On the Bookshelf...

And the Stars Were Burning Brightly

Danielle Jawando

When fifteen-year-old Nathan discovers that his older brother Al has taken his own life, his whole world is torn apart. Al was special. Al was talented. Al was full of passion and light…so why did he do it? Convinced that his brother was in trouble, Nathan begins to retrace his footsteps. And along the way, he meets Megan. Al’s former classmate, who burns with the same fire and hope, who is determined to keep Al’s memory alive. But when Nathan learns the horrifying truth behind his brother’s suicide, one question remains – how do you survive, when you’re growing up in the age of social media?

Sometimes a book comes out that stops you in your tracks, makes you think about the world a different way. 'And The Stars Were Brightly Burning' is such a book. This is a book for which the word WOW was created. The emotions that I got from reading this fantastic book were incredible. I felt pain, suffering and eventually hope at what I read.

The book follows Nathan and Megan's quest to find why Al took his own life. No one could believe that Al would do such a thing. Nathan blamed himself and it tore him apart. Gradually we find the real tormented world that Al lived in. Events happening around Nathan and Megan drew them into not trusting those who they thought were their friends.

This book dragged me through the emotional wringer. I read this in a day, a day when time stood still. Danielle Jawando's writing mad me experience the pain of the two brothers. The story runs an emotional knife edge that as a reader you experience. There were tears at times, anger at the actions of some and finally tears of hope at the brilliant conclusion of the book.

This book deals with teenage suicide, deals with the problems with social media and the heartbreak and misery it can bring to many people. These aren't easy subjects, yet Danielle deals with them brilliantly. This is a book that should be widely read. I hope it manages to help those who suffer from depression. It hopefully will make people realise they're not alone and others are affected as well.

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Review by
AJ Steel
November 1, 2023

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