As Far as the Stars is a gripping story following the teenagers Air and Christopher as they come together and are leaning on one another for emotional support after a plane carrying their loved ones (Ari’s brother Blake and Christopher’s pilot dad) has gone missing. It’s a both sad and loving story, dealing with the subject of death, grief and guilt so tactfully and considerately.
The story is intense and the plot well paced, but the thing I loved most about this story was the characters. When I first began reading this book, I struggled a little with the voice as it is told from Air’s point of view. At first, it felt a little childish and immature the way she went into denial and kept everything about the plane accident a secret to her family waiting at her sister’s wedding, but then she started to grow on me. Even though Air was the youngest sibling, she was the one always looking after her brother, bailing him out and making sure he turned up on time. I really liked her determination to become an astronaut and her genuine love for astronomy. Christopher is quieter and more insecure. He’s spent his life being home educated, travelling with his pilot dad. His mum left him with his father when he was a baby and he’s rarely had contact with her since. Now, though, Ari and Christopher go on a road trip together, driving across the country for Christopher to see his mother and for Ari to join the wedding in Nashville, where she hopes her brother miraculously will show up after all.
I loved seeing Ari and Christopher interact and watching as their relationship develop during the road trip, even though I had hoped for a little more substance to their feelings for each other. There were also parts of the road trip that felt completely unrealistic, like how they in the midst of everything going on and the wedding to get to, made these random detours to do things that Ari did with her brother. I can understand that it was a way for Ari to grieve and feel close to her brother, but it still felt out of place.
But all in all, As Far as the Stars is a heartbreaking, emotional and gripping story that will stick with me for a long time.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Virginia Macgregor