I’m so glad I picked up this novel. Every bit as gritty and complex as the back cover promised, Made of Stars takes place during one fateful winter, and unravels the tangled emotions that bind a brother and sister to the broken boy they love. Kelley York explores a whole host of issues in this story—friendship, sexuality, domestic abuse—and all in a style that is as understated as it is poignant.

Hunter and Ashlin’s situation is an unusual one. Half siblings, they were born months apart after their dad had simultaneous affairs. For most of the year, the two reside with their respective mothers in different states. Despite the distance between them, however, they’re incredibly close, and have always lived for the summers spent with their dad. It’s here that they first fell under the spell of Chance, a mysterious boy with green eyes and a knack for turning the simplest games into an adventure.

It’s almost three years since Hunter and Ashlin last visited their dad, having been kept away while he recovered from an accident at work. Now they’re taking a year out before heading to college, hoping to recapture the magic of those childhood summers. But nothing is quite the same. Chance is older, and beneath the reckless charm they know, he’s more withdrawn. Gradually, it’s becoming clear that everything he’s told them about his home and family is nothing but a fabrication invented to disguise the grim truth beneath.

Then there’s the powerful attraction simmering between Hunter and Chance. Deep down, Hunter accepts that it has always been there, but now they’re older, it’s harder to ignore. It’s present in the shared glances and the longing to reach out and touch, the way Chance makes him feel more alive than his girlfriend Rachel ever has. But how can he allow himself to fall for Chance when he can’t believe a single word that comes out of his mouth?

Chance is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across in a while. A world of contradictions—clingy but secretive, tender but aloof, childlike but wise beyond his years—it’s impossible to be sure what’s going on inside his head. There is a darkness in him too, one that grew increasingly apparent the farther into the story I read. Nevertheless, just as Hunter and Ashlin did, I fell in love with this disturbed boy, and my heart broke again and again over his unhappiness and desperate need to belong.

I won’t pretend this book was always an easy read. There were times when it was raw and painful and immensely sad. Yet, for all its bleak moments, there was a great deal of tenderness too, and I was captivated from start to finish.

Buy Made of Stars from Amazon

Written for Rainbow Book Reviews

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