After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
It’s a beautifully written novel which came together so well in the end that everything seems to fit in its perfect place.
The story developed and moved so smoothly that you start feeling emotionally attached to the characters. It’s a kind of a story that you enjoy reading it slowly while enjoying each word and savoring it.
Jo, who still is recovering from her mother’s death and a surviving cancer patient and Gabe, with his family drama and dealing with depression come together in a hope to find out who Ursa is and from where she came from.
Jo trying her best to help Gabe see the outside world by accepting the truth about his family, to move forward with his life and to forgive his parents for doing what they did and all the while Gabe building up Jo’s confidence in accepting her body as it is and not giving excuses to anyone.
It’s amazing to see both of them trying to lift each other up, and how gracefully a love bond develops between them because of the entry of a strange girl into their lives. In all of the process the emotional link that both of them develops with Ursa and how they both fought for her till the end was plainly wonderful to read.
However, whether Ursa is telling the truth that she’s an alien sent to earth to witness five miracles, and inhabit the body of a dead girl or did she created this fantasy about being an alien because she witnessed horrific events and is trying to cope with what she witnessed, isn’t clear in the book.
Nevertheless, it’s an stunning read which I really enjoyed.
Some of the quotes that I love are:
People think they have to say something, and it never makes me feel better.” “I know. I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.Glendy Vanderah, Where the Forest Meets the Stars
Sometimes bad things happen to make good things happen.Glendy Vanderah, Where the Forest Meets the Stars
When I knew my mother would be dead in a few months, I had two choices . . .” She looked at him. “I could distance myself from the pain or get closer to it. Maybe because I’d lost my dad without getting a chance to tell him what he meant to me, I decided to get closer. I got so close, her pain and fear became my own. We shared everything and loved each other like we never had when death was some distant thing. In the end, part of me died with her. I’m not recovered from it even now, but I made the conscious choice to enter the darkness with her. Everyone I know who’s lost someone they love has voiced regrets—they wish they’d done this or that or loved them more. I have no regrets. None.Glendy Vanderah, Where the Forest Meets the Stars
Survivors can live and love more fully than people who haven’t stared death in the face.Glendy Vanderah, Where the Forest Meets the Stars
If she’d learned one thing in the last two years, it was that life could be hard enough without adding petty resentments.Glendy Vanderah, Where the Forest Meets the Stars