You know me, I can’t pass up a book that sounds even remotely interesting. Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles was a must read for me. It’s a YA novel, told from the point of view of Gabi, a military brat. The military aspect, the drama of her brother being wounded in action, and the journey of the pilgrimage leads to everything one wants in a story.
After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, Beneath Wandering Stars takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.
Gabi and her family have recently PCSed to Germany. This move has been especially hard for her as she’s a senior and she left her boyfriend in San Antonio. To make matters worse, her big brother recently joined the Army and is deployed. Then, brother is injured and is currently in a coma. He had left a letter, just in case, and it stipulates that they must make a pilgrimage in his name, walking the Camino de Santiago. She ends up going alone with her brother’s best friend Seth. She blames Seth for her brother enlisting and isn’t happy to be in his company. As the journey progresses, she learns more about Seth, her brother, and herself.
I really liked this one. The author is a military brat and her descriptions of military life on base are pretty spot on. It seems overkill to me, but that’s because I know it all. It’s good descriptions for anyone not familiar with life on a military base. Any military brat can relate with Gabi. She is hating life at the moment and resents her father for his job. She can’t wait till she graduates high school and gets as far away from military life as possible. As their pilgrimage goes on, she and Seth get kinda close, as I pretty much expected, but it played out well.
After I finished this, I may have googled the route of the Camino de Santiago and all about the pilgrimage itself. I completely recommend this book, whether you are into YA books or not (I’m really not) or if you are affiliated with the military or can’t even name all the branches.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.