(Review) Beneath Wandering Stars
Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Pages: 272 (hardcover)
Genre: Young Adult
My Goodreads Rating: 4.5 Stars
After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother's best friend--a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, "Beneath Wandering Stars" takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.
This is, in my opinion, what a YA book should be like. Sure, it's a little far-fetched that a seventeen-year-old girl runs off to complete a five hundred mile trek to honor her injured brother but she also finds out a lot about herself in the process.
Gabi and her family live on a military base in Germany and when her brother is injured she, her father, and her brother's best friend vow to honor him by walking the Camino de Santiago. Only her dad can't go and says Gabi can't go either...but that doesn't stop her.
Seth doesn't know that Gabi is with him without permission, but that doesn't last for long. Gabi, who is usually pretty tight-lipped, has a hard time keeping things in around Seth. She doesn't like him for a number of reasons, one of them being that she thinks he's the reason Lucas enlisted in the first place.
I love this journey for a lot of reasons. Gabi and Seth have great banter, first of all. There are obviously some sort of feelings on Seth's side, though Gabi is more reluctant to share her thoughts. At first is just a lot of snarky comments, but eventually their conversations grow deeper. Seth teeters between wanted to look out for Gabi and, well, wanting to fight with her.
Gabi learns a lot about herself and Seth throughout the journey. She starts the book as a s fairly selfish girl. She cares about Lucas, but that's about it. As Seth opens up about his life and Lucas' accident Gabi begins to see him in a different light.
The thing about this book is that there is no insta-love, no sex, and no swearing. This book is fairly clean in all of those aspects. What you do get is friendship, flirting, and a little bit of finding yourself.
I appreciate the ending of this book, even though we all want sunshine and roses and happily ever afters. This one comes pretty close to all of that.
Huge thanks to Edelweiss and Merit Press for the ARC.