Book Review

Book Review: A Wilderness of Stars by Shea Ernshaw

Rating: ★★
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 400 pages
Author: Shea Ernshaw
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An illness cursing the land forces a teen girl astronomer to venture across the wilderness in search of the stars’ message that will, hopefully, save them all.

If magic lives anywhere, it’s in the stars…

Vega has lived in the valley her whole life—forbidden by her mother to leave the safety of its borders because of the unknown threats waiting for her in the wilds beyond. But after her mother dies, and Vega sees the fabled twin stars in the sky, it’s an omen she can no longer ignore, forcing her to leave the protective boundaries of the valley. But the outside world turns out to be much more terrifying than Vega could have imagined. People are gravely sick—they lose their eyesight and their hearing, just before they lose their lives.

What Vega keeps to herself is that she is the Last Astronomer—a title carried from generation to generation—and she is the only one who carries the knowledge of the stars. Knowledge that could hold the key to the cure. And so when locals spot the tattoo on Vega’s neck in the shape of a constellation—the mark of an astronomer—chaos erupts as the threats her mother warned her about become all too real.

Fearing for her life, Vega is rescued by a girl named Cricket who leads her to Noah, a boy marked by his own mysterious tattoos. On the run from the men who are hunting her, Vega, Cricket, and Noah set out across the plains in search of the cure the stars speak of. But as the lines between friend and protector begin to blur, Vega must decide whether to safeguard the sacred knowledge of the astronomer. Or if she will risk everything to try to save them all.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites for the gifted copy.


Do y’all remember that scene from Friends when Joey is acting in a play and a spaceship ladder comes to take him away to safe the Earth (or something like that?). THAT IS HOW THIS BOOK FELT.

I was first very much confused by the time/era/or is this pure fantasy situation. I only barely grasped it at the end. It’s a slooowwww read. SLOW. And with a big lack of dialogue I spent most of my time skimming hoping some kind of action or anything of true note would take place.

Instead, our FMC spends the book running away from this one group of people out to catch her and make her help them survive. That’s it.

And then the ending????? I DON’T EVEN KNOW. At least I can say I was definitely shocked by how that unveiled itself and perturbed at how it ended.

Bleh, okay, I’m done.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy?? / Sci-Fi??
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: very vague open door
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones, weapons violence, kidnapping

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