Where the Forest Meets the Stars
An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.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

Where the Forest Meets the Stars Review

  • Larry H
    January 1, 1970
    There are books you read that you enjoy, there are books that you love, and then there are the books you hold in your heart. Having just finished Glendy Vanderah's stunningly beautiful debut novel, Where the Forest Meets the Stars , I know it will be one to cherish. What a special book this was.Joanna Teale is an ornithologist who is recovering from a double blow: her mother's death and her own battle with breast cancer. Bearing physical and emotional scars, she returns to her graduate research There are books you read that you enjoy, there are books that you love, and then there are the books you hold in your heart. Having just finished Glendy Vanderah's stunningly beautiful debut novel, Where the Forest Meets the Stars , I know it will be one to cherish. What a special book this was.Joanna Teale is an ornithologist who is recovering from a double blow: her mother's death and her own battle with breast cancer. Bearing physical and emotional scars, she returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in a rural Illinois town. She interacts with very few people—only the man from down the road who sells eggs, and those she encounters on her trips to the laundromat when the rain keeps her from her fieldwork.One night her solitude is broken by the appearance of a barefoot young girl dressed in dirty clothes, who has bruises on her body. The girl claims to be an alien from the distant planet Hetrayeh, and she calls herself Ursa Major. She says that she is on her own type of graduate study, and can return to home only after she witnesses five miracles. (It's up to her to determine what constitutes a miracle.)Jo is worried about what kind of a family situation Ursa has left, and even though she is concerned about her bruises, she knows the right thing is to return Ursa to wherever—and whomever—she escaped from. But Ursa sticks to her story about being an alien, and when Jo calls the sheriff to report Ursa's appearance, she runs away. And when the sheriff's deputy doesn't prove helpful anyway, Jo lets Ursa stay with her—temporarily—until she figures out what to do next.As the days pass, Jo begins to rely more and more on Gabriel, her next-door neighbor and the "egg man," to help her figure out what to do with Ursa, since the child has become attached to him as well. Gabriel has his own traumas to deal with, including social anxiety and a host of family-related issues, but the two can't help but be drawn to one another. Inherently, however, they know that a relationship between them can't work, given the fact that Jo will return to her graduate studies in the fall, and they also know that they need to contact the police, so Ursa can be returned to her family or at least placed with a foster family.But why hasn't Ursa shown up in any missing-children bulletins? How can this young child not only read, but understand ornithology texts and Shakespeare? Why won't she tell them the truth about where she really came from, and why does she keep endangering herself by running away every time Jo and Gabe try to get to the bottom of her family situation? There can't possibly be any truth to the story she's telling them, can there?"Gabe started to live as Ursa did, in an infinite present disconnected from the past or future. Jo let him have his fantasy. And she let Ursa have hers."As the summer draws to a close and all of their lives approach a crossroads, one night will change everything. It will put all of them in danger and expose the lies they've been telling themselves, and threaten to destroy the fragile trio they have built, even if it's built on a dream or a fantasy.From the very first sentence, I was hooked on this story. It reminded me a little of Eowyn Ivey's beautiful novel The Snow Child , in that the presence of a seemingly magical child transforms those in desperate need of rescue. But Where the Forest Meets the Stars has its own magic, buoyed by Vanderah's masterful storytelling, gorgeous imagery, and the immense heart of this book.I'll admit as I was reading this, I vacillated between wanting to get to Ursa's "real story" and hoping that she was perhaps telling the truth, despite the fact that such a resolution might require me to suspend my disbelief. But at its core, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a story about friendship, love, bravery, and how the family we choose is often more important to us than the family we belong to, so I decided it didn't matter how Vanderah wrapped up her story.When I saw that this book was one of Amazon's Kindle First selections last month, I really wanted to read it, but couldn't fit it in. However, I couldn't wait any longer, and nearly read the entire book yesterday during a cold, rainy day. It was one of those books you want to devour yet savor, and of course, I was sad when I finished it. But I know these characters will live in my mind and my heart for a long time to come.See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html. You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/yrralh/.
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  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    There’s a reason (or two or three) why Where the Forest Meets the Stars is an Amazon bestseller. It’s special! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ So special, in fact, I’m unlikely to forget this story or its characters. Joanna has had her share of trauma and grief. As a breast cancer survivor still grieving the loss of her mother, she goes back to graduate school to study birds (this in and of itself was fascinating, and a fun tidbit- the author had this same profession). Joanna has become a workaholic living a solitar There’s a reason (or two or three) why Where the Forest Meets the Stars is an Amazon bestseller. It’s special! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ So special, in fact, I’m unlikely to forget this story or its characters. Joanna has had her share of trauma and grief. As a breast cancer survivor still grieving the loss of her mother, she goes back to graduate school to study birds (this in and of itself was fascinating, and a fun tidbit- the author had this same profession). Joanna has become a workaholic living a solitary life consumed by her studies. Until, one day, Ursa, shows up at Joanna’s rental. Ursa is a young girl, a bit quirky, who doesn’t seem to have a home. She tells Joanna she’s been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. Joanna is too practical to buy this story and insists that the girl go home…Until the girl finally convinces here there is no home. Joanna thinks eventually she’ll find out more so she can help Ursa…Jo asks her neighbor, Gabriel, for help – to find out who Ursa is, where she’s from. The more they learn about Ursa, the more confused they are. The inconsistencies in her knowledge make no sense. She’s a child well-versed in Shakespeare? (Among other conundrums). The three become the best of friends as the summer is close to ending. Ursa has found her fourth miracle, and the fifth could happen at any time. There’s a synergy building when all of their pasts are exposed. What will the future be like for these three lovable characters?While I guess Where the Forest Meets the Stars has a paranormal or fantasy aspect, it doesn’t feel that way. The story is grounded firmly in the here and now, and Ursa has a magical power that can be only described as love. Pure, unadulterated, innocent love. The miracles she witnesses are truly beautiful (experiencing them through her eyes melted my heart), but the beauty in Ursa is all the love she exudes to those around her and the effect she has on them as a result. Oh my goodness, Ursa! You simply have to meet her. Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a story of friendship and the power of healing through friends. The writing is straight forward, not a spare word, easy-to-read, and so full of heart, all you are left with is hope in the end, and who doesn’t want to be left with that?I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Mackey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 or maybe 10 stars, I don't know. My mind is still blown. Don't ask me about stars right now. Oh wow! I know I shouldn’t begin a review with Oh Wow but I was so blown away with Where the Forest Meets the Stars that it has taken a few days to put words to my thoughts (and you see how well that has gone, right?) Oh wow is what I have come up with so far. Joanna Teale is an ornithologist is safely tucked away in a researcher’s cabin on the marshes of southern Illinois where she is completing her 4.5 or maybe 10 stars, I don't know. My mind is still blown. Don't ask me about stars right now. Oh wow! I know I shouldn’t begin a review with Oh Wow but I was so blown away with Where the Forest Meets the Stars that it has taken a few days to put words to my thoughts (and you see how well that has gone, right?) Oh wow is what I have come up with so far. Joanna Teale is an ornithologist is safely tucked away in a researcher’s cabin on the marshes of southern Illinois where she is completing her graduate studies on nesting practices. It is here that she is healing her body and soul after a battle with breast cancer. Nearby is Gabe, the “egg man,” who lives on the farm up the road and is battling demons of his own. Into their lives a young girl wanders. She calls herself Ursa and claims to be an alien in search of five miracles. It is obvious to Jo that the girl needs help on multiple levels, but the girl is brilliant and cagey and every time that Jo attempts to turn Ursa into the “authorities” she eludes them, leaving Jo to care for the girl until Jo can unravel Ursa’s secrets and find out her past. Surely she isn’t really alien, is she? As Jo and Gabe begin caring for Ursa, they find themselves enveloped in a healing process of their own. But there are secrets yet to be uncovered that will have devastating effects on them all.Where the Forest Meets the Stars is truly a magical tale. In the beginning you wonder if, in fact, it is going to fall into the realm of paranormal. Soon, however, you realize that the magic and wonder that Ursa possesses isn’t fantasy but rather the wonderment of love and that love; true, unselfish, altruistic love, has a healing, restorative effect on those with whom Ursa comes in contact. The miracles that Ursa seeks, baby birds in a nest or new kittens being born, pale in comparison to the miracles she brings to the lives of those around her. This is a story of forgiveness, friendship, restoration and, most importantly, love. It is simply but poignantly written, almost as a parable, and is one I encourage you all to read.
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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    Gorgeous storytelling and strong, relatable characters made this a book to treasure. You won't want to miss this one. This gem has everything I love in a story. I was hooked from the very beginning and my curiosity only grew stronger as the mystery of the little girl named Ursa wandered up to Jo's cabin.Ursa has a story to tell and  what a story it is!  Where did she come from? Where are her shoes? Why is she insisting she was sent to witness five miracles?The author weaves the plot in an all a Gorgeous storytelling and strong, relatable characters made this a book to treasure. You won't want to miss this one. This gem has everything I love in a story. I was hooked from the very beginning and my curiosity only grew stronger as the mystery of the little girl named Ursa wandered up to Jo's cabin.Ursa has a story to tell and  what a story it is!  Where did she come from? Where are her shoes? Why is she insisting she was sent to witness five miracles?The author weaves the plot in an all absorbing way that brings out the power of love, healing and true miracles. I was so invested in the characters and their lives that I was holding my breath during some of the heart-pounding and tension filled chapters.Highly recommend that you get to know Ursa and her story! Unforgettable in the best way! All the LOVE. This was an Audible listen for me and I have purchased my very own finished copy.
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  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I think so far this is the best book I’ve read on 2019. It’s so emotional, heart warming, poignant, amazing story of three people who try to live with the hand life’s dealt them. Jo, in a remission from cancer, Gabe, fighting with his depression and a little girl Ursa who defines herself as an alien brings them together and seal their fates. The story is about living not only surviving, staying strong and seeing the worthiness of your own life. It’s perfectly written book gives you hope, joy and I think so far this is the best book I’ve read on 2019. It’s so emotional, heart warming, poignant, amazing story of three people who try to live with the hand life’s dealt them. Jo, in a remission from cancer, Gabe, fighting with his depression and a little girl Ursa who defines herself as an alien brings them together and seal their fates. The story is about living not only surviving, staying strong and seeing the worthiness of your own life. It’s perfectly written book gives you hope, joy and positive look into yourself. I think this is a fantastic debut novel and I cannot wait to read the new books of the writer sooner.
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  • Elyse Walters
    January 1, 1970
    Its not a hype! I could not pull away!!!This book is soooooo easy to love!!! There is storytelling...and then there is FRESH- ORIGINAL- DELICIOUS - MASTERFULLY -ENCHANTING - TOTALLYENDEARING- storytelling...This is one of THOSE books you want to read!!!!! Go in blind! TRUST all the High Ratings!!!! Wonderful- wonderful- wonderful!!!!!! 🥰
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  • Berit☀️✨
    January 1, 1970
    A stunning story that will tug at your heartstrings,a tale bursting with love and sprinkled with magic! I absolutely Loved every single word in this beautiful book! A magical tale about a remarkable girl who brought hope to many. BRAVO Glendy Vanderah! This is an exceptional story that will stick with me for a long time. The fact that this is a debut is as remarkable as Ursa. Joanna is an ornithologist Who is spending the summer in rural Illinois, studying birds for her doctorate. She is still A stunning story that will tug at your heartstrings,a tale bursting with love and sprinkled with magic! I absolutely Loved every single word in this beautiful book! A magical tale about a remarkable girl who brought hope to many. BRAVO Glendy Vanderah! This is an exceptional story that will stick with me for a long time. The fact that this is a debut is as remarkable as Ursa. Joanna is an ornithologist Who is spending the summer in rural Illinois, studying birds for her doctorate. She is still grieving her mother’s death and recuperating from her recent fight with breast cancer. When Ursa shows up covered in bruises and claiming to be an alien from the planet Htrae Joanna doesn’t know what to do. Worried about the girl’s safety she allows her to stay with her temporarily. Joanna also meets Gabriel her reclusive neighbor, soon the two of them are working together to try to figure out what to do about Ursa. Ursa is a special little girl and quickly worms her way into both Joanna and Gabe‘s hearts, and before they know it they are no longer looking for missing children reports. Will the magic of Ursa heal Joanna and Gabe’s hearts? Ursa might have only been nine years old but she was one of the most extraordinary characters I have ever had the pleasure of meeting in a book. Alien or human, from the stars or from the earth, it doesn’t matter she was an amazing character! Whether she had special powers or not she was magic! Joanna and Gabe weren’t too bad either, I really loved how much they loved this little girl. I had a tremendous amount of sympathy for both of these characters, they had gone through some pretty tough times and I really wanted them to find their way to one another and to happiness. This book was truly unique, a breath of fresh air! I’m afraid my words cannot do it justice. This is an absolute must read, the kind of book that will always have a piece of your heart.*** many thanks to Lake Union for my copy of this book ***
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    A girl lost from the stars. A woman claiming herself after illness. A man burdened by his mind and family. Each one discovers life and love in spite of their individual trauma. These three are as varied as the stars but their need to move forward with life connects them in memorable ways. Set in a rural forest town filled with nature, mystery, tears, romance, and even a bit of suspense, Where the Forest Meets the Stars will capture you body and soul. The writing is lovely and the story radiates A girl lost from the stars. A woman claiming herself after illness. A man burdened by his mind and family. Each one discovers life and love in spite of their individual trauma. These three are as varied as the stars but their need to move forward with life connects them in memorable ways. Set in a rural forest town filled with nature, mystery, tears, romance, and even a bit of suspense, Where the Forest Meets the Stars will capture you body and soul. The writing is lovely and the story radiates starlight and miracles. “How long was I asleep?” “About fifteen degrees of star movement.” This is Glendy Vanderah's debut novel and I found it to be such a nice surprise. I absolutely loved it. Seriously, check it out.My favorite quote:“As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing.” “People think they have to say something, and it never makes me feel better.” “I know. I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.” Audiobook talently narrated by Lauren Ezzo.
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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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  • 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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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing… I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.He was teaching her how to play poker, and they were using oyster crackers as betting chips. “First guns, now gambling,” Jo said. “You’re a bad influence.” “Not for long,” he said. “We can’t stop eating our money.”"And I know what Favorite Quotes:As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing… I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.He was teaching her how to play poker, and they were using oyster crackers as betting chips. “First guns, now gambling,” Jo said. “You’re a bad influence.” “Not for long,” he said. “We can’t stop eating our money.”"And I know what you’ve been through—how it could have …influenced what you did.” Why did everyone think that? She kept her mouth shut, but she wanted to say that she wouldn’t have done anything different if she still had her mother and her breasts and her ovaries. She would love Ursa just as much.Did she tell you she once snuck a lamb into the hospital? … She knows I love the baby farm animals she works with, so she packs the lamb in her car with its milk, drives up to Chicago, and sneaks it into my room two days after my breasts were removed. She takes this tiny lamb out of a shoulder bag, lays it on my bed, and hands me the bottle. There, she says, who needs tits anyway? There are other ways to give milk.Before his life fell apart, he’d wanted to be an astrophysicist. He named his daughter Ursa for the Big Bear in the sky, and he’d taught her the names of stars and constellations. When Ursa was afraid of the dark, he would open her window a crack and tell her good magic that fell out of the stars was coming in her window. He said the magic would always keep her safe. After he died, Ursa opened her window wide every night, trying to let in lots of good magic.My Review:This captivating book bewitched and enthralled me. I delighted in the unexpected and stealthy hits of clever wit and levity that was surprisingly tucked into the most unexpected places. I gleefully endured the prickling and tauntingly enticing mystery that relentlessly beckoned to me to continue reading and ignore anything and everything beyond the screen of my Kindle. Ms. Vanderah’s writing was alchemy and I was ensorcelled. I was repeatedly taken with the layered depth of the fascinating and quirky characters as well as the thoughtful creativity of the storylines, which were complex and beautifully textured with cleverly amusing and cringe-worthy details. I waffled in my theories of whether the girl’s fantastical explanations and alien assertions could be true as she was oddly intelligent and insightful, and far more advanced than many adults in her ability to absorb knowledge or sketch, yet she was a small child with an estimated age of nine. My curiosity was as unabating as Ursa’s quarks. I reveled in this stunning and cunningly crafted tale from beginning to end and was absolutely staggered once aware it was the author’s debut. Glendy Vanderah is definitely one to watch. A Five-Stars rating is not enough by half.
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  • Jennifer Kyle
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars! What a wonderful story. This is definitely an author to look out for!!!
  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars rounded up! This is not a book that was on my radar at all, but I kept seeing all these rave reviews so I thought I would make some room and take a chance. I'm really glad I did because I normally would have skipped right by it had it not been for friends reviews on Goodreads. Within the first page I was hooked on the lives of these characters. Jo is an ornithologist renting a house in the woods when a young girl, Ursa, appears and claims to be an alien from the Pinwheel Galaxy. Her mi 4.5 stars rounded up! This is not a book that was on my radar at all, but I kept seeing all these rave reviews so I thought I would make some room and take a chance. I'm really glad I did because I normally would have skipped right by it had it not been for friends reviews on Goodreads. Within the first page I was hooked on the lives of these characters. Jo is an ornithologist renting a house in the woods when a young girl, Ursa, appears and claims to be an alien from the Pinwheel Galaxy. Her mission is to witness five miracles on Earth. Jo believes she is a missing child and tries to find out where she is really from. During the time that Ursa stays with Jo, the aloof man who lives next store gets caught in Ursa's spell and soon the three of them are far beyond returning things to as they were before her arrival. It's best to go in as blind as possible because there are a lot of special moments in this story. There was a plot point I didn't see coming that I thought really kicked this up to another level. Without it, I am not sure I would have given it such a strong rating. If the descriptions of "magical", "fantasy" and "alien" scare you off - don't let them. This is a really special book that should be read by everyone. I can't believe it's a debut!!Thanks to Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Glendy Vanderah for the opportunity to read this book and provide an honest review. Review Posted: 4/11/19Book Publication Date: 03/01/19
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    This was an amazon first read selection for February '19. I read through it very quickly -- it is that kind of book (and I took a 'read' day this past weekend for myself). I think that the premise and the characters were actually quite unique and built on a solid foundation. As a research wildlife biologist myself, I related to both the biologist side of Jo, but also to the complex, agoraphobic Gabe...and to the awkward, fumbling relationship dance they endured with each other. I would have give This was an amazon first read selection for February '19. I read through it very quickly -- it is that kind of book (and I took a 'read' day this past weekend for myself). I think that the premise and the characters were actually quite unique and built on a solid foundation. As a research wildlife biologist myself, I related to both the biologist side of Jo, but also to the complex, agoraphobic Gabe...and to the awkward, fumbling relationship dance they endured with each other. I would have given it 3.5 stars up to that point.BUT...the book fell completely flat in the end. So much so, that as I was reading the last 10%, I was wondering if I had switched to a different book and a different author. The ending was disorganized, fantastical (in a bad way), and felt so rushed in an effort to tie up all the loose ends in just a few pages that it left me a bit disoriented. So much so that I had to read the last few pages twice to even understand what was going on. Also, after just coming off a reading high with 'Where the Crawdads Sing' and how well that author tied biology/nature to the story, this book really disappointed me in that regard. In fact, I was surprised to learn that the author was an endangered bird specialist -- this felt to me like someone writing about field research that had not experienced it. I think the author missed an opportunity to bring in that aspect more.Final note in case it will be helpful to others. I almost went to a 1-star review because of how the main character, Jo, handled Gabe's mental illness. This book was obviously written by someone who has not experienced depression...Jo pushing Gabe to be comfortable in a city, shaving his beard off, and expecting him to just 'get over it' was triggering to me. This lack of understanding and empathy is how I am often treated by others and it infuriated me to read. 'We' need to do a better job at not dismissing depression as an 'excuse' for someone to 'hide in their bed'. It is a mental illness, not a choice.
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  • Susan's Reviews
    January 1, 1970
    Where the Forest Meets the Stars is definitely quirky - something I always enjoy in a novel when it is done right, and Ursa pulled off the quirky element perfectly! A very enjoyable read!Three very damaged people (Jo, Gabe and Ursa) come together to form their own little family and support group. Of course, Child Services and the legal authorities can't see their odd relationship in the same positive way.This was an unconventional love story, where hope and love and "five miracles" triumphed ov Where the Forest Meets the Stars is definitely quirky - something I always enjoy in a novel when it is done right, and Ursa pulled off the quirky element perfectly! A very enjoyable read!Three very damaged people (Jo, Gabe and Ursa) come together to form their own little family and support group. Of course, Child Services and the legal authorities can't see their odd relationship in the same positive way.This was an unconventional love story, where hope and love and "five miracles" triumphed over the terrible traumas which had affected Jo, Gabe and the indomitable Ursa. Hard to believe that this was the author's debut novel - well done!Highly recommended!
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    4,75 “buddy listening” stars Having finished the audiobook of Salt to the Sea I was looking for my next best read when Ari from Reading Under Street Lamps asked in her story who would like to buddy read Where the Forest Meets the Stars with her.I read the synopsis, saw all the good ratings (already more than 16.000 ratings on Goodreads for a book published only one month ago!) and jumped in! I won’t say a lot about the plot as part of the fun was guessing if this book was contemporary or with PN 4,75 “buddy listening” stars Having finished the audiobook of Salt to the Sea I was looking for my next best read when Ari from Reading Under Street Lamps asked in her story who would like to buddy read Where the Forest Meets the Stars with her.I read the synopsis, saw all the good ratings (already more than 16.000 ratings on Goodreads for a book published only one month ago!) and jumped in! I won’t say a lot about the plot as part of the fun was guessing if this book was contemporary or with PNR element or with an alien come to visit us to teach the characters some lesson, kind of like a philosophical tale.Know that right from the start I was engrossed in the story! I even earned my “warrior” badge on audible as I could not stop listening to that story!   Glendy Vanderah has what I told Ari a “mature” writing while Ari called it “crisp, clean and precise”. It does not have unnecessary flourishes, goes straight to the essential yet has a poetic quality. Jo has lost her mother two years ago. She’s also beat breast cancer and her body has been altered forever. She is trying to catch up on the lost time and get her PhD. Her specialty are birds and when the story begins she is in a summer cabin, loaned by a professor for students wanting to make some field work on the summer holiday.Every day Jo wakes up early and goes observing nests, jotting down notes for her thesis.The writing is so good that I could see the nature, the fields, the forest, the birds. I could feel the sun rays, the blistering heat. I was really studying these birds right alongside Joanna. One day Joanna will notice a small girl observing her from the fringe of the forest, close to her home. When the child comes closer she will tell Jo that she comes from the stars, from the Pinwheel Galaxy. She took the body of a dead girl and is on earth to complete her PhD, observing humans, earth etc. She will go back to her planet once she’ll have seen five miracles.Not some religious miracle. No. Things that will amaze her.The name she gives to Jo is unpronounceable and she tells Jo to call her Ursa.With the child comes a puppy, roaming the woods close to the cabin for some days now. He is an errant dog and will soon be named Little Bear by Ursa who took a liking to him.Jo will try to send Ursa home but Ursa insists on being an alien. That first night she will sleep in the forest.Jo sees Ursa coming back every day, marked with bruises and she will reluctantly agree to let her stay. One call to the sheriff has Ursa fleeing in he woods! As the sheriff’s assistant hints at a kid being worse when going to a foster home Jo will follow her heart and take Ursa under her wing while waiting to find her parents after e nlisting the help of her neighbor “eggman” alias Gabe.  Both adults want to find Ursa’s family but none is ready to deliver her to the police as Ursa threatened to leave if the police came for her. In their own way they want to protect the little girl, avoid that she ends up in evil hands and they will "share" her custody. Ursa will go on Gabe's farm in daylight when Jo works on her thesis and she will go back to sleep at Jo's at night.This is all that I will tell you about the plot.  The story is centered around the relationships developing between these characters. All have been bruised by life and have flaws. Jo has been deeply changed by her mom’s death and her own surgery that left her without breasts nor ovaries. Unable to give birth one day…Gabe is a recluse as he has social anxiety. He has more problems than “just” social anxiety and we will learn some heavy secrets that changed his life and altered its course. He lives on the family farm and takes care of his invalid mother. As he looks like a farmer, sells eggs and has a bushy beard Jo is surprised when she realizes that Gabe loves Shakespeare! Thanks to Ursa’s “magic”, her unrelenting curiosity about nature and its wonders, her extremely bright mind and will to spend time with both of them they will soon bond on a deep level.  I really loved witnessing their blossoming friendship. With small touches, step by step, Glendy Vanderah gives substance to their special healing bond. Jo will regain some confidence in her body, she will hope for more in her life than study and work. Gabe will smile more often, go out of his shell.Both were very protective of Ursa. The unexpected child who will teach them so much. This is a story about healing. Not only your body but your soul. How some people fate makes you meet will walk with you on that path and help you see the light again. This is a story about a mysterious kid who will teach so much to adults! This is a story of wonder and magic. That will make you constantly wonder what the truth is. Does Ursa really come from the stars?This is a story about care and love. About fighting for what you want. At one point in the story Jo gave such a passionate speech about why she should be chosen and would be a perfect fit to take care of Ursa that I really was on the verge of crying. I wanted to shout : “Just listen to her! Just overcome your prejudice! Don’t you see how she is right?”. This is a story about family secrets and siblings rivalry. Lacey, Gabe’s sister was evil! I despised her so much!!! Yet by the end of the story she surprised me and showed a side of her that I would never have guessed. Her change was even so extreme that I thought it was a little too convenient for the story that could have turned syrupy if not for another setback that showed up around the same time. This is the reason of my missing 0,25 stars. I was enthralled, enraptured, mesmerized. I wanted to KNOW the truth. I needed this to have a happy ending. When the plot turned into thriller I was seating at the edge of my seat, my mind completely focused on the riveting and dramatic turn of events. I simply could not breathe anymore!  To sum it up: this is a brilliant story, told in a crisp yet poetic prose and supported by a cast of flawed, relatable characters. I had a fantastic time buddy reading with Ari! This is a MUST READ and will be on my bests of 2019. Have you read this story? Do you know of any other story that moved and enthralled you so much that you need to share with me? Thanks for reading! Sophie Find me on:Wordpress: Beware Of The ReaderFacebook: Beware Of The Reader Facebook group : Beware Book Boyfriends Alert Instagram: @bewareofthereader Twitter: @BewareOffReader
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  • Lucy Langford
    January 1, 1970
    3.5***
  • 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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  • Sonja Arlow
    January 1, 1970
    I think my expectations were a bit skewed.The clever marketing had me thinking it was a lighter version of The Summer that Melted Everything.You have one otherworldly little girl, two broken adults and a whole lot of marshmallows.I enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Ursa and Jo, and the unfolding of both their backgrounds. I also like the overall message of redemption and the power of connection. However, some of the resolutions came too easy and certain elements of Gabe’s story did not rin I think my expectations were a bit skewed.The clever marketing had me thinking it was a lighter version of The Summer that Melted Everything.You have one otherworldly little girl, two broken adults and a whole lot of marshmallows.I enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Ursa and Jo, and the unfolding of both their backgrounds. I also like the overall message of redemption and the power of connection. However, some of the resolutions came too easy and certain elements of Gabe’s story did not ring true for me. At other times characters made huge about-turns that was a little too unbelievable for this skeptic. And then there is the romance. Up to a point it was not an intrusive element in the story but I am just not a fan of the romance genre in general.There is a time and place for sweet, feel good stories so if you are in the mood for something light then you may find this as delightful as so many other readers have.
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  • Anna Luce
    January 1, 1970
    ★★✰✰✰ 2 starsIf I could just rate the first 30% of this novel I would have given this 4 stars. Sadly, I found the depiction of depression and social anxiety to be lousy and, worse still, I thought that the romantic relationship between the two leads is...worrisome.Initially I was enjoying this story. In spite of the main characters' troubled pasts (Ursa, a child who shows signs of abuse, claims that she is an alien researching human beings; Jo is finally finishing her PhD after the death of her ★★✰✰✰ 2 starsIf I could just rate the first 30% of this novel I would have given this 4 stars. Sadly, I found the depiction of depression and social anxiety to be lousy and, worse still, I thought that the romantic relationship between the two leads is...worrisome.Initially I was enjoying this story. In spite of the main characters' troubled pasts (Ursa, a child who shows signs of abuse, claims that she is an alien researching human beings; Jo is finally finishing her PhD after the death of her mother and having survived her own breast cancer—from which she is still emotionally and physically recovering; and Gabriel, a young man who sells eggs by the side of the road) the story seemed light-hearted. Jo and Gabriel begin to get to know each other thanks to Ursa, together they eat marshmallows, watch birds, go for a swim. I sort of understood why Jo and Gabriel didn't drag Ursa to the police. They worried that she would run away, or worse end up back in a potentially abusive home. They do check missing children websites and early on Jo does end up calling the police. I didn't mind that they were being somewhat irrational...I thought this is a fluffy, feel-good read, why would I want things to be too realistic?For me things changed when the story begun focusing on the romance between Jo and Gabriel. Jo had initially dismissed him as 'egg man', but soon they realise that they have a lot in common.What bothered me is that Jo seems suddenly interested in Gabriel. On the basis of this new 'interest' she feels that she can push her way into his private life. After he tells her that he suffers from social anxiety and depression she forces him to 'get out of his shell'. She pesters him, believing that someone can just 'snap out' of depression, tells his mother of their relationship (does one kiss institute a relationship?) when he clearly was not comfortable with her doing so (she pushes past him, goes into house, and reaches out for Gabe in front of his mother: “captur[ing] him around the waist before he got away”), when he admits that he has never been kissed, rather than giving him time, she kisses him: “His body was radiating heat—and maybe fear. He recoiled a little when she put her palms his chest.”Gabriel doesn't like the way his face reminds him of his father and Jo thinks that she can 'snap him out' of his anxiety and self-consciousness by shaving his beard when he clearly tells her he wants to keep it. She coaxes him by saying that she loves “a clean-shaven face' and by bringing in Ursa, asking her “Don't you think he'd look handsome?”. When he says that “nope”, “no”, and “I don't want to see his face every day!” Jo ignores his wishes, kisses him and asks: “Don't you want to be irresistible to me?”They've known each other for what, two weeks? The day after their first kiss and bang! Jo waltzes into his private life, dismissing his trauma, his boundaries and his mental health,. Because she has survived cancer she thinks that she understands all illnesses and traumas. The story, rather than showing how harmful and emotional manipulative Jo is being it shows us that it works! Gabe is cured! Apparently true love cures depression. Who knew.If Jo was a man and Gabe was a woman this relationship readers would find that it is unhealthy, and that Jo's behaviour fringed on being emotionally manipulative. But Jo is woman so the way she treats Gabe is 'okay'. I was so angry at Jo that I became disconnected from the narrative. Ursa seems largely forgotten, relinquished to the sidelines, and is only given a few silly/cute lines. When the truth behind her identity is revealed it seemed over the top. The ending was laughably neat. Read more reviews on my blog
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  • TL
    January 1, 1970
    *Got via Amazon first reads, one of the hardcovers I picked*
  • Erica Robyn
    January 1, 1970
    Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah is a wonderfully heartwarming tale about the challenges that life throws our way, but how the power of love can heal all. However, this book wasn't all star-shine and baby kittens. This book was also thrilling, terrifying, and frustrating, and it tackled a number of really difficult elements. I loved every second of it! This book immediately found it's place on my top ten favorite books. Hence, the long review below!I’m so very thankful to TLC Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah is a wonderfully heartwarming tale about the challenges that life throws our way, but how the power of love can heal all. However, this book wasn't all star-shine and baby kittens. This book was also thrilling, terrifying, and frustrating, and it tackled a number of really difficult elements. I loved every second of it! This book immediately found it's place on my top ten favorite books. Hence, the long review below!I’m so very thankful to TLC Book Tours for giving me the chance to read this novel! It was one of my most anticipated reads for March, and I was just ecstatic to see it pop up as an option for a book tour!In this novel, we center around Jo, a young cancer survivor who has rented a cottage in the country in order to complete a research project about birds to complete her PhD. When she arrives home after a long day in the field, she spots a young girl. Jo is very weary of the girls presence, but takes pity on her and gives her something to eat. Jo soon learns that the girls name is Ursa.Over the next few days, the Ursa keeps returning. No matter how hard Jo presses the girl to tell her why she won't return home, all the girl says is that she is here from the stars and that she needs to witness five miracles before she returns.Soon, Jo and her neighbor, a man named Gabe that struggles with agoraphobia and depression, become tangled up in the situation. They both know that is it wrong to let Ursa stay with them, but they both feel very protective of her as well. They try to bring the authorities in, but Ursa runs away and the cop makes Jo question if forcing her to return would be safe.Over time, Jo and Gabe learn how exceptionally smart Ursa is and they take her under their wings. While they constantly check to see if she has been reported missing, they are a bit relieved that they don't see her face on the list of the missing. However, they both still fear that something is wrong.My Thoughts:As I had mentioned above, I was so excited to jump into this book! I'm so thrilled to say that it actually surpassed the hype I had for it.Right from page one, I was hooked!First of all, this book was wonderfully written. The descriptions of people, places, and things were perfect. The plot and pacing were great. And I loved how the story was so easy going, but it didn't shy away from difficulties and moments of intensity. The characters were incredible and the relationships between the three main characters and the handful of support characters was so realistic and wonderful! The three main characters were Jo, Gabe, and Ursa. I adored each of them as individuals, but I also adored their relationships with one another. But more on that in a bit! I wanted to make sure I highlighted a few of the darker elements of the book. These elements included accidents, infidelity, prostitution, child abuse, drugs, cancer, depression, and murder. Many of these things happened only briefly in the narrative.However, the two that were focused on the most out of that list were cancer and depression.Regarding the cancer, it was written in a way that was clearly well researched. When the topic is brought up, it is when our main character,Jo, has been in remission for a bit. When they caught the cancer, it was very early, and she was able to have surgery. The scars have healed, her hair is growing back, and while she still struggles from time to time, she is also very strong and accepting of how her body looks now. She was such a powerful character, and I admired her so much!The way the author handled Gabe’s mental illness was also very well written. It was realistic, the author didn’t hold back any of the punches (especially where others that didn’t understand came in), and they really focused in on the help and support rather than dwelling on the negatives of the situation. I will admit that I was a bit nervous for how quickly Jo was pushing Gabe, but it was also obvious that Jo was only pushing him because she could sense that he needed a little shove. I related to Gabe and his struggles quite a bit. The following passage really hit home for me:“But sometimes I’m afraid to trust how good it is. What if it all starts again.”“The people who love you will help you.”  Now, onto more lighter elements!The characters were absolutely amazing! I adored Gabe and Jo and their relationship that built up over time. I really enjoyed how they were both cautious at first but dove in with their whole selves and didn’t hold back once they were both ready to fall. How quickly they apologized to one another when things got heated was incredibly refreshing! They were both so sweet to one another. The scene with the two of them in the bedroom made me tear up with how considerate Gabe was about her scars, asking if they’re sensitive and if he shouldn’t touch them because he didn’t want to hurt her. Ugh, my heart! The relationship between Jo and Tabby is one of my favorite female friendship relationships I've ever seen in a book. While Tabby had a rather small role compared to the three main characters, I loved each scene she was in! I really enjoyed how upbeat and wonderfully supportive Tabby was as Jo's best friend. Far too often, I read books where the boyfriend is introduced and it’s a tension filled situation. Here, there was a very brief couple of seconds where it was just slightly tense, but then the friend was her usual funny and supportive self.And of course, the relationships that Ursa had with Jo, Gabe, and Tabby were wonderful as well. Each of the adults was so kind to Ursa and I loved that when they learned how smart she was, they immediately treated her in a way that was appropriate for her mentality; it was both paternal and a bit cautions, but also more like teachers where they allowed her to explore anything she wanted to explore, whether that was reading Shakespeare and learning more out Ornithology, or simply hanging out and having her nails painted purple and eating marshmallows.There is so much more that I would love to write about, but I want to leave the magic up to you if you pick up this book!Where the Forest Meets the Stars is Glendy Vanderah's debut novel. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for another book! I cannot wait to see what she writes next! My Favorite Passages:“You don’t have to say anything.” He sat back in his chair. “I won’t. As always, words fail when you want to say the right thing.”“People think they have to say something, and it never makes me feel better.”“I know. I’ve decided language is not as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.”“I’m sick. I can’t just ‘recover and move on.’” “If you believe that, you won’t.” “Like most people who’ve never experienced it, your view of depression is optimistically misguided.” He brought leftover cauliflower in cheese sauce for dinner.“Not yuckyflower!” Ursa said. “Jo made me eat it last night!”“This has gooey cheese on it,” he said, “and gooey cheese makes anything, even dirt, taste delicious.”“Can I eat dirt instead?” “Are you going to finish you lunch?” the nurse asked Ulsa. “I don’t like it.”“You asked for macaroni and cheese.”“You have to make it from the blue box,” Ursa said, “and the shapes make it taste better.”“Try Star Wars shapes next time,” Jo told the nurse.My Final Thoughts:I cannot recommend this book highly enough!It had absolutely everything I love in a novel; amazing characters, wonderful relationships, great description, perfect settings, an interesting plot, moments of suspense and action, and it was all so wonderfully written. This book made me laugh, it made me tear up, and it made me clutch the edges of the book in during the nerve-wracking scenes.This is a book that you won’t want to miss!
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  • Mehvish Zaidi
    January 1, 1970
    Where the Forest Meets the Stars was my bookclub’s March pick. Mostly, I do not like to dive into a book blind and usually do my homework before I start it. I read the blurb and check out the Goodreads ratings, look at the percentage of the stars given, sometimes I skim through the reviews if the ratings are mixed. On Goodreads, this book had an average rating of 4.24, with 82% of the 16,185 readers had given it either 4 or 5 stars. Now, that is something. My fellow bookclub readers, the ones wh Where the Forest Meets the Stars was my bookclub’s March pick. Mostly, I do not like to dive into a book blind and usually do my homework before I start it. I read the blurb and check out the Goodreads ratings, look at the percentage of the stars given, sometimes I skim through the reviews if the ratings are mixed. On Goodreads, this book had an average rating of 4.24, with 82% of the 16,185 readers had given it either 4 or 5 stars. Now, that is something. My fellow bookclub readers, the ones who had finished earlier, raved about it; claiming each word had to be savoured. Needless to say, my excitement to read was sky-high and expectations from this book were tremendous. However, unfortunately, this book failed to create an impression on me like it did on the rest of the readers.The story, in my humble opinion, is not unique or extraordinary. The novel revolves around three central characters. First is an eight year old girl named Ursa who claims she is an alien looking for five miracles on Earth and after finding them she will return to her home planet. Second; Jo, a cancer survivor and an ornithologist who is dealing with loss of her parent and third; Gabe, a young man who battles with mental illness and is looking after his mother. The lives of these three characters entwine as the story develops and they deal with their respective issues individually and collectively. I reckon the writing did not work for me, I found it to be inconsistent and inexpert. “But who was reflected there, the old Jo or the new almost Jo?”The pace was sluggish until the last twenty-five percent or so of the book. The story felt routined and fragmented in the first quarter of the book. I really liked Ursa’s character. Her intelligence and curiosity was well described by Glendy Vanderah. She was intriguing and interesting and had enough mystery surrounding her that I wanted to continue reading just to find out more about her. On the other hand, I could not like Jo’s character at all. I wanted to sympathise with her because of all that she had suffered but I just could not do it. I found her attitude towards Gabe’s depression to be selfish and insensitive. The scene where she almost forced him to shave off his beard, knowing why he kept it and the significance of it, made me furious. It was not her decision to make and her reasoning behind it — “Don’t you want to be irresistible to me?” Her attitude towards his depression and agoraphobia was deplorable, like he could snap out of it and was just making excuses not to do so. “This is my world, Gabe. If you could find a way to be in it, everything would be much simpler.” In my opinion, the author has taken a very casual attitude towards depression and agoraphobia and did not treat them with the attention and seriousness that they deserve. Depression and agoraphobia are challenging diseases that people suffer from despite have a strong and loving support system. A lack of support system may make dealing with the illness more difficult but a new romantic attachment, like Gabe and Jo’s in the story, does not miraculously make the symptoms disappear. I liked the idea of connection of lost souls and fighting for a family that one may make for oneself but Where the Forest Meets the Stars lacked the finesse in execution of that idea. This book did not work for me however, if you’re a fan of feel-good light fiction and are willing to stretch your imagination quite wide, this may be the book for you.
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  • Chandra Claypool (wherethereadergrows)
    January 1, 1970
    THIS BOOK. My heart feels so utterly full after reading this - I don't even know what to do with myself! I am in love with Ursa, Jo and Gabe. They all have their battles and come together unexpectedly and it's the best damn thing I've read in this genre in a while. Let's talk about the characters - Ursa, this precocious and utterly stubborn girl was an absolute delight. A genius among geniuses and certainly a girl you cannot ignore and who will make anyone around her absolutely just fawn in ador THIS BOOK. My heart feels so utterly full after reading this - I don't even know what to do with myself! I am in love with Ursa, Jo and Gabe. They all have their battles and come together unexpectedly and it's the best damn thing I've read in this genre in a while. Let's talk about the characters - Ursa, this precocious and utterly stubborn girl was an absolute delight. A genius among geniuses and certainly a girl you cannot ignore and who will make anyone around her absolutely just fawn in adoration over her (when they're not annoyed at her stubborn streak, that is.. but even that is too precious). Jo, a cancer survivor, a strong ass woman and wow - the scene with her in the river shedding her inhibitions - I was clapping for her during this entire part. Then Gabe - the neighbor, the egg seller and the bearded man. His gruff teddy bear ways are the perfect addition. Then there's Tabby who is about the most interesting and fun loving person I've read in a while - her quirkiness and actions had me cracking up - everyone could use a friend like her for sure. Look, I don't even know how to describe or where to begin on why you should absolutely read this book but you should Go. Run. Buy and READ IMMEDIATELY. I'm completely floored that this is a debut novel. The way the author weaves some very serious subjects into this story of unexpected friendships, love and responsibility is nothing short of spectacular. I had one very tiny issue with the sister but it's such a blip that I just shoved it aside and moved about my business. The message of coming together, blossoming unexpected loves, the healing power of those that bond you... it's a feel good book with a lot of heavy hitting subjects intricately weaved throughout. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.Thank you Lake Union for this book.
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  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    When this book showed up in my inbox for review, I wasn’t entirely sure it was something I wanted to read. It sounded a little sad and on the heavy side so initially I set it to the side as a ‘probably wouldn’t review’ book.But I wasn’t quite ready to write it off so I waited a few days to see if I might change my mind. The summary kept comping back into my mind and I kept thinking about the beautiful blue cover and interesting plot.Eventually I decided on saying yes to this one, mostly because When this book showed up in my inbox for review, I wasn’t entirely sure it was something I wanted to read. It sounded a little sad and on the heavy side so initially I set it to the side as a ‘probably wouldn’t review’ book.But I wasn’t quite ready to write it off so I waited a few days to see if I might change my mind. The summary kept comping back into my mind and I kept thinking about the beautiful blue cover and interesting plot.Eventually I decided on saying yes to this one, mostly because it sounded magical and elegant even if it was going to be a heavy, sad, tear jerker.And I was right, this was a very emotional book but it was a special book. It was so memorable and stayed with me for a number of days after I finished it. I had to keep Kleenex handy and I had a few days where I just had to set it down to give myself a little breather.This book had a lot to recommend itself—-so many emotional high notes as well. This book was about love, loss, grief, pain, longing, and all topped off with a little bit of magic. It was exceptional and a story that I didn’t want to see end, even if my emotions were ready for it to end already!I loved the wildlife and biology angle in this book. I thought it added an interesting element to a much larger story and I think that readers will find those bits interesting and new. There were parts of the story that initially I thought weren’t going to work (ie; alien child Ursa), but surprisingly, after a couple of pages I didn’t care because the writing was beautiful, the use of wildlife interesting, and the characters real and well developed.This is a book that you are meant to experience not just read about and think, sure I will add it to my TBR and pick it up some time. While you certainly need to be prepared for a heavy hitting emotional book such as this, the story itself is so beautiful that you don’t want to miss out on it and let it waste away on your shelf! Go out and read it. You will never fully be ready for this story, but have some Kleenex handy and just enjoy the unfolding of an interesting tale!See my full review here
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  • Hallie Szott
    January 1, 1970
    4.5Glendy Vanderah’s debut novel Where the Forest Meets the Stars is one that captured my heart and imagination, and I absolutely loved it.Joanna Teale intends to spend the summer simply observing nesting birds, returning to graduate studies after disruptive hardships, when she encounters a dirty, little girl—one claiming to be an alien, one capable of changing her life. The girl, known as Ursa, claims to be searching for five miracles before returning to the stars, yet Jo is certain something e 4.5Glendy Vanderah’s debut novel Where the Forest Meets the Stars is one that captured my heart and imagination, and I absolutely loved it.Joanna Teale intends to spend the summer simply observing nesting birds, returning to graduate studies after disruptive hardships, when she encounters a dirty, little girl—one claiming to be an alien, one capable of changing her life. The girl, known as Ursa, claims to be searching for five miracles before returning to the stars, yet Jo is certain something else must be going on. Uncertain of what exactly to do, she convinces Gabriel Nash to help—though, really, Ursa is too charming to be denied. Together, the trio faces the drama and danger before them, even as the story takes unexpected turns.As I read, I completely fell in love with Jo, Gabe, and of course, Ursa. Each of them has experienced an incredible amount of heartbreak, loss, and challenges, and those experiences color the interactions throughout the novel, in ways both good and bad—but not without plenty of lighthearted moments that made me smile. I worried and wondered for them as the story unfolded, questioning the truth behind Ursa’s appearance and how everything would end. By the end, I closed the book completely satisfied with their journey and the growth they permitted.A splendid novel of friendship and family, trust and bravery, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is one I’ll highly recommend to interested readers. It’s definitely worth savoring and enjoying.This review is also posted on Hallie Reads.Thanks to TLC Book Tours, I received a complimentary copy of Where the Forest Meets the Stars and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
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  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    This book.THIS BOOK!
  • Meg - A Bookish Affair
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars. In "Where the Forest Meets the Stars," all Jo wants is peace and quiet to continue her field study of birds after a harrowing fight with cancer at a very young age. A cabin in the woods seems like the perfect place to hide away from the world. When a strange lost little girl named Ursa finds Jo and comes to stay, Jo's world will be turned upside down. Not only does she find an unbreakable bond with Ursa but she'll share that bond with Gabe, a young man fighting his own demons and livi 4.5 stars. In "Where the Forest Meets the Stars," all Jo wants is peace and quiet to continue her field study of birds after a harrowing fight with cancer at a very young age. A cabin in the woods seems like the perfect place to hide away from the world. When a strange lost little girl named Ursa finds Jo and comes to stay, Jo's world will be turned upside down. Not only does she find an unbreakable bond with Ursa but she'll share that bond with Gabe, a young man fighting his own demons and living his own isolation. This story will break your heart and enthrall you! This debut is a powerhouse!I am such a sucker for damaged characters. Each of our main characters is damaged in a different way. Jo is still trying to figure her way through the world. Gabe is happy with his small corner. Ursa is hiding a past that could have broken a weaker person easily. I loved seeing these three characters together. They can't help but to be drawn to each other and each one seems to bring out the best in the others. I loved seeing how their relationships grew and changed with each other throughout the book. Their relationships are warm and real. I especially liked seeing how much Jo and Gabe lift Ursa up.I'm also a sucker for books that ask you to suspend your disbelief in a real way. Ursa's backstory had me guessing throughout the book. I don't want to give anything away but her back story definitely requires the suspense of disbelief. The juxtaposition of a guise of fantasy against characters dealing with really difficult things was so good. I loved this mix and I loved how the author did a good job of keeping the guise going so that you want to keep wanting to read. This was a really good debut and I'm excited to see what the future holds for Vanderah!
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  • Kelin
    January 1, 1970
    The more I think about this book the less I like it 🥺 When I first started reading it I was really enjoying it...alien girl, stray dog, cute guy, what’s not to like? The more I read on though the more unbelievable it became.Jo was a woman who had a shit hand of cards dealt to her in the last couple yrs. She even admitted that she didn’t really like kids and had a hard time connecting with them but by the end she was adopting her??? The decisions she made were so hard to swallow. I mean come on.. The more I think about this book the less I like it 🥺 When I first started reading it I was really enjoying it...alien girl, stray dog, cute guy, what’s not to like? The more I read on though the more unbelievable it became.Jo was a woman who had a shit hand of cards dealt to her in the last couple yrs. She even admitted that she didn’t really like kids and had a hard time connecting with them but by the end she was adopting her??? The decisions she made were so hard to swallow. I mean come on... she is a scholar and this 8 yr old kid keeps outsmarting her. Ursa was pretty likable. It always makes me feel bad when kids get hurt in books. I can’t believe she kept up appearances for so long and that no one missed her for over a month. She also got to call the shots way too much. Gabe was your typical hard exterior, soft insides kinda guy. For someone who struggled so much with his mental health he sure snapped out of it pretty quick. Unfortunately, it perpetuates the trope that love can cure mental illnesses... which anyone who has suffered with depression/anxiety knows isn’t the case.I didn’t like the way she portrayed nurses either. Jo went into Ursa’s room and basically caused her to have a tantrum and her response was to leave and let the nurse take care of it Bc “that’s her job.” Being a nurse I can guarantee that this isn’t the job of a critical care nurse for adults...I get that part of this book was to have the reader suspend their disbelief and just go with it but it’s really difficult to do that when kidnapping is involved. I really wanted to love this book and in the beginning I really thought that I would but somewhere along the way the author lost me. I needed a good cry and all I got were eye rolls.
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  • Jane Watson
    January 1, 1970
    What a great book! I got this from the Amazon early reads email and thought it sounded quite unusual from the blurb - a girl who is a naturalist working with birds and a child who appears to be an alien. From the start I really liked the characters, they were all strongly drawn and there was no wishy-washy wondering from the main character Jo, she just got in there and said it how it was. The child, Ursa was also very well done and feisty which appealed to me. The male character Gabe was almost What a great book! I got this from the Amazon early reads email and thought it sounded quite unusual from the blurb - a girl who is a naturalist working with birds and a child who appears to be an alien. From the start I really liked the characters, they were all strongly drawn and there was no wishy-washy wondering from the main character Jo, she just got in there and said it how it was. The child, Ursa was also very well done and feisty which appealed to me. The male character Gabe was almost a side character with the women characters dominating, and the story progressed rapidly with no hanging about. I thought it was a great premise for a book and it was really well done. Will definitely look out for more from this author and for a debut novel, I was very impressed.
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