Author: Kit Frick
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publication Date: August 14, 2018
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 stars)
It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.
THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.
NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.
THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.
NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.
The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I—”
“I took the one back to you.”
See All the Stars is a thoroughly impressive debut novel from Kit Frick that explores themes of toxic friendship, young love, and finding oneself. A powerful coming-of-age tale, this young adult contemporary manages to be unexpectedly fun despite being laced with dark themes, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be sharing my thoughts with you today as part of the blog tour leading up to its release.
Told in a dual timeline structure (my forever weakness), See All the Stars explores the multifaceted friendship of Ellory, Bex, Jenni, and Ret: their strengths and the cracks in their armor while they were together, as well as the aftermath of the catastrophic event that tore them all apart. The plot certainly kept me on my toes and guessing throughout, but it’s worth noting that See All the Stars is first and foremost a character-driven novel. All of the characters are intriguingly flawed, and it’s riveting to watch their personalities clash against one another. The female friendships in this book run deep and true, but there’s undoubtedly an undercurrent of toxicity; think Pretty Little Liars or We Were Liars or even Gossip Girl. Ellory is constantly pulled back into Ret’s orbit, even when she acknowledges just how manipulative the other girl is being. And Ellory herself isn’t entirely innocent. She’s a gem of a protagonist, and she isn’t above getting her hands dirty with lies of her own if she can convince herself they’re for the better.
I’m still baffled that this is Frick’s debut novel; it’s hard to tell from her gorgeous writing style. The prose is almost lyrical, and it’s wonderfully evocative in both the past and present threads. A blissful naïveté colors the events of the previous year as Ellory explores her first relationship and its effects on her closest friendships, and there’s a hazy detachment that permeates her senior year as she tries to come to terms with the horrible ending of the year before. Rich metaphors breathe another layer into the characters and their relationships; I especially loved the recurring constellation-themed allusions to Ellory, Bex, Jenni, and Ret’s friendship, making See All the Stars really earn its title. I also loved the motif of the opening lines of the famed Robert Frost poem, which starts as an inside joke between Ellory and Ret and yet comes to symbolize all of the choices and roads not taken by the end of the novel.
The twist at the ending is two-pronged and executed well, and I thought it made for a very fitting conclusion to Ellory’s story. I will say that I felt the parts leading up to it were rather predictable and fell somewhat flat, but that didn’t take away from the impact of the overall reveal and how impressed I am that Frick was able to pull it off seamlessly.
I had a blast with Kit Frick’s debut novel, which is rich with lyrical prose, engaging themes, and vivid characters. I’ll be eagerly on the lookout for more of her work in the future, but in the meantime, I highly recommend giving See All the Stars a shot!
Soon Ret’s world was my world, her friends my firneds. It was like it had always been that way. Everything Ret touched felt electric, a little bit dangerous. Including me.
Before Ret, I was basically invisible.
With Ret, I was somebody.
Buy the Book
Win one finished copy of See All the Stars*
* Terms and Conditions: Open to US residents only. Please enter on the linked page. The giveaway ends on 8/22/18. The Traveling Inkwell does not collect nor have access to any of this data and is not affiliated with the linked site or responsible for its content/data policies. The Traveling Inkwell is not responsible for the dispatch or delivery of the prize.
About the Author
Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars. Her debut young adult novel is See All the Stars (Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, August 14, 2018), and her debut full-length poetry collection is A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press, fall 2018).
Check out the full tour schedule for See All the Stars here.
Warm thanks to Simon & Schuster and the Fantastic Flying Book Club for providing me with a finished copy in exchange for an honest review.