What a ride today’s book has been, I’m not sure I’ll be able to encapsulate all my thoughts coherently but I’ll try.
Tonight is the night for secrets…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father … What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof. Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…
This is my first Louise Beech book, I wasn’t sure what to expect but her previous books all had very positive reviews so I was pretty sure I was in for something good. I definitely did not expect to feel as much as I did, I actually don’t think my words can do the range of emotions justice, to be honest.
It just keeps hitting me, the ramifications of everything that happened, it will pop into my head and suddenly it’s all I’ll be thinking about and I can’t seem to stop. I always feel like an author has done really well if I can’t stop thinking about a book especially if I’ve already moved on to my next read.
It was the premise of Call Me Star Girl that caught my attention, because who doesn’t love secrets, especially when it is family secrets mixed in with the question of who killed Victoria. It made for a tense atmosphere throughout the whole book, I was constantly questioning everyone’s motives, and as is usual with this kind of genre trying to figure out all the who’s and why’s but luckily in this instance not getting anywhere close to the answers.
Stella is such a complex and interesting character, she is entirely shaped by her unusual upbringing and as strange as it sounds I liked that you could see how that had affected her through the decisions she makes. She is a character that has had to adapt to survive and you can’t help but be compelled into wanting to know more about her.
The story is told between Stella and her mother Elizabeth, who comes back into her life after being absent for a long time, she is another wonderfully flawed character the kind that you feel that you shouldn’t like but can’t help but feel some empathy toward. Elizabeth’s story was kind of fascinating but especially because of the parallels that it drew with Stella’s even though she was adamant that she wouldn’t be like her mother.
I won’t say too much about the plot but I will say that I ended up reading this book in one day because I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the page, I was desperate to see how it all unfolded. I also cannot put into words the anger I felt come a certain point in the book, I was incredulous and very close to having to put it aside but I was still hooked, so no matter that I felt like I wanted to scream at the author I had to keep reading. And then she broke me with her ending. Honestly, as everything became clear I felt heartbroken.
I think it shows how gifted a writer is when they can get into your head in such a way and make you feel something so extreme. Especially when it keeps coming back to haunt you. Hats off you to Louise Beech, I am both excited for and terrified of picking up more of your books.
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.