we are all made of stars book coverReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

During my late teens and early twenties, I documented my college experience via an online journal. I also started a collection of letters for various people whom I had a connection with, always with the intention of turning over those letters to them once a specific anniversary was reached. I’ve always felt that I am my most honest through the written format, which is why Rowan Coleman’s We Are All Made of Stars appealed so much to me.

It sat unread on my iPad for a number of weeks, because I had to mentally prepare myself for a heavy read. After just having gotten through an emotionally draining book, I needed to give myself some time before beginning yet another one. We Are All Made of Stars did not disappoint in that respect; I did not make it through completely dry-eyed. Kleenex nearby is a definite must with this book. There are many types of relationships to discover in this book, so every reader will most certainly identify with someone. If not one of the main characters, a glimpse into other people’s lives and experiences are touched upon in final letters from a dying person to someone they are leaving behind, whether a child, spouse, or ex-lover.

The main story lines are in first person, from the perspectives of Hugh, Stella, and Hope. Hugh has recently broken up with his girlfriend, and all he has left to commemorate the relationship is his cat, a gift from his ex. Stella is a caregiver at a hospice, who goes the extra mile in helping patients by mailing out their final letters to people after the patients have passed. Meanwhile, at home, Stella is trying to rebuild her marriage now that her husband is home from Afghanistan. Hope is one of the younger patients, who still has so much life to discover—if only she can stop being afraid and will allow love in.

These characters are so human, flawed, and fragile; each was someone I would feel blessed to know in my life, and all I wanted for each of them was the most that life could offer. At first, Hugh’s story line wasn’t as interesting to me, and I couldn’t figure out how he was connected to the others. Once the final puzzle piece clicked into place, I was wrecked.

We Are All Made of Stars is the type of book that will make every reader remember exactly why he or she fell in love with reading in the first place; through these characters, readers will experience what it feels like to fall in love for the first time, say good-bye, find closure, start anew, and find the strength to live in the present and not the past.

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Ballantine Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.