Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #BookReview #Orentober

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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 fourteen 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…

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I know a lot of fans of this author and they grab each and every opportunity to shout (quite loudly I might add) how amazing Louise Beech’s novels are so I was a bit nervous to start Call Me Star Girl. Would I like it as much as the rest? I could have saved myself from stressing about it because she’s a sensational author. The way she wrote this emotional story, I have no words for it! It’s not a Jojo Moyes or Amanda Prowse type of novel though, she has her own tense style, delivering a stellar story that is as much a thriller and murder mystery as it is heart-breaking. 

If you ask me to recap Call Me Star Girl in only a few words I’d say it’s a story about love. I mean the dark side of love, not the sweet sugarcoated love, no the big, obsessive, messy love. I’m talking love where you do things for people that you don’t want to do, a love that goes so deep it means giving up your child for it, an overpowering feeling that you can’t do anything against. Elizabeth, Stella’s mother followed her heart and Stella still bears the consequences. The sad thing is that Stella has more of her mother in her then she realises.

The story itself is as dark as the radio studio at nighttime where most of Stella’s story is taking place. The setting had a serious nightclub feel, one where Stella was on the stage with the spotlight on her. It was intimate and with even the timings mentioned between the different songs, I felt I was actually listening in. I was part of the audience, hanging onto her lips to hear about her listeners secrets but mostly because I wanted to hear hers. What was she going to say, what was her big secret? I never stopped liking Stella though, not even when I found out what it was. She had already wormed her way into my heart and I only felt for her. For being so scared of being boring, for her fears of people leaving her because, after all, her own mother left her, for doing things for Tom that weren’t ok.

There’s a murder reported in the story, someone who might or might not know something about it, and some surprising ties to the victim that makes you wonder who exactly is keeping secrets. On top of all of this intrigue there were also telling paragraphs in the past about Stella and her mother that kept me gripped and were deeply touching. The perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper means so much in the story, it’s incredible how loaded this object became throughout, how important it felt even to me.

I never saw the end to the story coming and it just hurt me so much. There are twists and then there are twists and this one totally hit me. My heart is full and yet it’s been squeezed unapologetically. It’s been a long time since a book did this to me. I’m pretty sure this is going to stay my favorite novel by Louise Beech for a good while. It might be my first novel but certainly not my last.  

I received a free ecopy of this novel in a giveaway organised by Mac Reviews Books. This is my honest opinion. 

40 thoughts on “Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #BookReview #Orentober

  1. Was this seriously your first Louise Beech book? You should read her other books as well. They are all so wonderful and different and still so much alike!

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  2. Well finally! I hate to say I told y…. no wait, actually I don’t mind at all… I told you so 😉😂 I’m happy that you enjoyed it and Vanessa is right, you do need to look into Louise’s other books 😊 Thanks for the #Orentober support 😘

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    • I saw it’s on sale for 99p today 😋. It’s definitely an author worth checking out and picking up one of her novels (this one obvs) if you want a novel you want to feel something about. Thank you lovely for asking, I am fine and settling back into what I’m used to, I’ve calmed down emotionally after my weekend away (I might still do a post about it).. now this book though, it’s still making me emotional, in another way 😉 I do hope you are well too? X

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      • I’m proud of myself too and did have a great time ☺️ I did have a few struggles along the way over the weekend that I didn’t want to mention in my report about the conference, but I haven’t posted them yet. I don’t want to appear negative but I also don’t want people to think I’m being silly, making more out of things then they are. I’m working on it, it’s still scary to show the real me 😉 If there’s anyone who will understand what I’ll be saying it’s you probably ❤️.

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      • I understand completely. I was thinking about you over that weekend, was also wishing I could have made it. But my daughter and I had been to London a couple of weeks beforehand to see a show we had booked months ago. We had a fantastic day together but I was so struggling to put one foot in front of the other, and actually wondered if that was just one day, how would I manage on my own over a whole weekend, not just with the physical side of things, but the mental side of actually going to a place where I knew no one except for on the internet. But in saying that a few years ago when I was a little braver than I am now. I went to a cross stitch retreat which was driving 150 miles and meeting people I only knew from Facebook, I had cancelled from the year before because of the fear and anxiety, but when I got there I had the hugest welcome with hugs and love, and I am still friends with many of those people now. Sometimes that first step is the hardest. But I should have been going to another one earlier this year I couldn’t do it, and another one in November and I have had to pull out because I just cannot face the drive. It can be very difficult to show the real you, the silly thing with me is once I am with people I can be fine, it’s the getting there and the making that move that absolutely terrifies me, and what if people don’t like me. It may be crazy but it’s how my brain makes me feel. I am just so proud of you for actually doing it. You did good in going. So big hug to you. X

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      • So sweet of you that you thought of me! I didn’t have time to think anything, even forgot my promise to text my father that I arrived there. Also almost forgot my mobile twice because I didn’t know where my head was anymore. I had a headache too because it was so much and yet I don’t regret it 😉

        Ohh a cross stitch retreat sounds amazing although not something I would dare either, so amazing that you did that! I know that going once doesn’t mean it gets easier, especially if the events are a year apart. I know now it’s doable for me but if I were to go next year, I know I’d have psych myself up to go again, even if I know how it’ll be. It would be great if you’d be there next year though 😉 I’d certainly keep you company, and the other bloggers are truly so nice. I can’t think of any reason why people wouldn’t like you! I’m not so worried about people not liking me as that they would think I’m weird or too quiet. I was neither though (only my adamant request not to be in any blogger friend photos but they were cool about it), they made me feel quite normal, and it helps that everyone is actually crazy about reading 😊

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      • I am so glad that everyone was nice to you, and they stuck to your request to not be in photographs. Like you say just because you have been once to something doesn’t mean you don’t have to psych yourself up to go again. With the cross stitch retreats I have had so much support from some wonderful people who have even said they would come down and pick me up. The second time I went the driving at the end I nearly passed out as I felt so panicked, but as I walked through the door 30 stitchers came running over and hugged me and two of the ladies had bought a vase and put three artificial flowers in it for me.
        I am glad you don’t regret it, I think maybe you would have done if you hadn’t gone, because that is in a way the easy option to not push yourself but then you would have sat wishing you had gone. Are you normally a very quiet person? I am shy until I meet people then I am sort of totally different it’s odd because if I’m at the drs or anywhere I will strike up a conversation. But I still have to get to that place. I Was Young my parents were members of a club and every year the club held a Christmas party for the children of parents and me and my sister would go and I was so painfully shy that I would absolutely dread it every year, because I didn’t know anyone, but again once there it was ok and my sister and I enjoyed it. Thinking back I don’t know when my fears started I have never thought about it before but I was young and wouldn’t do things, but I had lots of friends, was popular so nothing there where I was ignored or bullied or anything to set this fear off. Maybe it is just how our brains are wired.
        But I honestly was happy that you made it there. It meant there is hope for the rest of us in the future. 🙂 yes we are all crazy about reading.

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      • It’s interesting to hear how it is on your side too, I’m sorry to hear you had a nightmare drive but so wonderful you did get lots of support! I’m sure there are people who’ll miss you there in November too. I usually never push myself to do uncomfortable things (I’m also too old now to do things I don’t want to do), so this was a real exception. I’m quiet in a calm way yes but not always either… in a group you won’t hear me, but contact with 1, 2 or 3 persons at a time is perfect. I don’t even think I was the most quiet one of our little group that weekend. So it really came with the years for you… I’ve always lacked confidence, as a child already (I’m a perfectionist so I’ve always been (probably too) severe for myself too) and my fear of ‘the unknown’ is probably coming from there. I hold on to routine so much by now it’s hard to go without, so new things, situations and people mess up my calm, predictable life and are to be avoided. I even don’t go to any work events (new year’s dinner and party, personnel day etc.), even though I know the people and my colleague really wants my company, it’s too much to ask. But on the bookfront it is possible because I want it so much more myself. There’s definitely hope and I hope to meet you in person too one day ☺️

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      • That’s the thing if the cross stitch thing was local I would be able to go because the people are wonderful and so friendly, although I am struggling to stitch now because of osteoarthritis in my hands, I think that’s why I tried the book blogging., something different. I love reading so why not, although I need to ease up on netgalley books and read a few I have bought as the pile just keeps getting bigger and because I have ARC’s I’m just not getting to mine, I don’t want it to start feeling like a chore. I am unable to work due to disabilities, so I think in someways that has affected my confidence in myself etc. Also isolated me from meeting people, I don’t really have any friends locally and have spent years raising 4 children who are now all grown up and live in different parts of the country except for my daughter who is still local. I know there are people that wanted me there in November and next April the other difficult thing is the last stitch retreat which was April last year that I attended my sister lived local and was going through her cancer treatment so my parents (who don’t drive) travelled with me and my sister cane each day and I saw her, as she died last December from the cancer I couldn’t face going in April because I saw my sister there the year before and it was just too fresh, if that makes sense, obviously I visited her in a hospice nearby as well before she passed, it’s just tough. I still have more hand surgery to go I think on my left hand so really not sure if the stitching will be something I will be able to continue, I think it had started making the hands worse but I kept on doing it as it helped my mental health and has got me through quite a bit. I agree there is definitely hope and it would be great to meet you one day 🙂

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      • Oh I do understand that it was too painful to go to the event when that holds so many last memories of your sister. It should be a happy memory though in the end, I’m sure it was at the time for her or she wouldn’t have come. I do hope she can travel with you in the future though and it doesn’t make you sad but gives you the feeling she’s there, close to you, walking along and cheering you on 😘 I wish you a lot of strength and good luck for whatever lies ahead 😘😘😘

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      • Thank you I hope in time that will be how I feel. I talk to her sometimes, just asking how she’s doing which may sound a bit crazy, but I really want to hope she is in a good place and no longer suffering, that there is something after this. My mum messaged a few weeks ago she was upset as she kept seeing adverts for my sisters favourite perfume, and she was struggling, so I said to her instead of seeing it as a negative think of it as what she smelt of. I know that certain smells can invoke so many memories like my grandad used to smoke a pipe, he always had old spice aftershave and ate Fox’s glacier mints so all those smells remind me of him. My mum said she hadn’t thought of it that way but thank you. It’s silly little things that trigger memories. I recorded Starsky and Hutch recently as I used to love it but when I played it back I was hit by a huge wave of emotion and cried all the way through it. Because when we were younger before video recorders etc were around we would put a tape recorder at the side of the tv and record the episode, this meant we had to be so silent all the way through, we would then spend the week acting it out as I was dating Hutch and my sister was dating Starsky. It’s a happy memory and one of the last things I wrote to my sister about how we used to do that. But I just struggled watching it and hadn’t even thought I would have that reaction. But I guess in time it will become that happy memory for now it’s still a little raw, even writing it makes me cry. ❤️

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      • It’s completely normal that those little things can set you off, things you had forgotten and then suddenly you remember and it’s painful too.
        I read Call Me Star Girl as my last novel and the main character’s mother left her behind, the girl only had her perfume bottle too, it also became so important to her and she carried it with her everywhere, to school and to work later to remind her of her mother. Now don’t cry and think some happy thoughts ❤️❤️❤️

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      • Not sure when that will be have quite a few ARC’s to read still, I daren’t pick up my own books etc as I feel guilty if I have books from netgalley. Not sure how other people feel, but if they have given me a free copy I feel I should review it before it’s out. Trying to be stricter now, because I haven’t watched the television or done anything else but read and write reviews for £ months now and I don’t want it to become a chore. I have read some great books and like seeing posts like yours and others recommending books.

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      • Don’t worry, I know how it is. I try to review free copies first as well (not always before publication though). I’m in a good place though, I’m down to one Netgalley and 3 proof copies, because I don’t sign up for blogtours atm so don’t receive any copies. I really want to read a few of my own books now and keep things more in balance.

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  3. Wow, what a heartfelt emotional review, Inge. This is definitely an author that needs to be on my radar, and TBR, given how much you thought of her writing, and the characters/plot. I trust your reviews because you always manage to convey so much in your reviews without giving too much away. So, on my list to check out.

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    • Thank you so much Alexandra, what an amazing compliment! ❤️❤️ Well I had to wait a bit long for the reveals to start (which is part of the reason for 4.5 stars) but when they do, they’re so good. I also really disliked Tom from the beginning (and it didn’t get any better) but I still didn’t feel I knew him well enough. Just hang in there if you read it, you have to give it some time but it’s definitely worth it in the end 😊

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      • I really don’t mind waiting for the author to build up to the big reveal(s) as long as the journey there is worthwhile. And disliking characters is all part of the experience, unless, of course, he’s supposed to be one of the good guys. Ha! Ha! And yep, it’s on my list.

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  4. I see the author’s books, praise for her books everywhere I go.. well, mostly on Twitter and such! 😀 and I am surprised this was your first book by her 🙂 But, it must have been exciting to find a new author and discover what everyone’s been talking about! 🙂 Fantastic review!

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