REVIEW: And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Publication year: 2020
Summary from Goodreads:
When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart.
Al was special.
Al was talented.
Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it?
Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

Review

I found this book while searching through my local libraries e-book collection and it was the cover that caught my eye at first. Isn’t it stunning?

As soon as I started, I was hooked. This book was beautiful and haunting and I loved every moment of it. It was quite intense at times, as is to be expected given the subject matter and there were a few moments where I had to put the book down and take a bit of time. The themes are hard hitting and, for me, very personal.

The characters were so real, they make mistakes and make the wrong choices. We see how easy it is to hurt other people, albeit unintentionally. We see how grief and pain can sometimes blind you from what others are going through. And we see how, when the characters realise what they’ve done and they open up and talk about what’s happening in their lives, they heal and grow as people.

What I also loved was that every character had a very unique voice that remained consistent throughout, something that doesn’t happen in every book. Jawando has such a beautiful style of writing and I’m looking forward to reading some more of her work.

There is a key message that runs the entire way through this book; the importance of talking about what you’re feeling. We also see the effects of social media and bullying. There is a lot in this book and it had me in tears on several occasions. I definitely feel that this is a book that everyone should read at least once.

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