When The Stars Go Blue ~ Caridad Ferrer

19 Nov

Every once in a while some benevolent being somewhere grants you some special wish you didn’t even know you had. Mine: Get to read WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE by Caridad Ferrer a few months ago. If this post had to end now, it would basically say: IT COMES OUT NEXT TUESDAY, ORDER NOW! RIGHT NOW! WHY ARE YOU STILL HERE? GO ORDER IT!

But, it’s my post so I can keep going 😉

I actually sent her back a totally gushy-gushy email after getting to read it. I just reread the email and the whole book rushed back over me.

You know those books that stay with you, the feelings, certain scenes, certain moments. They don’t happen that frequently. Unfortunately (at least for me), they’re usually of the not-so-great variety. Two books come to mind right away that every so often I just sit thinking “what the heck went wrong there” – Well, STARS is so-very-not that book.

STARS is based on the opera Carmen. Now, I know, some of you just glazed a little there. Opera? It’s like when people say “bible” – but they have one thing in common: High Drama! I mean, big, Big, BIG stakes. There’s love, hate, romance, sex, risk, betrayal, loss, passion, gain – basically, pick an emotion and whoomp, there it is. Opera is a place where things don’t just change for now…but forever.

Caridad tells that story – that Life Changes Forever story.


A dancer driven to succeed.

A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.

The summer they share.

And the moment it all goes wrong.

Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.

But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad’s affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

(glances at emails) – I just remembered why I don’t do reviews. Here’s the problem with writing about this book: You know those stories that are so good that you want to sit down over dinner and tell everyone about it? And then, when someone shows up late (you know who you are) you want to tell them again, but the story is so good no one minds. This is one of those stories.

But, the flip side of that is that, this book is so good… so surprising… that I don’t want to tell you anything. Not a thing. I want you to just trust me and go read it. Do NOT even read the back cover flap, just read the book. Honest.

But, since no one ever does that:

Soledad is an uber-talented dancer. I love how Caridad made her passionate, driven and ambitious without being a B-Word-We-Abuse. Seriously, sometimes when a girl is portrayed as those things, she’s often scarified on the alter of the Nice Girl. As a nice girl chasing a big dream, I have to say how very much I love and respect Soledad. She rocks the house with her dancing, challenges the norms of the drum corp and overcomes … well, read the book. Soledad overcomes what looks like the problem and then another one and then another one and then… Let’s just say, this is not a girl who walks the easy road.

Jonathan. Jonathan, you break my heart. You were exactly the boy a passionate girl would embrace. And did you ever need embracing. And that is all I’m going to say about that. Okay, no it’s not: You’re also cute and hot at the same time. Talented, driven and haunted. (Not a spoiler because we see it pretty darn quickly: Parents who read this book, I’ve worked with ones like Jonathan’s dad. Do not become that parent, do not become the thing that haunts your child.)

There are two lines in STARS that resonated with me so much, that I read just those pages to Vicarious Writing Girl (who is a more a ‘literary fiction’ snob girl, no real genre or YA going on there). You know when a page – a line – tells a truth so beautifully, so absolute, that you can read it to someone who doesn’t know what going on and they are just as struck as you. This whole book is like that, but these two lines… Wow. The drive home lessons we all learn. Lessons I’d forgotten I knew and needed to be reminded of.

 And so, even though my reviewing skills suck, this book does not. Not even close. If I could tell you there was a definite must read and you’d believe me, then consider yourself told.

ETA: WordPress won’t let me insert links. Check out WHEN THE STARS GO BLUE by Caridad Ferrer here: http://caridadferrer.com

2 Responses to “When The Stars Go Blue ~ Caridad Ferrer”

  1. Darynda Jones November 19, 2010 at 4:16 pm #

    This book sounds awesome!!!! I’ve read another by Caridad and it rocked. She’s an amazing writer.

  2. briaq November 19, 2010 at 4:26 pm #

    Hi Ms Jones – Yes, honestly. This gush fest wasn’t a favor or a pay off. She had no idea I was going to do this. I honestly am just blown away by this book – go order it so we can talk about it! LOL

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: