I’ve been a huge fan of Orenda Books for ages but when Louise Beech’s Call Me Star Girl arrived I was especially delighted as I love Louise Beech both as a writer and as a person. I’d like to extend my incredible gratitude to Karen at Orenda for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.
The first time Louise featured on Linda’s Book Bag was back in 2015 when I reviewed How To Be Brave here and I can’t believe it’s 18 months since I read and reviewed Maria In The Moon, here. I still have Louise’s The Mountain in My Shoe and The Lion Tamer Who Lost waiting patiently on my TBR pile!
Call Me Star Girl was published by Orenda Books on 18th April and is available for purchase through the links here.
Call Me Star Girl
Stirring up secrets can be deadly … especially if they’re yours…
Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught.
Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.
Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after fourteen years. She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …
What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof.
Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…
Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…
My Review of Call Me Star Girl
Stella is about to broadcast her last radio programme.
I had heard exceptionally good things about Louise Beech’s Call Me Star Girl, but nothing quite prepared me for what a magnificent book this is. I absolutely devoured it because it held me completely spellbound. The quality of the prose is glorious. Whilst the writing is poetic, dramatic and striking it is also incredibly intimate so that the reader feels complicit in the action and seduced by Stella and Elizabeth in a way that is almost visceral.
As well as being a captivating thriller, Call Me Star Girl is a searing portrait of obsession and love at its most profound. I knew from reading other of Louise Beech’s books that she can write with passion and emotion, but for me, Call Me Star Girl surpasses her other work through its exquisite tension and depth. There are extremes here that feel utterly right for the characters and plot.
And what a plot this is. Baldly it is an account of a few hours in a radio station on Stella’s last evening, but my goodness the structure is effective. The breaks in the narrative for news bulletins, phone calls and flashbacks coupled with the time counting past as the evening progresses made me feel tense, with my pulse racing. I don’t think I blinked much as I read. I didn’t want to miss a beat. The cinematic themes and imagery running through the narrative and the staccato sentence structure to the endings of most chapters simply removed my free will. I had to read on. I even found tears slipping down my cheeks at one point and I hadn’t even realised I was crying because I was so immersed!
Reading Call Me Star Girl was as if I were listening to Stella broadcasting to me alone, so clear was her voice in my head. I completely forgot that Stella is a literary creation and not a living, breathing human. The way in which she is a product of both her nature and nurture has left my mind in a whirl since I finished the book and I wonder how I might behave in her position.
Call Me Star Girl feels as if Louise Beech has poured her own soul into her writing so that my own soul feels touched and altered as a result. This truly is an outstanding read because Call Me Star Girl is potent, affecting and disturbing. I thought it was brilliant.
About Louise Beech
Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Bravewas a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019.
Louise’s short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.