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Starting From Here

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  401 ratings  ·  68 reviews
Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham's heart has been broken too many times. Her mother has been dead for almost two years, her truck driver father is always away, her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy, and now she's failing chemistry.

When a stray dog lands literally at her feet, bleeding and broken on a busy road, it seems like the Universe has it in for Colby. But th...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Marshall Cavendish
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,863)
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Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur)
Jul 09, 2013 Kat (Le Pauvre Cœur) rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those in need of a happy story

Happiness happy ending of happy level at:



After a sudden break-up with her first girlfriend, Colby Bingham is devastated to find out that the same girl she had loved for months dumped her for a boy.
Colby's still dealing with the loss of her mother from cancer two years earlier and the fact that her father is never around because of his job. When she witnesses a dog being hit by a car because of her own actions, Colby and her 'best buddy' Van rush off to the animal hospital to save him. T...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Jenn Bigelow's debut is the story of Colby Bingham, an independent senior high school student struggling to connect to her family, friends, and girlfriends. She's still reeling from the death of her mother, two years ago, and doesn't feel like she can talk to her father, a trucker who is rarely home.

She has people in her life who would love to help her. There's her best friend, Van, who is practically her brother. The teacher in charge of the school's GSA often tries to check in with her. W...more
Kayla Eklund
Starting From Here is a great LGBT novel. The novel accurately portrays what it’s like to be an LGBT high school student. I could definitely relate a lot to Colby. We went through a lot of similar situations in our high school careers. I thought it was cool that her school had an LGBT alliance. I wish that my school would have had one when I was in high school. It would have made things a lot easier. I felt a lot of pity for Colby. The only thing that seemed to be going right for her was her bes...more
This was really sweet!

Colby's girlfriend Rachel just broke up with her, and to make matters worse, Rachel's already found herself a boyfriend. Colby wants to avoid Rachel now, and she does so by spending as much time with best friend Van as she can, while also avoiding ally meetings. One afternoon while out with Van, a stray dog wanders toward them, and when the dog becomes spooked, he's hit by an oncoming car. It's then Colby knows she needs to take this dog under her care, even if it means te...more
Teen & Young Adult Zone
Teen Review

Genre: Romance/Family

Colby find a stray dog near her house and through him she learns how to open herself up to new relationships and opportunities.

This book was very relatable and well-written. It focused on a lot of different issues and was an overall very satisfying book. The characters were very diverse and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

People might like this book if they liked:
The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Reviewed by Bethany
Maureen Connelly
Colby was such a sympathetic figure. How could you not love someone who takes care of a stray? She makes plenty of mistakes, but she learns important lessons by the end.
Sissy Van Dyke
The thing I liked most about this book is the same thing that I liked least: it was an accurate depiction of what it is like to fall in love, come out, and be rejected in high school. This book brought me back the angst and excitement of my own high school coming out experiences.

Colby had three advantages that I didn't in high school: 1) A truck, 2) A most excellent friend: Van, and 3) an unconditionally loving dog: Mo. She also has a great father who provides the added benefit of leaving her al...more
This was a different kind of contemporary for me-most of the YA books I read are filled with characters who are economically comfortable if not insanely rich. The biggest worry might be paying for college, certainly a concern in this age of skyrocketing college expenses. But money isn't so much a concern. That is not the case in Starting From Here. Main character Colby lives in a trailer, works a boring job at a grocery store to pay for gas and insurance (having worked at a grocery store, I can...more
I won a copy of this book in a First Reads giveaway.

Review originally posted on my blog.

I broke one of my very strict reading rules by entering the giveaway for this book. The blurb for Starting From Here starts off with:

Sixteen-year-old Colby Bingham’s heart has been broken too many times. Her mother is dead, her truck driver father is always away, and her almost girlfriend just dumped her for a guy.

Normally any mention of a) a dead mom, b) a newly straight ex-girlfriend and, to a lesser extent...more
When I picked up Starting From Here from my post office box, I had no idea it would be so good.

The story surrounds Colby Alicia Bingham, a could-be-better student and bagger at her local grocery store. She's what some would call a lone wolf, especially since her mother passed a year and a half ago and her father truck drives across the country every other week. She thinks she's found happiness with Rachel, her almost girlfriend, but then she dumps her, saying she's not serious enough. Colby's de...more
A good, powerful, entertaining ya novel that shows the gradual shift in our cultural expectations. The protagonist, Colby, is a 16 year old, and she's a semi-out lesbian--and Bigelow has written a book that makes the challenge of Colby's orientation one of many equal challenges in her life, which is a feat that few GLT novels I've read have managed to carry off. Colby's mom died several years ago, and her dad is a long distance trucker; money is tight, school doesn't seem to mean a lot to Colby...more
Mrs. S
Starting From Here is the story of Colby, whose mother is dead, and whose father is a long-haul trucker who comes home maybe once a week. Her girlfriend broke up with her to focus on school, and Colby's own grades are perilously low. But when she finds an abandoned dog she names Mo, things start to change in Colby's life. Amelia, a cute reporter from the school paper, wants to interview Colby about her dog...and get to know her better. Robyn, Mo's vet, takes an interest in Colby and Mo and tries...more
Teenaged romance is tough, even in the best of times, and life has dealt Colby Bingham a difficult hand. Her mother died of cancer two years ago, her father, a long-haul trucker, is gone most of the time, and her latest crush has broken her heart. How could things get any worse? How about rescuing a stray dog that was struck by a car and needs to have a leg amputated. But that dog turns out to be a gift in disguise, bringing new people into Colby’s life and ultimately helping her find a way forw...more
Short, sweet and very heartfelt YA. It's your basic coming-of-age type story - angsty teenager dealing with friends, family, school, romance - but with an LGBT angle (and not just the main character - her best friend also is gay, and her group of friends forms their school's gay/straight alliance - so lots of opportunity to explore LGBT youth issues). The story touches on a lot of other issues, too, like class/money and the death of a parent.

In short, Colby, the main character, is struggling wit...more
Jenni Frencham
Colby's mom died of cancer just a couple of years ago. Her dad is a truck driver, so he spends most of his time on the road. At the beginning of this book, Colby's girlfriend breaks up with her, only to show up at school the next day hand-in-hand with a boy. Then, when Colby is picking up cans with a friend, a stray dog chases after them and is hit by a truck. The dog survives, but has to have one of its legs amputated. Colby and her dog are both trying to adjust to life as it is, but the dog is...more
Ah man, this book was so sweet and brimming with lovable characters. I adored Colby and though she did frustrate me at times with her habit of pushing away all of the people who were queuing up to help her, it was understandable why she felt the need to. She was a sympathetic character but also so cool and genuine; she was the kind of person I'd want as a friend.

One thing I thought was excellent about this book was that a big deal wasn't made of Colby's sexuality; though the difficulty of comin...more
Really fabulous coming-of-age story. Colby is a high school junior whose mother died of cancer, and whose father is always gone, working as a trucker. She thinks she is in love with Rachel, who has recently dumped her for a boy. In the midst of all this pain, she rescues a dog that has been hit by a car and is gravely injured, though she feels inside just as broken as her dog had been. The novel focuses on Colby's growing up, on her finally starting to let people in, and to be open and honest ab...more
'Starting From Here' is a fantastic Young Adult story. The characters are believable, relatable, and they draw you straight into their world. The writing is heartfelt and really tugged at my memories of what it was like to be in high school. Thankfully my life was fraught with less struggles than that of Colby, so it allowed me to have a lot of patience and compassion for her. Which isnt' to say I forgave her for all the idiotic choices she makes, but that is what makes her and her story so inte...more
Nov 20, 2012 Megan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: lgbtq, ya
I think what I liked most about this book was the fact that it managed to avoid stereotypes completely--and even more so, it did it in a way that wasn't trying to twist or upend convention. No, these were just a bunch of normal teenagers with individual personalities, lives, and problems. Sexual orientation happened to be one of the many aspects of these teenagers' lives--along with money issues, grades, parents, and relationships with friends, adults, and romantic interests--that everyone grapp...more
Newest LGBT YA novel to come to library. MC loses mother to cancer, girlfriend to straight boy, and is beginning to lose herself in the process. When she rescues a three-legged stray dog, she begins to find herself again with the help of her best friend, Van, and new crush, Amelia. But it isn't until MC confronts increasingly absent father about his gradual disappearance from her life that she is able to fully start again. I really liked this one -- it was realistic and hopeful. Didn't confuse o...more
Jaysmyn Phinney
Great Book I Couldn't Stop Picking It Up!! :) A YOUNG ADULT BOOK!
So refreshing to read this story about characters you care about that are genuine and reveal with such heart the true meaning of friendship and love; of human and dog-kind alike. I really loved the way the story flowed, the smart, honest dialogue and I'm glad for the ending in which we see Colby as having come through the difficulties in her life with a renewed sense of hope and possibility for the future. I think teens will really enjoy this book!
LOVED IT! I wish there were more books like this one.
Immensely readable and engaging. Colby, our young protagonist is a genuinely believable character, one that you wanna root for despite her problems and tantrums. Van, her best gay friend is very charming--I wish I had a friend like him when I was growing up. But then again I would probably try to jump his bones and ruin our friendship. The book is thoroughly enjoyable and a worthy addition to my YA novel collection.
Colby's mom has recently died from cancer, her dad is always on the road driving a big rig, her girlfriend has just dumped her. A dog, that promptly gets hit by a car, comes into her life. Mo and Mo's vet Robyn, really help Colby heal and shed some of her cactus- like exterior.

I'm glad I read this sweet without being too sweet novel. (Received from Amazon Vine 10.16.12.)
Sam Musher
Overall, I just love the feel of the book. I read it weeks ago, and its warmth has really stayed with me: Colby’s trailer all decorated for Christmas, the heavy sigh of the dog on the couch, the warmth of Robyn the vet’s kitchen. (Full review at
Oct 22, 2012 Tessa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: yyay
if this book doesn't make you want to get a dog, I don't know what would. It's also a really nicely-paced, realistic fiction story about a lesbian teenager whose confusion and subsequent growth is pleasantly holistic (not just focused on sexual orientation).
Failing chemistry, girls with glasses and long skirts. How could I not love this book? So cute. <3 I read it in one sitting. It's too bad it has such an unmemorable title and cover.
Martha Meyer
This is a lovely lesbian coming of age story. Lisa does a great job with the characters, each of them unique and pungent. Highly recommended.
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I grew up in Southwest Michigan in a house full of books. My parents—especially my mom—read to me from an early age and didn’t stop until I left for college. I loved realistic fiction, fantasy, and science fiction the best.

When I was eight, I attempted my first novel, about a tomboy princess joining forces with elves and fairies to overthrow the evil king and queen. It was seven pages long. Twenty...more
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