Cover Image: Under Shifting Stars

Under Shifting Stars

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Member Reviews

Many thanks to the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of Under Shining Stars.

Told from dual povs, I liked the way that you could tell whose chapters were whose, even if they weren't titled. Both Clare and Audrey had particular thinking styles, amd these worked really well together.

The book is heartbreaking, but also so brave. I really enjoying this coming of age novel, the story of twins finding themselves and each other again, following the death of their older brother.

The writing style gave me Jandy Nelson vibes, and it was a pleasure to read.
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This heartfelt novel follows twins Audrey and Clare as they grapple with their brother's death and their changing relationships—with each other and themselves.

Clare and Audrey are twin sisters who are essentially living separate lives, having grown apart since the death of their older brother from a tragic car accident. Throughout the story, they attempt to salvage their fractured relationship, while also trying to figure out who they really are.

There's a lot of topics tackled in this book, from neurodiversity to fitting in, and gender identity to sexuality. I won't spoil the story by going too in-depth with my review, but I will say that I found this to be a tender and moving story about sisters and family and belonging. I really appreciated the approach the author took here and how they handled the topics mentioned above.
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A story of family, sisterhood - in a way - and what it means to find yourself while finding your sibling back in your corner.
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I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book had an amazing plot, but I felt the characters were a bit hard to connect to. 

Thank you kindly to the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for this review copy.
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Oh, this one hurt but it was a good kind of hurt. The kind of hurt that leaves you with good feelings and important lessons in the end and I'm so glad I was given the chance to read this.
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A story of how differences can bring you together. A lot of interesting themes and great representation were explored in this book. Many teens will enjoy these twins and the story of their grief and healing.
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Under Shifting Stars is a story about a set of twins who have grown apart in the aftermath of their older brother’s death. The author shows us their journey through grief and finding themselves in the face of teenage peer pressures and expectations. 

I liked this even more than I thought I would. I was so invested in Clare and Audrey that even when I put the book down, I found myself always thinking of them. I thought the LGBT representation was great, along with the representation of someone who is neuro- divergent. Of course, grief is another huge theme in this book. I found this story heartwarming, important and impactful. I really enjoyed this. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me this e-arc!
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3.5 Stars

I enjoyed this book, even though it took some time for me to get into it. Audrey and Clare are twins who are struggling to connect after the death of their older brother. These two girls don't even go to the same school, they don't have the same friends and are so separate as to almost be strangers to each other. 
I love that the story provides individual narrative so we could get to know and understand each girl's emotions, experience and even expectations a bit more. The book also touched on topics like gender identity, mental health, grief among others. I really loved how Clare's gender fluidity was dealt with. 
I thought reading this book, I would be forced to pick 1 character over the other, but in the end, they both had their struggles and are just opposite sides of the same coin.
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The characterizations were well thought out. I enjoyed the ride the author takes you on. The plot kept my attention the entire time. I would recommend this book to people who love an emotional journey that may or may not end in a powerful ending.
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This was a very conflicting reading experience for me. I think the depiction of grief was really good, and as an autistic person I actually really liked the neurodivergent portrayal (I wasn’t expecting to.) The main issue I had was with Clare’s story and more specifically....the video. It was so completely messed up and soured the whole book for me. I also just personally have an issue with cis authors writing enby and gender fluid characters because so often the narratives are the same and contribute to a singular narrative of what it means to be those identities without any acknowledgement that everyone experiences these identities differently. I also think it often leads to wording that reinforces the binary and attempts to describe non-binary and genderfluid people within a binary context without any acknowledgment of how that binary is made up...and that definitely happened here. I don’t know, overall I just had a lot more issues with this than positives.
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“It’s not a trend. We’ve always been here. We just finally feel safe enough to make that known.”

A book by an Albertan author set in Alberta with a gender fluid MC, a non-binary love interest, and a neurodivergent MC? YES PLEASE! I loved this book so much! 

This story follows twin sisters Clare and Audrey as they deal with growing up, growing apart, and finding themselves. Clare is trying to figure out her gender identity (she still prefers to use she/her pronouns) while also falling for a non-binary classmate. Audrey is struggling with being an outsider to her sister and others because of being neurodivergent. This book is about both sisters finding their place in the world while also figuring out just how much they need each other despite growing apart.

First of all, I just have to highlight again that this is a story set in Alberta from an Albertan author! I didn’t know this when requesting this book, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that out when reading. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything to come out of my home province before, especially a book that takes place here. I especially appreciated that this book features the 2013 flood that devastated the province, especially the Calgary area in which the book takes place. I also loved that both girls go to french bilingual schools like I did growing up here. It just felt like getting a slice of home in a book and I really adored that.

This book was a wonderful read! More YA books need to have gender fluid and non-binary rep, especially as main characters. I also appreciated how Audrey was portrayed and how her chapters didn’t have quotation marks to emphasize the fact that she’s neurodivergent. Also, reading about her discovering the joys of LARPing just made me so happy. Audrey was definitely my favourite character in this book since she just seemed so sweet and Clare honestly treated her like garbage for a chunk of the book. I empathized with Clare, but she still made me so mad sometimes with how ableist she was towards Audrey.

I had a couple little gripes with this book, like both romance side plots felt a little underdeveloped. Also, for how progressive this book was the author still used the word “bipolar” to describe the weather and that just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s 2020, we don’t need to be using mental illnesses to describe things. On top of this, I felt like this book was pretty white. I don’t remember a character of colour in the whole book, so that’s not great.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! The diverse gender representation was on point and I appreciated having a neurodiverse MC. A couple things could have been handled better, but as a whole this was an enjoyable read. I’m excited to see what this author has in store for the future!

*Thank you to Netgalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Book Group for giving me this eARC in exchange for an honest review*
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Audrey and Claire are non identical twins. Audrey is different to her neurotypical peers and is tired of being seen as such and just wants to fit in and go to the same school as her twin again. Clare is popular and seems to life under control. When their brother Adam dies in a car accident the girls lose their bond with blame and guilt and reprisals. Clare is trying to grieve and come to terms with her changing view of the own gender and starts to wear Adams clothes cuts her hair, just trying to find out who she is. Audrey blames herself for Adams death and thinks if she can just go back to Clare's school all will be well.

This is really interesting book about grief, gender, acceptance, bullying, ADHD  and autism I enjoyed the duel perspective narrative and feel the characters journeys are authentic and not tick box exercise to include diversity. They are clear and well constructed characters. This was an emotional read and did make me cry towards the end.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for my copy of this book to review
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Audrey and Clare are fraternal twins. They used to be inseparable, but after a period of drifting apart, the death of their older brother that distance became a chasm.

This is a wonderful coming of age story. Each of the girls has their own struggles with identity, where they belong, and being themselves when that is different from the majority.

The author has handled a range of complex and often sensitive topics with clarity and compassion. I truly enjoyed this novel and stayed up into the night to finish it in a single session. 

I would thoroughly recommend this novel, and will be keeping an eye out for what comes next for Alexandra Latos.
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I enjoyed reading this novel about two sisters who are learning to embrace who they truly are. As a teacher I appreciated Audrey's story. I know students who have felt her frustration and wanted to escape their "bubble" to interact with peers who they perceive as "normal." Her journey felt realistic and only a bit preachy.

However, If I buy a copy of this book for my classroom it is for Clare. For members of the LGBTQ+ community, the author's handling of Clare may seem pedantic as readers get to see every single moment in her quest to try to express and define her gender identity. However, this is a character that young readers facing the same dilemmas will appreciate. Will Clare be the beloved nb character that will stand the test of time? Probably not, but that doesn't mean that readers won't appreciate the same we we appreciated I am J or Luna when they first came out.
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An enjoyable YA book about gender identity, grief, family and self discovery. It was for the most part a good book with interesting themes and fantastically diverse characters. 

I love dual perspective narratives as it gives more room for exploration of a plot by getting a more rounded story, and I found this was definitely the case with this novel. I also found Clare’s character particularly interesting due to her search for gender identity, as this is a vastly under explored topic within literature, so I really enjoyed this element of the novel. 

In general, the book was good, it covered interesting and diverse topics and was well written. Thank you to the author, Net Galley and the publisher for the advance copy of this book.
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I really really loved this. I didn’t have very many expectations going into it, but I definitely wasn’t expecting it to be as touching as it was. 

It’s really interesting to see how each of the twins are grieving their brother’s death. They both grieve in very different, but also very similar ways. I found that really interesting. 

I’ve never read a book with a genderfluid person! I’ve read a few books with characters who have different gender orientations, but never someone who is fluid on the spectrum. I really enjoyed reading Clare’s perspective and her discovering that about herself. 

I really like Taylor! I think the way the author writes them was wonderful! I don’t think I’ve read a book with a non-binary character who we didn’t know their assigned sex at birth. I LOVED this. I think this is a beautiful way to introduce someone to the idea of a non-binary person. This is one of the reasons I think this book would be wonderful for those pre-teens who are ready to bridge the gap between middle grade contemporary to YA contemporary!

I also haven’t read a book with a character who is the specific type of neurodivergent that Audrey is. I think a lot of readers who are autistic might relate with Audrey a lot. (Though they never label Audrey’s neurodiversity as autism, she does have some of the characteristics, as well as a panic disorder and OCD qualities.) 

This was a very refreshing book with beautifully unique characters that I definitely recommend!
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Neurodiverse and LGBT+ rep? Count me in.

This story is an emotive one that will leave you reaching for hot chocolate, praying that these siblings can move past their prior lives. 

Audrey and Clare are twins who recently lost their brother, there is blame between them, anger and sadness as with any close relative death. 

It’s interesting to see a portrayal that deals with this in a diverse manner; with the exploration of self and the relation between how neurotypical and neurodiverse people handle greif. 

Audrey is non neurotypical, Clare neurotypical and on the LGBT spectrum so there’s great representation and diversity in both voices in this book.

The author handles gender and sexuality exploration in a really emotive way that took me back to being a teen. Great rep with non binary and queer characters throughout. 

Honestly it’s one of my more memorable reads this year, I sped through this because it’s written beautifully and you find yourself with questions answered in every chapter.

It is a fairly emotionally heavy read, and one perhaps for a day in where you can curl up and just be lost in the world it presents. 

One thing I did mark this down for was my slight dislike of one of the love interests who -I don’t know- just felt rather unreal / lacked emotional depth.
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Under Shifting Stars is about two teen twins, Clare and Audrey, dealing in different ways over the death of their older brother, Adam. The two have been falling apart and as the book tugs you through different teenage struggles, the sibling bond is explored, broken, bend and hopefully, fixed as understanding grows again.

Despite the shared central thread of losing a sibling, Clare and Audrey's storylines carry different identity challenges; as Clare explores her gender identity and befriends a non-binary classmate, Audrey fights to appear more 'normal' and escape the school trying to assist her neurodivergent self. Latos uses the split POV to create shifts in the already complicated dynamics of navigating siblinghood alongside grief and trying to find a place amongst everything else.

I liked a lot about this book, but a lot of the time I felt like I was reading Wiki pages on terms and therapy and 'how to talk to your kid about....' etc. I admit it's a hard balance, to get accurate portrayals of teenage emotions whilst making the book itself entertaining and emotional. But a lot of recent contemporary fiction/Young Adult fiction seems to feel too catered towards informing the reader about labels they likely already know.

It's not enough nowadays to write a book to your past self, or to say a general 'please love yourself!' message for the kids. Not unless it's actually going to blow the reader away too.

A lot of the dialogue (particularly between peers and the parental or therapy conversations, felt so unrealistic and stiff with terms and lacked much humanity/realism. Latos makes up for this with some amazing inner dialogue, however, which is definitely what kept this book interesting me. It's just a shame it wasn't consistently powerful enough.
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I did not finish this book. It's dual perspective, and neither of the POVs grabbed me. I skim-read the first four chapters to see if that might change, but no luck. I had been interested in this book bc of the I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson comp, and you can definitely see the similarities/thread between the two, so it's entirely possible it's just not for me and someone else could really like it.
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I cried and let me tell you, it was ugly lol. I enjoyed most part of the book. The beginning was pretty slow and some of the character's actions were a bit annoying but I totally understand that this is a teen book and I'm too old for some behaviours represented here.  It is a book about grief, identity, self-discovery, and finding your place in the world in the midst of it all. I can't say much about the gender-fluid rep, but it's there and I liked the way the author talked about it.
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