Celestine Tolland returns to a small Maine hometown that she scarcely recognizes. While dealing with personal loss, profound loneliness, and even questioning her sanity, she is plagued by the paranoia of many of the townspeople, who see her as dangerous, and menaced by mysterious government forces who are monitoring her, both overtly and from the shadows.
$15.99 – $25.99
At its heart, this psychological thriller centers around the humanity of a young woman unsure of where to turn and whom to trust.
I can’t tell you how many times a book jacket says “Girl is dealing with xyz. Enter boy…” This is not that. The book never loses sight of Celestine as the main character and it doesn’t follow the typical tropes. I was pleasantly surprised at how certain things work out because I couldn’t see them coming. The book respects Celestine as an individual outside of her relationships and doesn’t pretend that teen drama is the only thing on her mind. (Which makes sense given she’s the 6th survivor of a failed space mission). Not terribly heavy on sci-fi as the focus is Celestine’s fish out of water adjustment to the 2020s. Some of her observations ask us to think twice about how we’re living today especially when it comes to social media and human connection. She is a thoughtful character who, while she makes mistakes, learns to respect herself enough to know what and who isn’t good for her.
This girl went through so much. Her story is told in such a way that I was mesmerized from the beginning. The timing of the post-pandemic recovery with her own experiences before and after returning home was just right. A must read for fans of intelligent science fiction.
The book really captures the angst and feel of being a teenaged girl, while layering on some unique generational issues. It provides for a wide-angle lens on today’s youth and Gen X. A fun and sometimes harrowing read.
Celestine is a YA tale from author Kevin St. Jarre (Aliens, Drywall and a Unicycle, and The Twin) detailing the re-entry of Celestine Tolland back to planet Earth and back into a society that has skipped thirty years ahead of her. In the best of times, teenagers have to navigate a world where they are growing, questioning, and doubting everyone and everything. That is true for Celestine, but in addition, she suffers from prejudice by those who see her as an outcast (and possibly the carrier of a deadly virus), their fear clearly evident to this coming-of-age teen. The uncertainty about her new life back on terra firma only serves to amplify the psychological damage that has already been created by a tragic space trip that left her parents and friends dead. Written in a style and language that will resonate with the YA crowd, Celestine gives us food for thought, and gives us hope to root for our heroine.