Book Review: Made of Stars by Kelley York

Hunter Jackson and his half sister Ashlin have spent most of their summers with their dad.  Their summers were spent with Chance, the strange boy who became both of their friends.  He was enigmatic but shrouded in mystery, and Hunter and Ashlin never really got to know Chance completely.  Now, Ashlin and Hunter are spending the winter with their father for the first time in years.  Chance is there, but things are different now.  As secrets are revealed, the siblings realize why Chance has kept his home life private.  But can they trust anything Chance says or does?

York’s novel is well written and engaging.  The novel’s subtle but authentic portrayal of two boys who fall in love with each other offers a fresh perspective in LGBTQ stories, and the complicated friendship between the three teens is guaranteed to pull many readers in.  This reviewer just wishes she could remember more of the story, since it floated away the second the book finished.

Part of the problem lies in the fact that both Ashlin and Hunter take turns narrating the story but don’t have distinctive enough voices to really differentiate their motivations.  Both of them find Chance totally captivating and fascinating, but the reader is told this much more than shown it.  Hunter describes Chance in a way that will immediately rankle some readers: “Chance was strangeness and whimsy in human form.”

Um, gross.  By setting Chance up as a whimsical enigma, York took the risk of alienating readers who are more suspicious by nature.  The problem is that the reader never gets to know Chance (or Hunter, or Ashlin, really), and as a result, it’s very difficult to connect to any of the characters, let a lone care about what their fates hold.

A bizarre cliffhanger ending will leave many readers scratching their heads about how to interpret the way things end up, while others will wonder if York plans a sequel.  There’s not enough here to satisfy readers, though it’s certainly fairly well written.

Made of Stars by Kelley York. Entangled Teen: 2013. Electronic Galley accepted for review via Netgalley.

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