Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Johanna Thydell – Stars on the ceiling (5/5)


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Genre: YA drama

This is the book for you if you like:

- Books about losing someone

- Books that make you cry


Why can’t everything just be ‘normal’? This is what Jenna wonders every day.

A part of Jenna’s life is very normal. Just like her friends, Jenna struggles with her first crush, her appearance, friendships and school.

But at home the situation is everything but normal. Jenna’s single mom has breast cancer. At home Jenny cares for her mom. She has to do more and more of the daily chores. Jenna has to learn to cope with the big and the small setbacks, and this, inevitable, leads to conflict.

(Translated from the book’s blurb)

Thoughts on covers:

The covers are, in order, the French cover, German cover, one of the Swedish covers and the Dutch cover (which I think is based on the original Swedish cover).

I’m actually very confused about the French cover. While the German cover has lost the stars, its title has too, so I think that makes sense in a way. The French title, though, still mentions the stars, so why wouldn’t the stars be on the cover? I’m not really fond of the other two covers, either, but at least they fit the book.


I’ve loosely translated the original title to ‘Stars on the ceiling’, the Dutch title loosely translates to ‘Starry Sky’. I’m not sure it’s a title that truly gets your attention, but it’s definitely a title that fits the book.


Jenna, the main character, is mostly a typical 13 year old. But even so, her mom’s cancer colours every interaction she has.

I think my favourite character was Tilda. While at first she seems like your typical popular teenager, she has more feelings and thoughts in her head than Jenna and Susanna gave her credit for.


The book is set in a small town in Sweden. The setting doesn’t really influence the story.

General story:

(I read this in Dutch translation. The original language is Swedish; while Goodreads has translations in German, French, Danish, I don’t think there’s an English translation. Apparently, this book has also been filmed: Glowing Stars)

Jenna’s mom is dying. Not once in the book is there a possibility of her mom recovering, which makes it a very hard story to read. You know there won’t be a happy ending and as you see her mom getting worse and worse, you’re pulled into Jenna’s world of trying to flee away in every way she can. She pushes away the friend she had and gets caught up in a friendship with Tilda, who, in her own way, doesn’t have a mom. This friendship generates some of the most beautiful scenes of the book, especially the one just after Jenna’s mom died.

My favourite part of the book was at the ending, when she has to deal with her mom actually being gone. It feels like she has fled from every feeling and every fear until that very moment, when she can’t do anything but face that her mother is gone. I cried. A lot.

Will I read other books from this author?

I’m not sure she has other books translated into Dutch, but if there are, I would really like to read some others.

Overall rating: 5/5

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