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Where the Forest Meets the Stars

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  129,030 ratings  ·  10,901 reviews
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin ...more
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  129,030 ratings  ·  10,901 reviews

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Nilufer Ozmekik
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I think so far this is one of the best book I’ve read on 2019. It’s so emotional, heart warming, poignant, amazing story of three people who try to live with the hand life’s dealt them.
Jo, in a remission from cancer, Gabe, fighting with his depression and a little girl Ursa who defines herself as an alien brings them together and seal their fates.

The story is about living not only surviving, staying strong and seeing the worthiness of your own life. Trio is surprising combination who complete
Larry H
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are books you read that you enjoy, there are books that you love, and then there are the books you hold in your heart. Having just finished Glendy Vanderah's stunningly beautiful debut novel, Where the Forest Meets the Stars , I know it will be one to cherish. What a special book this was.

Joanna Teale is an ornithologist who is recovering from a double blow: her mother's death and her own battle with breast cancer. Bearing physical and emotional scars, she returns to her graduate resear
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
This was an amazon first read selection for February '19. I read through it very quickly -- it is that kind of book (and I took a 'read' day this past weekend for myself).

I think that the premise and the characters were actually quite unique and built on a solid foundation. As a research wildlife biologist myself, I related to both the biologist side of Jo, but also to the complex, agoraphobic Gabe...and to the awkward, fumbling relationship dance they endured with each other. I would have give
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
what an absolutely delightful surprise gem of a story.

this actually reminded me a lot of ‘the great alone’ and ‘where the crawdads sing.’ these stories are proof that an appreciation for nature and the comfort it lends can lead us to the most insightful and human of moments. i strongly believe that our environments play a crucial role in our development as people, so i really enjoyed reading about ursas search for miracles in the new world she finds herself in.

with unhurried writing an
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
2020 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There’s a reason (or two or three) why Where the Forest Meets the Stars is an Amazon bestseller. It’s special! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

So special, in fact, I’m unlikely to forget this story or its characters.

Joanna has had her share of trauma and grief. As a breast cancer survivor still grieving the loss of her mother, she goes back to graduate school to study birds (this in and of itself was fascinating, and a fun tidbit- the author had this same profession). Joanna has become a workaholic living a so
★★✰✰✰ 2 stars

If I could just rate the first 30% of this novel I would have given this 4 stars. Sadly, I found the depiction of depression and social anxiety to be lousy and, worse still, I thought that the romantic relationship between the two leads is...worrisome.

Initially I was enjoying this story. In spite of the main characters' troubled pasts (Ursa, a child who shows signs of abuse, claims that she is an alien researching human beings; Jo is finally finishing her PhD after the death of her
4.5 or maybe 10 stars, I don't know. My mind is still blown. Don't ask me about stars right now.

Oh wow! I know I shouldn’t begin a review with Oh Wow but I was so blown away with Where the Forest Meets the Stars that it has taken a few days to put words to my thoughts (and you see how well that has gone, right?) Oh wow is what I have come up with so far.

Joanna Teale is an ornithologist is safely tucked away in a researcher’s cabin on the marshes of southern Illinois where she is completing her
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Jan 24, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I’ve been wanting to read this novel for awhile and this was perfect timing! This book was like a balm for my pandemic frazzled nerves! 30 pages into this novel and I knew I was in the hands of a master storyteller. I’m amazed that this was a debut novel, everything was right about this book! The plot was unique, the setting was beautiful and well described, and the characters made me both laugh and cry. I really don’t want to let them go, they are that special!!

Joanna Teale is a graduate studen
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Sometimes bad things happen to make good things happen.”

Where The Forest Meets The Stars has been a simple, engaging and wonderful read, and indeed "it's been quite a ride."

This is the story of a mysterious and charming girl called Ursa who brings two strangers, Joanna Teale and Gabriel Nash, together and help them trust each other and fall in love. Both Jo and Gabe are having a hurtful personal life and Ursa `performs` these miracles to heal the pain and scars from their past, and this changes
Elyse  Walters
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Its not a hype! I could not pull away!!!
This book is soooooo easy to love!!!
There is storytelling...
and then there is
ENDEARING- storytelling...
This is one of THOSE books you want to read!!!!!

Go in blind! TRUST all the High Ratings!!!!

Wonderful- wonderful
- wonderful!!!!!! 🥰

May 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Unique In So Many Ways!!

As a self-professed contemporary romance junkie, this read is outside my usual genre, which I have been finding myself more and more. Captivating is definitely one adjective I would use, as well as unexpected and so very special.

It was an ‘out of this world’ experience to listen to this extraordinary story. While there is a bit of romance involved, it is more about hope, friendship and miracles.

There is a reason you will see five star after five star reviews. It is gorgeo
Apr 27, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ok, I see all the glowing reviews and think that maybe I read a different book. Maybe Amazon sent the sucky version to my Kindle. The writing was weak. Character development was thin. I finished it out of spite. DO NOT waste your time.
Holly  B

Gorgeous storytelling and strong, relatable characters made this a book to treasure. You won't want to miss this one.

This gem has everything I love in a story. I was hooked from the very beginning and my curiosity only grew stronger as the mystery of the little girl named Ursa wandered up to Jo's cabin.

Ursa has a story to tell and  what a story it is!  Where did she come from? Where are her shoes? Why is she insisting she was sent to witness five miracles?

The author weaves the plot in an a
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, blog-tour
A stunning story that will tug at your heartstrings,a tale bursting with love and sprinkled with magic!

I absolutely Loved every single word in this beautiful book! A magical tale about a remarkable girl who brought hope to many. BRAVO Glendy Vanderah! This is an exceptional story that will stick with me for a long time. The fact that this is a debut is as remarkable as Ursa.

Joanna is an ornithologist Who is spending the summer in rural Illinois, studying birds for her doctorate. She is sti
Apr 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019_read
The big mystery here is the 4+ rating for this book. Child appears out of nowhere claiming to be an alien ... the book had a good start but slowly devolved into melodramatic affair. The kid turns into a whiny brat, Gabe's issues are resolved in an expedient manner (years of abuse, depression, and mild agoraphobia vanish in love's wake? ... not believable), and the same with our protagonist's issues. Everyone's issues simply fell away. Everything wraps up and works out perfectly for everyone - in ...more
I LOVE this book. It's been awhile since I've read something that was so genuinely human and soul-affirming. The main characters - Jo, Ursa and Gabe - are messy, in the sense that they all carry the weight of some kind of personal trauma with them, and act out of it in ways that are both beneficial and detrimental depending on the scenario. They're also not without personality flaws. That's the very thing that makes me feel invested in each of them. Their life experiences give them deeper dimens ...more
A girl lost from the stars. A woman claiming herself after illness. A man burdened by his mind and family. Each one discovers life and love in spite of their individual trauma. These three are as varied as the stars but their need to move forward with life connects them in memorable ways. Set in a rural forest town filled with nature, mystery, tears, romance, and even a bit of suspense, Where the Forest Meets the Stars will capture you body and soul. The writing is lovely and the story radiates ...more
Susan's Reviews
Where the Forest Meets the Stars is definitely quirky - something I always enjoy in a novel when it is done right, and Ursa pulled off the quirky element perfectly!

Is Ursa really an extra-terrestrial? Right up until the very end, you will be left wondering! This novel deals with child abuse, breast cancer and PTSD. Despite these heavy themes, the story is still hopeful and up-beat. All three of the main characters manage to survive their particular "hell on earth".

Three very damaged people (Jo,
Oh my heart. Sob sob sob. I loved, adored, TREASURED this book and I didn’t want it to end. I don’t want to give anything away so I’ll keep it brief but it was just PERFECT. Full of magic and hope and despair and pain and longing and love and loss and fear and more magic. Woven throughout the story are threads of love. Love lost, love gained, love that the characters dreamt of but weren’t sure they deserved, weren’t sure they were capable of. Tenderly and beautifully written.
Theresa Alan
Aug 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was taken by surprise by how much I loved this book. The protagonist, Jo, is working toward her PhD and spending the summer studying birds and their nests in the woods. She’s had a very rough couple of years, but at no point did I find her to be self-pitying. She’s a strong, admirable character, and her tragedy is revealed over the course of the story.

A precocious little girl shows up at Jo’s remote cabin with a feral dog. The girl is wearing pajamas and no shoes but won’t tell Jo who she is
This story is really beautiful. I had never heard of this book before, but somebody left a comment on one of my YouTube videos comparing this book to The Humans by Matt Haig (aka one of my favorite books ever), so I immediately wanted to read it. This book is my favorite kind of genre: contemporary with a small sci-fi element to it. It follows this woman named Jo, who recently lost her mother to cancer, and has also recently beat her own battle with cancer when a little girl shows up on her prop ...more
Arini ~ Miss Casually Reading
2.5 Stars

Unique story, the kind that involves:

↠ a breast cancer survivor heroine currently doing her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois;

↠ a hero suffering from depression, agoraphobia, and abuse because of, you know, fucked up family related problems; and

↠ an exceptionally bright and intelligent eight year old girl who claims to be an alien sent from the stars to witness five miracles.

What follows is a series of domestic lovey dovey drama where the two main leads play house and

Still physically recovering from surgery for breast cancer, as well as in the recovery process of the death of her mother, Joanna Teale leaves the apartment she shares with her friend Tabby to focus on her graduate research in ornithology, to work in a home owned by one of the professors in the town of Vienna, Illinois, a rural spot about halfway between St. Louis, Missouri and Nashville, Tennessee. She stays pretty much to herself, other than small shopping trips into town, running to the Laund
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: physical-arcs

When my publicist buddy Ashley sent me this and said, you were this first person I thought of when I finished this one, it’s right up your alley and is very similar to Catherine Ryan Hyde I had a feeling I was in for a treat! Man was she ever right, I was totally charmed by this one it’s such an unusual and gorgeous read.
I adore books about unlikely friendships and the sudden bond that develops between Jo and Ursa was the type that I like most of all. Jo is a broken woman, she battled breas
I grabbed this as an kindle first read, and I'm sorry to say that it was kind of trash. Worse yet, it didn't start out trash, so I unfortunately wasted a lot more time than I would have trying to speed read the end. I have no idea what book everyone else is reviewing with their five stars, and I'm mad about that, too. Y'all need higher standards, and you can fight me on that, if you like. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The premise is pretty great, and the execution to begin with is alright if not luminous; we have a
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing… I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.

He was teaching her how to play poker, and they were using oyster crackers as betting chips. “First guns, now gambling,” Jo said. “You’re a bad influence.” “Not for long,” he said. “We can’t stop eating our money.”

"And I know what
Apr 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars rounded up!

This is not a book that was on my radar at all, but I kept seeing all these rave reviews so I thought I would make some room and take a chance. I'm really glad I did because I normally would have skipped right by it had it not been for friends reviews on Goodreads.

Within the first page I was hooked on the lives of these characters. Jo is an ornithologist renting a house in the woods when a young girl, Ursa, appears and claims to be an alien from the Pinwheel Galaxy. Her mi
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
4.5 stars!

This was my IRL book club's pick for October and needless to say I am SO glad that we picked this one as I really loved it.

Jo is doing research in Southern Chicago about Birds. She is living in a rental property all by herself and trying to escape life's everyday issues. One day a little girl and a dog show up at her property. She assumes this girl has run away from home and she's determined to bring her home. However, every time Jo tries, the girl runs away but ends up returning. The
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Dec 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Joanna is staying at a rural house to do some research on some birds as a graduate student. She has been through a rough couple of years with her mom's passing and her own battle with breast cancer.

Then one day a young girl shows up. She has pajamas and on bruises all over her body.
Her story is that she came from another planet and that she has taken the body of a little girl that recently died.
The girl calls herself Ursa and says that she must witness five miracles on Earth in order to return
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“People think they have to say something, and it never makes me feel better.” “I know. I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains.” 48 likes
“sometimes bad things happen to make good things happen.” 31 likes
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