Wednesday, July 9, 2014

As Stars Fall by Christie Nieman

A bush fire, and its aftermath, links a Bush-Stone curlew and three teenagers experiencing loss, love and change.

The fire was fast and hot ... only days after it went through, there were absolutely no birds left. I should have seen it as an omen, the birds all leaving like that.

Robin is a self-confessed bird-nerd from the country, living in the city. On the first day at her new school, she meets Delia. Delia is freaky and definitely not good for Robin's image.

Seth, Delia's brother, has given up school to prowl the city streets. He is angry at everything, especially the fire that killed his mother.

When a rare and endangered bird turns up in the city parklands, the lives of Robin, Seth and Delia become fatefully and dangerously intertwined ...

An intricate love story about nature, grief, friendship and life.

Beautiful, poignant, with wonderfully original characters and a unique blend of time and place.

Beautifully written and compelling in both a quiet and urgent way. As Stars Fall was unexpected (both in it's captivating nature and in it's plot) and lyrical and haunting in that perfect way where the characters bleed into you and you feel their grief and wildness and confusion and hope.

As Stars Fall is an astonishing book in so many ways. It moves along to it's own beat blending two vivid settings (the city and the country) and three POVs that criss-cross and gain momentum so that I was holding my breath wondering how things were going to turn out. The narrative structure reminds me a little of The Accident -- though As Stars Fall has an extra element that just verges on magical realism (kind of -- mostly in the way that you can begin to maybe expect the unexpected -- and in the feeling that something horribly magical, or magically horrible could be just about to unfold). I loved it for that. The element of danger and impending doom just quietly bubbling away in the background. It was grounded and yet had exquisite moments of grief and paranoid delusion and heightened emotions mixed in with the everyday stifling, even boring, aftermath of tragedy and upheaval. 

I loved reading this exquisite Aussie YA novel -- which didn't follow a set formula but was crafted with care and took me to places I did not expect and then had me suddenly realising how much I had come to care for the characters. This is a slower read -- but every scene drew me deeper in and I consumed in a 24 hour period. It's reeling with emotion -- but balanced with some sharp humour and a gorgeous and unpredictable love story. I loved the school setting -- Robin is so brave and wonderful to watch at setting into a new school (she's daring and bold and clever and just such a great heroine to cheer for) and the farm setting and I loved the aliveness of the fierce and unrelenting, devastating fire. I am not really a bird fan at all but I loved the mysteriousness of the bush-stone curlew and how it tied everything together. The ending was stunning and really brought the book into a whole other level.  

As Stars Fall is a favourite read for me this year and I recommend it to fans of Aussie YA -- to readers who like to sink into their books and quietly and unexpectedly fall in love.

As Stars Fall @ goodreads
As Stars Fall @ Pan Macmillan
Read an extract

As Stars Fall is available in Australia now
Thank you Pan Macmillan for my review copy


  1. This looks good, adding to my TBR list!

  2. Oooh. Sounds so great, and I love a good nature book, too. Nomes, you always recommend the best books. I wish I could afford them all!


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