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The Stars at Oktober Bend

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  167 reviews
i am the girl manny loves. the girl who writes our story in the book of flying. i am alice.

Alice is fifteen, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone. Something inside Alice is broken: she remembers words, but struggles to speak them. Still, Alice knows that words are for sharing, so she pins them to posters in tucked-away places: railway waiting rooms, fish-and-c
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published May 8th 2018 by Candlewick Press (MA) (first published February 1st 2016)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  676 ratings  ·  167 reviews

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Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: give-aways
This was a unique story of teenage love, two people who found each other through very different circumstances. It was heart wrenching at times to hear about the horrific issues these two teens have faced in their short lives.

The first half of the book was definitely slower than the end... a faster pace would have kept my attention better. It is clearly noted as the narrators switch in the story. Although it gives insight to each of them, I found this somewhat distracting.

Thanks to NetGalley an
Jeann (Happy Indulgence)
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

I say this time and time again: sad books just aren’t my thing. It takes me years – sometimes months to work up to reading sad books, because they take me ages to get over.

And that’s what Stars at Oktober Bend did – it ripped out my heart and threw it on the floor.

The book is about Alice, a girl who has trouble with speech due to brain damage. But it’s clear that she’s smart and intelligent, as she writes beautiful words of
Kelly Brigid ♡
"Their eyes were very full because they had seen many things, but their lips could not be opened to speak of what they had seen."

An intriguing concept, but uneventful story. Although I greatly appreciate the unique narrative and voice of the protagonist, Alice, I didn’t find the plot particularly engaging. The idea of the romance is sweet, but the poise made it difficult to fully grasp the progression of their budding feelings. I’m afraid I just wanted more from the plot and characte
Emily Mead
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Oh wow this book.

It's not in verse but the writing is so lyrical it feels like it. So beautiful.



Can we just talk about the writing in this one though?


Alice is a narrator that takes some getting used to, because her voice is like no other. There are little things that just make it so REAL – the fact that there are no capital letters, the disjointed phrases, the little poems in amongst prose.

Aaaaand I’m not the biggest fan of verse in novels but t
Lara (Bookish_turtle)
This book was not at all what I expected from reading the blurb, but it was a wonderful story nontheless. It had really nice, unique characters, a well developed setting and a good plot. However, when you are starting the book, the style takes some time to get used to. The parts of the story told from Alice's perspective don't use capital letters or much punctuation and whilst this is an interesting literary technique, it does make reading the book difficult. Once you understand the reasoning be ...more
Julie Parks
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
This book was soul abrasive. Poetic and scarring. Something you know you're honored to have visited but never wish to return to.

For some reason, reading this book made me think of an ocean shore. One that's cold and yet also refreshing when it's scorching outside. That feeling when you're coming out, waves still crashing against your're almost there, you can almost feel the sand under your feet BUT then a new wave comes and nearly sweeps you off your feet and you realize you're not t
4.5 stars. This review also appears on my blog, Reading with Jenna.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How do I even begin to find the words to express how much this book meant to me? This was an absolutely beautiful story about overcoming adversity and living with hope and courage. It’s a simple story that is just done so right.

This novel follows 15 year old Alice, who struggles with her speech after a traumatic incident that happened when she
Jan 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-arcs, dnf
Unfortunately this was DNF for me @ 21%

I really wanted to love this book when I started reading it, the synopsis interested me but once I started it was very very slow and confusing. By the end of the first 5th of the book Alice had only just came to know about Manny. Maybe the pace really picks up towards the end as I didn't feel like I had gotten anywhere story-wise.
I could not get into the way it was written & the formatting at all to the point I could no longer struggle through this book.
Anne Hamilton
The style, while intensely beautiful, lyrical and poetic, makes for a baffling read at times. Particularly since those chapters from Alice's point of view are all without capitals. Her thoughts jump and sizzle with half-revealed clues and memories peeping out of repression. So the strange punctuation and grammar is in perfect keeping with the fried hardware of her brain and her forever-twelveness, but it doesn't make it easy to follow. It took me ages to work out 'bear' was not a person. It's a ...more
Mar 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: carnegie
Very briefly, this book follows a young girl named Alice who has suffered from an accident and it follows her as she deals with her life and how it affects her family. She meets a boy named Manny who has suffered an extremely war-dominated and traumatic past.

I did not enjoy this book at all. It's been shortlisted for the Carnegie medal and I do think there is some stuff in here that is worthy of that, I do!

But the writing? Are you serious? I can forgive Alice's rubbish writing as she has a spee
Mariah Bowman
Mar 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-favorites
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Alice is a fifteen year old girl stuck at twelve. Not by any fault of her own, but because of something terrible that happened to her. Her brother, Joey, is always by her side. Never forsaking, as Alice would say. But Alice is also "the girl that Manny loves" and she suddenly wants to have Manny be part of her life. In this beautiful story, Alice must decide who she can trust, what defines her, and what she wants from this life.

Alicia Papp
What a little jewel of a book. Almost dreamlike at times, this story is tough and tender, and deals with some horrific events with compassion and dignity. Alice is a memorable character; unable to voice her innermost thoughts due to the after effects of a terrible assault, she has to deal with prejudice, hate and indignity. But she does it with such hope and grace; through writing poems and creating art. And Manny's story is just as compelling. And Joey - what a truly amazing brother! Lovely and ...more
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, aussieya2016
I loved the character of Alice, and found her voice in her poetry very compelling. Joey her brother was a stunning character, protective and loving, and Manny's back story about Sierra Leone was heart breaking. This is a gut wrenching but ultimately uplifting read.
So our main character Alice has some trouble with her speech due to brain damage, however she is very intelligent and writes beautiful poetry. She finds it much easier to write down her words rather than speaking them. Enter Manny, a young orphan who discovers Alice's poetry and doesn't judge her by her disability and they quickly begin to grow close.

This book deals with a lot of sensitive topics, such as bullying and mental illness, as well as including a lot of diversity between the characters
Sometimes a book will just sweep you away with its light and beauty. Stars at Oktober Bend was a dream to read, surprising, ethereal and consuming, yet grounded in the muddy fields and gum trees of country Australia. Where family and love combine in a story of one girl's bravery.

This book was suggested to me by a colleague, written by an Australian set in Australia, and promised to be both heartfelt and moving, everything that would draw me to a book. And yet I was surprised by how much I fell
Ruthy lavin
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my.... this book is a literary triumph.
It’s so original that it took my breath away!
Once you get used to the narrative style of the main character, and later on in the book when you understand why she speaks this way, you will become so endeared by it that you won’t even notice anymore. It’s like reading pages and pages of poetry.
It’s a lovely story although tragic, and you will find yourself willing for a contented ending.
I’m still thinking about it hours later. Just beautiful 💞
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, loveozya
I discovered Glenda Millard's talent for ripping your heart out and stomping on it while somehow highlighting the hope and joy in the world when I read - and was blown away by - A Small Free Kiss In The Dark. The Stars at Oktober Bend is every bit as stunning, filled with beautiful writing and a main character who has just become my new favourite YA heroine. Highly recommended for readers 14+.
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been reading a lot of extremely moving books lately and this one has definitely been added to this list. At first I thought this one was going to be written in verse, but it wasn’t, though it was written in a way that flowed so lyrically it was hard to put down. It was very character driven and was hard not to fall in love with each and every one of them (the main ones anyways). I was a very beautifully written, moving story that immersed me from the beginning.

I feel like you get a real loo
Alice has been twelve for a long time, ever since it happened. Alice lives with her younger/older brother, Joey, her dog, Bear, and Gram on the floodplain at Bridgewater. Their lives are hard, the town thinks them to be poor and worthless, but Alice and Bear and Joey and Gram and Papa (who's in prison) are family. The family Nightingale.
Alice can't go to school. Her words jumble between her head and her mouth, but they spill out on onto the page in short poems that express what Alice can't say o
Karen Barber
Mar 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book to stick with and get used to...and I wonder whether many teen readers will bother.
From the outset, and for a good part of the story, it is quite hard to follow Alice's thoughts. She writes with no capital letters, random punctuation and sentence construction. This makes it quite hard work to follow her thoughts/story - deliberately so - and it's only once we become attuned to her voice that we start to see beyond the surface.
Alice is fifteen. She lives with her brother, Joey, and
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice is broken - due to a brain injury she sustained when she was twelve. Speech is difficult for her, but she finds release in her poetry. Then she meets Manny - Manny is also broken, and has flown his country because of war.

This love story, and much more than a love story is narrated by both Manny and Alice. Alice's story is told without capital letters ( to reflect her brain injury, and how she thinks) and does take some getting used to.
Joey her brother, is fiercely protective. Joey and Al
Dec 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is quite a difficult book to get into and I very nearly gave up, however, it is worth giving it a bit extra and getting into the style of the writing. When your 'electrics' are messed up, your words are not going to come out smoothly and that is the very point of Alice's story. Try and get to the bit where Manny's story comes into play.

The words that Millard uses to describe things are exquisite - truly wonderful, unusual and captivating. Very highly recommended to able readers - by that I
Jun 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: carnegie-2017
This book alternated between 2 stars and 3 stars for me. I found it very difficult to read/stay engaged in the story at some points. However the parts that did engage me were so full of emotion that I decided it wasn't fair to just give it 2 stars.
Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, wonderful beautifully written story. Loved it. Cried over it. Loved Alice and Manny, Joey and even Gram in her own funny way.
Ria 🎈
I want to keep this review as simple, direct, and quick. For me, things the book surely isn't. I found it complex, flowery, and draggy.

Honestly, it took me months to finish this book. I started reading a third of the book then took a long break after that and finished it after a few months later. At the start of the story, it was very slow-paced and I hoped that there would be better progress in the chapters to come. It did build up for a few moments but then I felt that the story lost its mome
Annette Jordan
If you want a book to rip your heart out and wring out every last drop of emotion, you need to pick up this book NOW.
Alice is different, Alice is special, and you will never forget her. She is fifteen, but may always be twelve because of an acquired brain injury, she struggles to speak, but my word can she write...her only real way of expressing herself is in the snippets and fragments of poetry she carries around with her, and occasionally gives to those she cares about. Living with her elderly
Izabella (Pages Full of Stars)
From the outside, this book looks just like any other YA. But what I found inside, the story, has left a huge impression on me and it's the best book I've read this year, so far.

The story created by Glenda Millard is truly moving and memorable. It's mainly about tolerance - for people who are sick, poor, have a different skin colour, religion or simply are different. If you give it a chance, you might find the writing a bit odd at first but the reason for it will be revealed later and let me jus
Feb 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
My review was posted on YA Books Central:
Mar 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian-2017
Took me a while to get into this, but the payoff is a wonderful book.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poetic, clever and moving. I’m glad I found this book
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Glenda Millard was born in the Goldfields region of Central Victoria and has lived in the area all her life. The communities she has lived in and the surrounding landscapes have provided a rich source of inspiration and settings for many of her stories.

It was not until Glenda's four children became teenagers that she began to write in her spare time. She is now a full-time writer.

Apart from writin

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