In the aftermath of her older sister's death, sixteen-year-old Carrie is taken under the wings of her sister's friends, and finds herself forsaking the science nerds of her former life and slipping into a daze of cheap beer and recreational drugs. Carrie - a talented guitar player and obsessive tracker of the coming Vira comet - is partying hard and fooling around with boys she doesn't even like, even though she's desperate for a boyfriend.
Her mother, enveloped by grief at the loss of her eldest child, has retreated to a monastery in the Catskills that requires a vow of silence. With her family splintered apart, Carrie is overcome at times by uncontrollable rages and her father decides to send her to a boot camp for wayward teens. Compounding the shame, and to her horror, she is forced to wear work boots and a hard hat - boy poison.
Then she meets Dean, a fellow musician and refugee from his own dark past. Throughout the summer Carrie learns more about Dean, about her sister's death, about her own family's past, and about herself...as well as about the Bee Gees, disco and the difference between wood and sheet-rock screws. Through love, music and her precious comet - and no small help from Lou Reed - Carrie fumbles her way through the complex web of tragedies and misunderstandings, to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.
I was provided a copy of Lost Stars by the publisher in exchange for review via NetGalley. Following the death of her elder sister, Carrie has gone totally off the rails and, after being taken under the wing of her sister's friends, get involved in all kinds of things a teenage girl shouldn't be doing. She is rebelling against the world and her family following Ginny's death. When the book opened my heart broke for Carrie but it took me a while to truly connect to her but as her character develops you fall a little bit more in love with her.
As a result of all her waywardness her father makes Carrie take part in a construction group for young people over summer and, at first, Carrie fights it and despite always seeming to hate it she comes to love it, and the people she meets through the group, in its own way. They, and the group leader, Lynn, become a family of sorts to her and I really think that helped to develop Carrie and the journey she goes on in this book.
Of course, there is also Dean, the mysterious boy who lives next door to her and slowly becomes a part of her world. Dean is living with his aunt temporarily and Carrie spies him one day, playing guitar. As we progress through the story Dean becomes an integral part of it and I loved reading the development of their relationship. Dean is there for Carrie in a way she needs and a way none of her friends can be there for her, at the end of the day she is a deeply traumatised young girl blaming herself for a lot of things and Dean was just what she needed. Dean has been there too and helps her come out the side and embraces her nerdy side (which I LOVED).
This isn't your usual YA novel, it's a slow burn and the character development takes time but it is worth giving the book a go. For me, there was something throughout the book that was missing which I could never quite put my finger on but I still enjoyed reading Carrie's story and seeing her battle the demons that plagued her.