Happy Book Birthday to ‘Counting Stars’! To celebrate, let’s review!
The basic premise is a bunch of people live in a house together, and you get to know about their lives. Sounds simple, right? That’s where you’re wrong. Each character has their own dilemma and, as a reader, trying to deal with five at once was tricky, but rewarding. Set in Liverpool, this book is perfect for anyone 18 or over, as I’d say this book is like a hybrid between YA and new adult fiction, which comes from the characters being 18 or over, and therefore having slightly more mature situations to deal with.
Anna – The newest member of the flat, Anna was a vlogger. As a YouTuber myself, it was super fun to see that hobby being portrayed. Although I’m more specifically a BookTuber, I know a lot about the issues that can arise being a blogger, especially concerning identity crises, and consent for discussion. Anna was, for me, the most relatable character. She was sweet, hard working and had good intentions, no matter what ended up happening.
Alfie – Anna’s love interest, Alfie was a giver. He worked so hard, he barely had time to sleep. He was so kind and considerate towards everyone in the novel, I think everyone needs an Alfie in real life. Unfortunately, Alfie had his heart tied up before Anna arrived. Did that cause friction? Well, you’ll have to read it, won’t you?
Molly – The resident party girl, Molly was C-O-N-F-I-D-E-N-T. Anna’s opposite almost. She goes through a moral struggle of whether to pursue a relationship with an older man. The whole flat is aware of Molly’s sexual exploits prior to this relationship forming, but I loved how proud she was of who she was. She wasn’t changing for anybody, and I thought that was a super important character trait.
Sean – Throwing some sexual diversity into the mix, Sean’s love story was arguably the trickiest of the lot. He loved a boy he couldn’t have, and when something more exciting came along, it was bound to end in trouble…I loved Sean a lot. He was funny, and got himself in some sticky situations.
Nina – Oh, well, what about about Nina? She’s in a very toxic position, having her self-confidence knocked by a douche-bag boyfriend who doesn’t like the idea of Nina pursing her dream. Warning: this relationship is abusive. I so wanted her to have a happy ending.
This book was perfect for me. I’m about to move away from home and go to university, so it was lovely to read about student life, and living with flatmates. There was drinking, dancing, sex. Oh my gosh, this book was so REAL. Stanton really didn’t shy away from swearing or overt relationships, and I appreciated the mature tone. Although it narrows her target audience (this might be innocent of me, but I don’t think anyone under 16 year old should be reading sentences like ‘she felt her orgasm build’) it was so refreshing to read something so completely un-tame, but not completely wild.
So, I’d give ‘Counting Stars’ 4 stars. It’s my favourite of the three Keris Stainton books I’ve read! I’d totally recommend it to anyone comfortable with a more mature YA. So many things were dealt with, it was magical. Sexuality, virginity, drinking, working, abusive relationships, scandal, death, heartbreak, romance, more scandal. Oh goodness, just buy it everyone. You won’t regret it!