Where the Forest Meets the Stars

Narrated by: Lauren Ezzo
Length: 9 hrs and 57 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (7,430 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.

In this gorgeously stunning debut, 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 disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.

The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay - just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.

Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?

Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.

©2019 Glendy Vanderah (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

Critic Reviews

“A heartwarming, magical story about love, loss, and finding family where you least expect it. This touching novel will remind readers of a modern-day The Snow Child.” (Christopher Meades, award-winning author of Hanna Who Fell from the Sky)

“In Where the Forest Meets the Stars, Glendy Vanderah weaves a deft and poignant story with well-drawn characters, including clever Ursa. With an unexpected and heart-racing climax, readers will wait breathlessly to find out what happens. A beautiful story of love, resilience, and the power of second chances.” (Susie Orman Schnall, award-winning author of The Subway Girls)

“A powerful story of the way in which hearts are mended by love, compassion, and everyday miracles. Cleverly plotted and building to an intense crescendo in the final chapters, Where the Forest Meets the Stars is a beautiful and unforgettable debut.” (Julianne MacLean, USA Today best-selling author)

Editor's Pick

Real-life magic
"Where the Forest Meets the Stars is my favorite audiobook so far this year! As mesmerized as I became with this tale, you may be surprised to find out that there's no actual magic in this story. The whole thing is more tortuously real than fantastic. The magic is in connections forged between some very likable people. But before I give too much away, let's just say that it’s one of those stories that hooked me immediately, and kept me 100% invested through the bitter end (yes, there were tears). The characters will capture your heart—in large part due to Lauren Ezzo’s performance. My god, can she transition from adult to child with ease and skill. She will make you believe that eight-year-old Ursa is a very real little girl (and possibly a genius alien). Dare I say it's a near-perfect listen for fiction lovers? Yes, I do." —Tricia F., Audible Editor

What members say
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Just OK

The story was fine but the reading was annoying - the "he said"/"she said" comments really broke up the story telling and was not necessary since each character had their own voice. As well, the young character's whining was over done in my opinion.

37 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable. Which "story" version is true...

I can see why this is classified as science fiction, and why others do not. It depends on which story version you believe. The classification can be an indicator of which is true.

Yes there were some, what could be considered, repetitive aspects, but they were told in slightly different ways at times to keep an element of causing people to at times wonder, "Perhaps the other "version" is true."

I can usually easily figure things out about a story, but this was one that truly kept me switching what I believed was going on, and I could easily go with either one after finishing the story. The classification is what will satisfy my view on which. Or not, if I choose. lol

Yes, the overuse of the words, "___" said was an issue for me too. It would pull me out of the story way too often. I eventually automatically started replacing it with other ways it could have been written, mentally. Again taking me out of the flow.

Yes Ursa can be considered whiney. She is still a child, despite her mental level. A child typically does whine, especially when they do not get their way. Some a lot.

Plus if a certain story version is the true one, that is part of what one can play out in order to experience and learn about. There may have been a purpose to it...

Overall I really enjoyed the story enough to write my first review after being a member for 71/2 years.

98 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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...

The story was sort of interesting but I never really got to like Ursa...she seems kind of annoying. And OH MY GOD all the “Ursa said” “Jo said” makes you want to die.

91 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Awesome Story About Love and Redemption

What an amazing novel and to be a debut blows me away. This story is so beautiful and so intense that it will make you cry because it is so nice. Jo is a bird specialist, and it monitoring the nests in a rural southern Illinois area. She is recovering from a serious illness and has recently lost her mother to cancer. She is vulnerable but also very strong. Her neighbor is somewhat of a recluse. She only sees him when he is selling eggs so she calls him ‘egg man.’ One night, a girl appears at the end of the country road leading to the cabin Jo is renting. The girl says she came from the Pinwheel Constellation and she must stay on earth until she sees 5 miracles. The entire story is about love, caring about others, and how sometimes you just have to do the unexpected to get to the best result. The story includes a child’s faith in life and knowing when someone is just perfect for her. It involves accepting yourself as you are even if the world sees you broken, and it involves love and how love can heal the impossible situations and bring about life affirming results. This is a terrific novel. The little girl is a wonder. The adults she has found are confounded by her but do everything they can to keep her safe. I listened to this mostly in audible and enjoyed the voices portrayed by the narrator. Even the constant and annoying, ‘said Jo’ or ‘he said’ or ‘she said’ following the character speaking at the moment could not take away from the joy of reading/listening to this book. I hope the author writes more books. You can be sure I’ll be reading them. Lauren Enzo is perfect as narrator.

23 people found this helpful

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Exceptional

at first I didn't think I would enjoy this book. However I soon became very engrossed in the tale. I thought the narration was exceptional as well. I highly recommend it. Be wary if you have a soft heart you may have a few tears!

25 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Meh. Not what I expected.

It's a pretty well-written book but doesn't lend itself well to the audio format. The repeated " <blank> said," then "<blank said>" over and over got really jarring. The narrator would, every now and then for no reason, drift into a Southern accent for a few lines, another jarring thing that would bring me out of the story. Also, all of the voices sounded alike; the narrator didn't seem to have much range.

My main gripe with the book is that it seemed to me to be deliberately mislabeled. Dubbed a "sci-fi" story, and knowing that one of the characters was literally from another planet, I expected more of a "K-Pax" sort of alien. What I got was a really whiney little girl who wasn't all that likable. And frankly, I wouldn't have believed her tale of being an alien either if I'd been one of the adults in the story.

I kept listening, hoping that something would happen, but eventually gave up, especially when the book descended into typical YA romance scenes. Had this book been advertising as a romance with sci-fi overtones, which would have been correct, IMHO, I would have avoided it. I simply am not interested in romance novels and find them boring. How many ways are there to describe that first kiss and first sex scene? Which, frankly, is all that a romance novel is, no matter what backstory you slap onto it.

If you are looking for a romance with a sci-fi story as a sub-plot, this is your book. If you are looking, on the other hand, for a fantasy or sci-fi book about a character sort of in the "E.T." or "K-Pax" mold, it might not be.

73 people found this helpful

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not Sci Fi but a sweet story

not sure why i thought i was getting a sci fi novel here but im a sucker for a romance anyway. well written, I thought. held my interest.

40 people found this helpful

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It's OK

It's an interesting premise, but the story drags a bit. Narration is clear and easy to listen to, but the young girl character's voice often sounds whiney, demanding, or condescending when the context doesn't seem to need that tone of voice. The characters are interesting and nicely drawn. Overall, it was OK.

7 people found this helpful

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kept my attention

Overall I liked this book, it kept my attention and had me entertained. However, it wasn't my favorite. It was just a little too far fetched for me in some areas and I found the characters lacked true depth.

5 people found this helpful

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Super entertaining

I was immediately captured by the premise of the story, (no spoilers) the narration was good, kept the story flowing. The story was good (sometimes a little bit corny) and not tons of surprises, but I listened to the book straight through in two days. So Corny or not I was hooked.

17 people found this helpful

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  • jennifer eccles
  • 07-21-19

Gripping from the start

I don’t write reviews but just wanted to share how much I loved this book. I fell in love with the characters, especially little Ursa. I really didn’t want it to end.
The narrator was good, although every male character sounded the same which was confusing. All in all it was pretty perfect and you won’t regret buying this. If it doesn’t move you you have no soul! :D

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jay024
  • 11-20-19

Where the forest meets the stars.

This is a beautifully written and heart warming story. The narration is brilliant. I’m not sure what attracted me to this book but I’m glad I bought it. It’s a rare gem. Buy it, you’ll be glad you did. Be warned it pulls on the old heart strings.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Adam B
  • 02-29-20

Interesting start, descended into melodrama

An easy listen, some good parts but a bit melodramatic by the end. Not bad.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Fiona Keates
  • 02-20-20

loved this book <br />

engaging characters, captivating storyline and very well narrated.
I thought the child was a little whiney at times but I supposed they are a that age if they don't get their own way.
loved the alien aspect

1 person found this helpful

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  • Swiss Rose
  • 01-18-20

If you only listen to one fiction book for entertainment.

After some dark and disappointing listens, this book complete delivered.
It was moving, compelling and compassionate.
I was first grumpy and irritated by the het says, she says’ but I soon was do engrossed in this book I could ignore it.

Perfect for a relaxing listen like a bat of chocolate, sad to see it finished

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sean Pitt
  • 12-29-19

Narration so bad that I couldn’t bear it

The narration of this title is so bad that it distracts from what seemed otherwise would be a good story. The female reader switches to a false, deep voice to read the male parts, which sounds like a child mocking the grown men’s lines. She unnecessarily repeats “he said” and “she said” in close proximity when it’s perfectly obvious who is speaking. Finally, the child’s voice is whiny, all the time. I couldn’t bear it. I will read the book in print.

1 person found this helpful

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  • rita
  • 12-22-19

A beautiful story

This book moves me to tears, I couldn't put it down. Lauren Ezzos performance of the story was great, she really built the image of the characters and it was easy to distinguish who was who while she talked. I finished this in 4 days and will be checking out Vanderah's other stories.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Phil Day
  • 11-17-19

Brilliant, beautiful, deeply moving

I loved this story from start to finish. I thought the characters were wonderful, fabulous narration, great story telling and a very satisfying ending which i must say i wondered how it would be arrived at. Full of love and compassion, dealt with painful subject matter sensitively but not oppressively. Highly recommend.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kat Evans
  • 10-17-19

Loved it!

A lovely story that is well narrated and easy to immerse yourself in. It's a nice escape and a story about three unlikely friendships, love and new family. All set in a cabin in the woods. Definitely my cup of tea :)

1 person found this helpful

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  • Brightlight
  • 03-07-19

HTRAE resident

I absolutely loved this so many issues dealt with in this captivating novel . I’ve been to earth and back again with this one ! So well read but to be honest they had an easy job because it’s just so wonderfully written . I’ve just one complaint, that it had to end .The character Ursula for me was so complex and detailed I feel she’s with me now as are jo have and tabby . I’ll be reading more Glenda vanderah books for sure !

1 person found this helpful

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  • J. Ball
  • 02-01-20

So many saids!! Too many saids!!

He said. She said. Gabe said. Ursa said. So many saids. Too many saids.

That being said (😂) awesome story with great narration. Totally five stars without the million saids that at times very much hampered my enjoyment but I could not return because I needed to hear the end.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-23-19

Couldn't put this down.

Don't know why but this has been sitting there in my waiting to listen to pile.

This was a brilliant story that was unbelievably heart warming. I couldn't put this down.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 06-30-20

Entertaining read

I loved this book, a great story that kept my curiosity peaked until the end. The narration was good. My only misgiving was the voice she used for the little girl came across to me as whiney and annoying. All other character voices were fine. Overall a great book that I have recommended to friends

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-28-20

Love it!!

Loved every little bit of this story, the characters, the smiles and the tears.

Thank you Glendy.