The Wide Starlight: Review


The Hazel Wood meets The Astonishing Color of After in this dreamy, atmospheric novel that follows sixteen-year-old Eli as she tries to remember what truly happened the night her mother disappeared off a glacier in Norway under the Northern Lights.

According to Arctic legend, if you whistle at the Northern Lights, they'll swoop down and carry you off forever. Sixteen-year-old Eline Davis knows it's true because it happened to her mother. Eli was there that night on the remote glacier in Svalbard, when her mother whistled, then vanished.

Years later, Eli is living with her dad on Cape Cod. When Eli discovers the Northern Lights will be visible for one night on the Cape, she hatches a plan to use the lights to contact her missing mother. And it works. Her mother arrives with a hazy story of where she's been all this time. Eli knows no one will believe them, so she keeps it all a secret. But when magical, dangerous things start happening--narwhals appearing in Cape Code Bay, meteorites landing in the yard by the hundreds, three shadowy fairytale princesses whispering ominous messages--the secrets start to become more like lies.

It's all too much, too fast, and Eli pushes her mother away, not expecting her to disappear as abruptly as she appeared. Her mother's gone again, and Eli's devastated. Until she finds the note written in mother's elegant scrawl: Find me where I left you. And so, off to Svalbard Eli goes.


Title: The Wide Starlight

Author: Nicle Lesperance

Published: 2/16/21

Publisher: Razorbill

Genre: YA/ Magical Realism

Rating: ★★★★★

**I received a copy of this book via the publisher**

Picture this: I'm sitting at the table munching on my gluten-free, vegan mayo turkey sandwich wondering why my gut has to turn against me all the time and I'm forced to eat this $5 loaf of bread when I hear the huffing of the mail truck pull up my house. Now, on a normal day, I'm all excited about the Burger King coupons and *maybe* my Etsy bookmark order on a good week. But when I hear the hefty footsteps up my front porch, I know I got something worth being excited about that doesn't include the moment my gas-x pills begin to work.

In this beautiful, wonderful package was a book from Penguin and I ripped it open with vigor to discover The Wide Starlight, a for-real finished copy, and my eyes nearly bulged from my socket. I remember messaging the publisher about a possible review copy, but I hadn't heard anything so I assumed, like most of my review queries, I'd been dumped into the email trash folder. Imagine my joy when I'd finally been heard!

The Wide Starlight is everything I hoped it would be. Ten years after the disappearance of her mother on a glacier in a remote region of Norway, Eline now lives in Cape Cod with her dad. But despite having moved on with their lives, Eline still wonders what happened that fateful day she was left alone in the freezing cold. And her mother was nowhere to be found. When she finds out the Northern Lights can be seen from her location, she heads out and does the unthinkable: attempts to contact her mother. But things start to get weird, and soon Eline's journey takes her back to Norway, to the grandmother she hasn't seen in the years, and to the place that held the mystery of what really happened to her mother.

Magical realism is my bag because despite liking to be grounded in the real world, I do enjoy seeing the hints of magic we all wish we had around us each and every day. Life can get messy and hard and aggravating, but to imagine there's a power beyond anything you could ever imagine out there, it can get a little less heavy.

I particularly love the writing; there's something so simple yet fascinating about it. The weaving of golf Nordic tales in with the story captivated me to the point of inspiration for my own writing.

This book is beautiful and heartbreaking all in one. I'm going to be a fan of Nicole Lesperance for a long time to come.

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