Brown Dog Book Review: Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Copy of BDBR What the Wind Knows0C7E37FB-B7B2-4DBF-A011-7681BCC8DBAA

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.

(3) Star BDBR Man, I don’t even think I can adequately explain how much I HOPED I WOULD LIKE Where the Forest Meets the Stars. I went into it, seeing all those (5) star reviews on Goodreads and expected to fall head over freakin’ heels. Instead, I felt plain old cheated once it was over. Like: “Really? This is what all the fuss was about?” So. Here I am. In the minority club again.

The (3) star rating lies heavily on the fact I adored the first 1/3 of the book. There were unique elements and the foundation for the story was solid. Even with their broken edges, I already liked the three main characters, the setting, the scientific/ornithological aspects, and the magic.

Then things sort of spiraled.

Not only did the book touch on death, cancer, depression, agoraphobia, and murder (among other things) – it also managed to mishandle most of them, in my humble opinion.

Now, what I’m about to say is a very personal bias based on my living situation:

Me: a woman in her twenties, with a mother who is currently battling Stage IV, metastatic breast cancer, who also has immediate family members diagnosed with depression and has seen firsthand the real life heaviness of these themes. So let me tell you, I was PISSED at some of the scenes in this book.

That’s all I’m going to say and I’m going to leave it there because we all take away different things from books.

The ending felt rushed. The overall mood felt rushed. And, when it was done, I was so damn relieved.

I guess I’m just left confused why everyone said this was a “have-to-read.” If being made “uncomfortable” is the essence of good art, I feel like Vanderah missed it by a thousand miles and left me with very little takeaway.

-Did you enjoy Where the Forest Meets the Stars? I know a lot of people did since it made several lists in 2019 and the average rating on Goodreads is a 4.15. I’m curious what YOUR thoughts were on this piece. Leave a comment below and let’s chat.

Much love, peeps-


One Comment on “Brown Dog Book Review: Where the Forest Meets the Stars

  1. Pingback: Brown Dog Book Review :: January Wrap-Up – Faith + Fern

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