This emotional story of family and friendship tackles lots of tough issues, including rape, consent, sexual and gender identity, and teen relationships. In Girl Made of Stars, author Ashley Herring Blake successfully shows why it is so hard for victims of sexual violence to come forward. She also highlights the ripple effect sexual assaults create on the lives of the victims and those close to them. Mara's a relatable and enjoyable narrator. It's easy to feel everything she is going through and fully understand her struggle over who to believe in the rape case: her brother or one of her closest friends. All the characters, even the minor players, have depth and range, which sometimes seems all too rare in YA novels.
Readers will get insight into what gay, bi, and nonbinary teens go through, both in their inner struggles and in dealing with the ignorance of others. And while it is admirable that Blake takes on so many issues in one book -- rape, consent, victim shaming, sexual and gender orientation, sexist dress codes, feminism, family dynamics, male privilege, bullying -- it feels like she's on overdrive, trying to cram too much into one novel. Sometimes Blake hits the reader over the head with her messages, instead of letting the story flow.