Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake
Girl Made of Stars is a story that needs more attention than it’s gotten so far. Ashley Herring Blake uses the tropes of twin psychology and astrology/mythology to push the main topic of discussion, which is rape, particularly consent. Sexual orientation and gender identity are also present in the book but are addressed in ways that normalize these notions.
There is a lot to untangle here. Mara and Owen are twins in high school, and like many twins, have a deep emotional and mental connection to one another. They have always been there for each other, until now, when Owen is accused to raping his girlfriend, Hannah. Mara is torn between her love for her brother and her friendship with Hannah but is also aware of the way society silences women who come forward about sexual assault. Now, Mara has to pick a side. Due to secrets of her own, Mara does, and it sends her into a terrible spiral within the family, her circle of friends, and within herself.
Mara turns to her best friend and ex-girlfriend, Charlie, for support. There is tension between Mara and Charlie as they both seek relationships with other people (Mara being bisexual and Charlie being a lesbian and non-binary). However, with this nightmare of an event, Charlie tries to act as the comfort Mara needs while maintaining friendship status; Mara wants Charlie’s support but is upset when she sees Charlie with another girl. This tension is constant throughout the book, fueling Mara’s negative view of herself and dependency on Alex, Owen’s best friend, for romantic intimacy.
In the meantime, Hannah wants to hide, while Owen tells his side of the story, making everyone believe him. But no one ever believes the woman anyway, according to Mara and Hannah. The girls come together to comfort one another in their grief. Girl Made of Stars is about overcoming this self-silencing and being silenced. It’s about giving power to the victims of sexual assault and the trauma it leaves its victims. While society continues to point fingers at the victim, Blake suggests an urgency to show all sides of a story, even the ones that make us uncomfortable and are difficult to admit truth. This book is a must-read because it shows the necessity of coming forward and the process/aftermath of being a victim encouraged to become a survivor.
Find Girl Made of Stars here.