Saturday, March 19, 2016

What If - Lori's Review of SHE DIMS THE STARS by Amber L. Johnson

Title: She Dims the Stars
Author: Amber L. Johnson
Publication Date: 3/20/2016
Source: ARC from the author


Who is Audrey Byrd?

Ask her ex-best friend, Cline Somers, and he’ll tell you that she’s the girl who inexplicably stopped talking to him when they were fifteen years old, leaving him with nothing but questions and bitterness for the better part of the next six years.

Ask his roommate, Elliot Clark, and he would say that Audrey is the enigmatic girl who randomly showed up outside a window one day and turned his whole world upside down in a matter of moments.

Ask Audrey herself and she’ll tell you that she has no idea who she is, because her entire life is a lie. However, the older she gets the more she needs answers about who she really is.

What she discovers is a tangled web of secrets better left in the dark.

Some truths do more harm than good. 

***Recommended for readers 18+ due to sensitive subject matter, language and situations.

Amber lives in Texas with her amazingly talented husband and incredibly gifted son. Most known for her novella Puddle Jumping (a 2014 Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Best YA) she is constantly trying her hand at new genres and ideas to force herself to think outside the box. 

She is inspired by music, her family, a close group of friends, and real life. Mostly in that order.
Stalk Amber:

Amber L. Johnson has blown me away once again, this time with her unique approach to a sensitive subject that effects more people than you could ever imagine.

The story begins with Elliot, having recently been dumped, meeting Audrey when she comes over to re-connect with her once best friend, Cline. Elliot and Audrey have immediate chemistry, but even better, they just seem to 'get' one another. When Audrey embarks on a cross-country journey to find the answers that she needs about her past and her future, Elliot, who's summer plans once included his now ex-girlfriend, decides to join her. Cline doesn't want to leave Elliot in Audrey's clutches and appoints himself as the road trip chaperone.

As Audrey discovers more and more about her past, her future becomes blurred and uncertain. Everything she ever knew to be true has been proven to be fiction, but there is so much more to the story than she could ever imagine. 

The more Audrey learns about herself, the less Elliot finds himself able to resist her. The easiness and comfort that Audrey and Elliot find with each other is quite spectacular. While the romance isn't as overt as in other books in this genre, the connection is undeniable. I loved watching them grow closer together

With the whit and humor that I have come to expect from Johnson's work, She Dims the Stars explores anxiety and depression in a way that I have never seen before. Audrey Byrd has her quirks, but no one around her, including her ex-best friend, Cline would ever suspect that she struggles with crippling anxiety and devastating depression. Audrey has built up a front, a mask that she never leaves home without. 

Amber makes you take a look at the hidden aspects of this disease. While Audrey appears to be carefree and fearless, it is only through constant battle with her own mind that she is even able to leave her bed every day. While I myself do not struggle with depression, my husband does. Johnson's portrayal of Audrey so closely resembles my husband and his battles that I feel as though Audrey is an old friend.

She Dims the Stars shines a light on a subject that more and more people find themselves familiar with. Johnson's characters and story will show people that they are not alone, not the only one who has ever felt this way or struggled with such feelings of defeat and fear. Thank you, Amber, for making what was once a dirty little secret, something that we can and should talk about in the open.

5 out of 5 Stars

Safetysuit - What If

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