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Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Written by: Glendy Vanderah
Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
4 out of 5 stars (122 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.

In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.

After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay - just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

©2019 Glendy Vanderah (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

What the critics say

“A heartwarming, magical story about love, loss, and finding family where you least expect it. This touching novel will remind readers of a modern-day The Snow Child.” (Christopher Meades, award-winning author of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky)

“In Where the Forest Meets the Stars, Glendy Vanderah weaves a deft and poignant story with well-drawn characters, including clever Ursa. With an unexpected and heart-racing climax, readers will wait breathlessly to find out what happens. A beautiful story of love, resilience, and the power of second chances.” (Susie Orman Schnall, award-winning author of The Subway Girls)

“A powerful story of the way in which hearts are mended by love, compassion, and everyday miracles. Cleverly plotted and building to an intense crescendo in the final chapters, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a beautiful and unforgettable debut.” (Julianne MacLean, USA Today best-selling author)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Good story, poor recording

Way too many “he said”, “she said” throughout the book; it distracted from the story. The audio itself had a lot of really poor splicing which was also very distracting, too bad as the story line was interesting.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable

I found the narration to be excellent. The story line - was engaging as well. The only aspect I didn't particularly enjoy were the romance 'details'. I could have done without those descriptions. I actually enjoyed the book much more than I had expected to.I did not find the story to be unrealistic - in fact, I thought it all came together very nicely,

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Forest and the Stars Enchanted me

At first, I thought that this was a young adult book and that I might probably return it but then I got enchanted by this lovely story and finished it very quickly.

However, it was throughly difficult to listen once I tuned in to the mechanically inserted 10 000+ She said, he said, Jo said, Gabe said, Ursa said, everybody said and etc. saids. Extremely annoying and so not necessary to follow the story.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book.

I was surprised at how much I liked this book. Once I started it I didn't want to stop.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A beautiful story!

Sadness, horror, love, humour. This story had it all!! A very interesting and unusual premise and an absolutely unforgettable little girl and a woman who refused to give up!
I was initially a little put off by the narrator but I ended up being a fan.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Exceeded Expectations

This was a magical book! I expected it to be more sci-fi but it also kept wavering back & forth- is it sci-fi or isn’t it? I loved Ursa, smart little star child! Some reviews said she was whiny, but what 9 year olds aren’t from time to time? I liked Jo’s strong independent personality, Tabby’s quirky confidence, & Gabe’s hard working & dedicated caregiving.
The storyline was well written and I enjoyed the description of nature & birds, and for the most part, it was unpredictable. The parts that were, I was ok with because the synopsis kind of gives some away.
I didn’t find the “ursa said”, “Jo said”, “Gabe said” bothered me at all (as it did other reviewers).
Overall would absolutely recommend!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Warm Story with Warm Narration

I really enjoyed this story and I let it unfold for me, without thinking too deeply. I look forward to reading/listening to more from this author. She managed to weave together some pretty intense and emotional situations, while conveying strength, courage, hope, resilience, and unconditional love.

I was a bit ticked at another reviewer for pointing out the "he said" "she said" bit, when I started noticing it about midway through the book. But once it starts, its hard to overlook and, perhaps, its best to prepare other listeners. I feel that I should also say something. I doesn't start until midway through the book, so I believe the author and editor could have avoided this almost entirely. At first I thought that if that reviewer hadn't have pointed it out, I wouldn't have noticed, but I would have. I've listened to other books where this hasn't been as apparent, so it can be done. This book is worth the listen, regardless, and I would recommend this book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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loved it

the storyline gave me a few eye rolls toward the end but overall I found it quite magical and delightful with perfect narration

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Loved every minute of it! I really believed she was an alien as it was so well written and narrated! I listen on the way to and from work and I caught myself sitting in the car several times, unable to stop listening to the story. One of my favourites!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

just ok

performance was good but almost too good as the girl was annoying. the story was average but not very realistic, characters a little unrealistic. not a waste of time but better books out there

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-04-28

Just OK

The story was fine but the reading was annoying - the "he said"/"she said" comments really broke up the story telling and was not necessary since each character had their own voice. As well, the young character's whining was over done in my opinion.

22 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christina D.
  • 2019-03-16

Enjoyable. Which "story" version is true...

I can see why this is classified as science fiction, and why others do not. It depends on which story version you believe. The classification can be an indicator of which is true.

Yes there were some, what could be considered, repetitive aspects, but they were told in slightly different ways at times to keep an element of causing people to at times wonder, "Perhaps the other "version" is true."

I can usually easily figure things out about a story, but this was one that truly kept me switching what I believed was going on, and I could easily go with either one after finishing the story. The classification is what will satisfy my view on which. Or not, if I choose. lol

Yes, the overuse of the words, "___" said was an issue for me too. It would pull me out of the story way too often. I eventually automatically started replacing it with other ways it could have been written, mentally. Again taking me out of the flow.

Yes Ursa can be considered whiney. She is still a child, despite her mental level. A child typically does whine, especially when they do not get their way. Some a lot.

Plus if a certain story version is the true one, that is part of what one can play out in order to experience and learn about. There may have been a purpose to it...

Overall I really enjoyed the story enough to write my first review after being a member for 71/2 years.

85 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kacy
  • 2019-06-09

...

The story was sort of interesting but I never really got to like Ursa...she seems kind of annoying. And OH MY GOD all the “Ursa said” “Jo said” makes you want to die.

80 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Linda
  • 2019-04-07

Awesome Story About Love and Redemption

What an amazing novel and to be a debut blows me away. This story is so beautiful and so intense that it will make you cry because it is so nice. Jo is a bird specialist, and it monitoring the nests in a rural southern Illinois area. She is recovering from a serious illness and has recently lost her mother to cancer. She is vulnerable but also very strong. Her neighbor is somewhat of a recluse. She only sees him when he is selling eggs so she calls him ‘egg man.’ One night, a girl appears at the end of the country road leading to the cabin Jo is renting. The girl says she came from the Pinwheel Constellation and she must stay on earth until she sees 5 miracles. The entire story is about love, caring about others, and how sometimes you just have to do the unexpected to get to the best result. The story includes a child’s faith in life and knowing when someone is just perfect for her. It involves accepting yourself as you are even if the world sees you broken, and it involves love and how love can heal the impossible situations and bring about life affirming results. This is a terrific novel. The little girl is a wonder. The adults she has found are confounded by her but do everything they can to keep her safe. I listened to this mostly in audible and enjoyed the voices portrayed by the narrator. Even the constant and annoying, ‘said Jo’ or ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ following the character speaking at the moment could not take away from the joy of reading/listening to this book. I hope the author writes more books. You can be sure I’ll be reading them. Lauren Enzo is perfect as narrator.

15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Donna
  • 2019-03-04

Exceptional

at first I didn't think I would enjoy this book. However I soon became very engrossed in the tale. I thought the narration was exceptional as well. I highly recommend it. Be wary if you have a soft heart you may have a few tears!

23 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JG Watts
  • 2019-03-06

not Sci Fi but a sweet story

not sure why i thought i was getting a sci fi novel here but im a sucker for a romance anyway. well written, I thought. held my interest.

37 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • An Old Hippie Chick
  • 2019-08-04

Meh. Not what I expected.

It's a pretty well-written book but doesn't lend itself well to the audio format. The repeated " <blank> said," then "<blank said>" over and over got really jarring. The narrator would, every now and then for no reason, drift into a Southern accent for a few lines, another jarring thing that would bring me out of the story. Also, all of the voices sounded alike; the narrator didn't seem to have much range.

My main gripe with the book is that it seemed to me to be deliberately mislabeled. Dubbed a "sci-fi" story, and knowing that one of the characters was literally from another planet, I expected more of a "K-Pax" sort of alien. What I got was a really whiney little girl who wasn't all that likable. And frankly, I wouldn't have believed her tale of being an alien either if I'd been one of the adults in the story.

I kept listening, hoping that something would happen, but eventually gave up, especially when the book descended into typical YA romance scenes. Had this book been advertising as a romance with sci-fi overtones, which would have been correct, IMHO, I would have avoided it. I simply am not interested in romance novels and find them boring. How many ways are there to describe that first kiss and first sex scene? Which, frankly, is all that a romance novel is, no matter what backstory you slap onto it.

If you are looking for a romance with a sci-fi story as a sub-plot, this is your book. If you are looking, on the other hand, for a fantasy or sci-fi book about a character sort of in the "E.T." or "K-Pax" mold, it might not be.

65 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-16

kept my attention

Overall I liked this book, it kept my attention and had me entertained. However, it wasn't my favorite. It was just a little too far fetched for me in some areas and I found the characters lacked true depth.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jojo
  • 2019-06-08

It's OK

It's an interesting premise, but the story drags a bit. Narration is clear and easy to listen to, but the young girl character's voice often sounds whiney, demanding, or condescending when the context doesn't seem to need that tone of voice. The characters are interesting and nicely drawn. Overall, it was OK.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • sabrina
  • 2019-03-13

Super entertaining

I was immediately captured by the premise of the story, (no spoilers) the narration was good, kept the story flowing. The story was good (sometimes a little bit corny) and not tons of surprises, but I listened to the book straight through in two days. So Corny or not I was hooked.

16 people found this helpful