Easy read; Good Clean YA Sci-Fi Adventure for this final book in the series.
In this fourth, and final installment to the series, Stargazer Girl follows Evelyn on her journey across the stars as she searches for a missing piece in her life—a place to belong, family & home. On this journey, she also discovers more about herself and her abilities—made possible with her nanites—while uncovering a sinister plot to put young people to work in a concentration camp to mine for silver.
I loved the imagery in this book. T.R. Woodman did a fantastic job of establishing a sense of place for each of the settings, and I knew this was going to be solid throughout from this stellar description at the beginning.
“The ridge sagged between the peaks like it was an ancient, rotting suspension bridge clinging to the mountains on either side. The path was wide enough but sheer, falling away for thousands of feet so swiftly that even the pines didn’t climb up the sides.”
And another example further in the book…
“It didn’t take long for the skin on the fish to sizzle and hiss and for the oils within it to drip into the fire, making it pop.”
Woodman writes a solid contemporary sci-fi adventure with elements that remind me of a Westworld-for-younger audiences combined with some of the place characterizations from Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series. Because there is a lot of history between the characters leading up to this book, and admittedly this is the first book I have read in the series, my review is based solely on reading this book as a standalone. With that said, I would have liked to see less backstory in the first fourth (more of it weaved all the way through), stronger character development & relationship building to evoke an emotional attachment, and a stronger sense of urgency throughout to make this a fiercer standalone. With that said, I imagine fans of the series come into this book already knowing the characters, having that foundation already laid-out.
Some final thoughts on Stargazer Girl:
Spirituality is subtly woven into the narrative. It is not preachy or overpowering but more of an underlying theme that surfaces throughout; just the right amount to work for readers of all beliefs.
There were a few awkward sentences but other than that the book appeared to be well edited.
Often the characters felt more like twenty-somethings instead of teens.
There were a few instances where crises were solved too easy, and I would have liked to see those explored more. Some of those ‘too-easy’ solutions were later explained as the story unfolded, but it still left me with that initial thought when I was reading those sections.
Quick summary on positives: Well-crafted descriptions, easy read, no cursing or sex scenes so no restrictions on reader level and appropriate for school libraries.
Quick summary on weakest points: Less YA and more New Adult, would love to see stronger character development, relationship building, and sense of urgency to enhance the reader’s emotional connection.
This review on Reedsy Discovery.