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Where the Forest Meets the Stars

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  42,517 ratings  ·  4,346 reviews
A mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.

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
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published March 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 4.15  · 
Rating details
 ·  42,517 ratings  ·  4,346 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 research
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 solitary
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
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
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
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!!!!!!

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 all
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 still
Anna Luce
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 stars. This is the second most unique story I have read this year, behind Daisy Jones & The Six. There are other books worth mentioning, but somehow very few stories manage to surprise you continuously and unfold so elegantly and meaningfully. This book deserves to be studied by aspiring writers out there, that’s how worthy of our attention it is.

I loved Ursa the moment she appeared in the story, which did not take long at all. She and Jo’s interactions are priceless. Jo is a graduate
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
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 ...more
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
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

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
Susan's Reviews
May 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,
Jennifer Kyle
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
4.5 Stars! What a wonderful story. This is definitely an author to look out for!!!
Mel (Epic Reading)
Sep 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The beauty of this book is that you want to believe Ursa’s alien story; and at times start to think maybe it is true. Glendy Vanderah gives our little girl, Ursa, such a strong, passionate and intelligent voice that it’s impossible not to fall in love with her. As I thought might happen by the end of the novel I was bawling my eyes out. For so many reasons and at so many levels; none of which felt cheap or convenient.

Each character we encounter is unique and each has their own
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
Andy Marr
Dec 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
A lovely debut from Venderah. I'd have given five stars, except that the pacing seemed pretty off in the final quarter. It's well worth a read, though, and is bound to leave you feeling just a little better than you did when you started it.
Sophie "Beware Of The Reader"
4,75 “buddy listening” stars

Having finished the audiobook of Salt to the Sea I was looking for my next best read when Ari from Reading Under Street Lamps asked in her story who would like to buddy read Where the Forest Meets the Stars with her.

I read the synopsis, saw all the good ratings (already more than 16.000 ratings on Goodreads for a book published only one month ago!) and jumped in!

I won’t say a lot about the plot as part of the fun was guessing if this book was contemporary or with PNR
Renee Godding
"Words fail when you most want to say the right thing. People think they need to say something, and it never makes me feel better. I know. I have 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 feel stays locked inside of our brains."

I wish I had more than 5 stars to give, because I want to give a full pinwheel galaxy worth of them to Where the Forest Meets the Stars .

This felt like it was almost written for
Sonja Arlow
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-read
I think my expectations were a bit skewed.

The clever marketing had me thinking it was a lighter version of The Summer that Melted Everything.

You have one otherworldly little girl, two broken adults and a whole lot of marshmallows.

I enjoyed the unlikely friendship between Ursa and Jo, and the unfolding of both their backgrounds. I also like the overall message of redemption and the power of connection.

However, some of the resolutions came too easy and certain elements of Gabe’s story did not
Goth Gone Grey
Magical quarks, full of emotion, possible spoilers.

First few pages: Alien kid, like KPAX or Sati. Ok, I can get into this.

A few more pages: Ominous foreshadowing. Not digging that. But hey, there's a cute dog, too!

A few chapters in: A romance between two damaged people. This works, too, and it works with the star child and the dog. Nice. I'll just forget about that foreshadowing nonsense.

A few more chapters: Ooooooohhhhh.... This book is going to break my heart.

After more chapters:
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-unlimited
I fell in love with this one within pages because of the cozy, intimate writing. Jo is a research scientist studying birds in rural southern Illinois. A girl shows up out of the blue, covered in bruises, hungry and telling a tale about being an alien from another planet here temporarily to learn about humans, having “borrowed” a body from a girl who died.

The beauty in this story is the characters, from Gabe, a farmer who suffers from depression, Jo, who bears wounds from those she’s lost, Ursa,
Mehvish Z Zaidi
Apr 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Where the Forest Meets the Stars was my bookclub’s March pick. Mostly, I do not like to dive into a book blind and usually do my homework before I start it. I read the blurb and check out the Goodreads ratings, look at the percentage of the stars given, sometimes I skim through the reviews if the ratings are mixed. On Goodreads, this book had an average rating of 4.24, with 82% of the 16,185 readers had given it either 4 or 5 stars. Now, that is something. My fellow bookclub readers, the ones ...more
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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.” 29 likes
“The horrific crush of humanity on my soul. Haven’t you ever felt it?” “I think I have—in Walmart.” “Yes! That place is the worst!” 16 likes
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