story....This story centers around three main characters all of which have individual problems to deal with. Ursa, a young girl, has experienced something no child should ever have to deal with. Jo is a student working on her PhD, while dealing with health issues and the recent loss of her mother and Gabe, a farmer who avoids the outside world. Jo and Gabe are brought together by Ursa after Ursa shows up at the home Jo is renting while doing research for her PhD. Ursa has experi A truly touching story....This story centers around three main characters all of which have individual problems to deal with. Ursa, a young girl, has experienced something no child should ever have to deal with. Jo is a student working on her PhD, while dealing with health issues and the recent loss of her mother and Gabe, a farmer who avoids the outside world. Jo and Gabe are brought together by Ursa after Ursa shows up at the home Jo is renting while doing research for her PhD. Ursa has experienced a horrible tragedy which she hides from Jo and Gabe. In the mean time, she worms her way into their lives and forms a bond between the three of them that leads to a dangerous situation for all of them. Ursa is unwilling to share any information about her past life with Jo and Gabe. She justs wants to find someone to love her and someone she can trust. Together, the tragedy unfolds itself and they work through it. It is a beautiful story of love and perseverance between three very different individuals
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  • bree
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED everything about this novel. Setting the bar high for my Prime first reads selections, for sure.I love novels where you can’t tell if the fantasy is true within the confines of the novel or if we are operating under our real universe’s rules (Pan’s labyrinth-esque: is this all happening or is it just in the little girl’s head?), and this absolutely fit that bill for me. All the main characters were perfectly crafted. They had depth, they inspired empathy, they were incredibly realistic t I LOVED everything about this novel. Setting the bar high for my Prime first reads selections, for sure.I love novels where you can’t tell if the fantasy is true within the confines of the novel or if we are operating under our real universe’s rules (Pan’s labyrinth-esque: is this all happening or is it just in the little girl’s head?), and this absolutely fit that bill for me. All the main characters were perfectly crafted. They had depth, they inspired empathy, they were incredibly realistic to me.I thought the background details were revealed at the perfect pace, truly allowed to unfold for the reader in necessary due course instead of just telling us all the background.I was afraid the ending wouldn’t be as pleasing to me as the first half as I didn’t want to let go of the idea of Ursa-as-alien, but I felt the author did a great job of explaining the reality while maintaining the magic. ✨All in all, I don’t think I could have enjoyed this book more and I hope the author releases another novel sooner rather than later!
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