Saturday, April 25, 2015

Blog Tour: Book Review: Where the Staircase Ends by Stacey Stokes

Where the Staircase Ends

Author: Stacey Stokes

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Synopsis: After her best friend orchestrates the lie that destroys her reputation, Taylor wants more than anything to disappear from her life. But when an accident turns this unspoken wish into reality, instead of an angel-filled afterlife, Taylor must climb a seemingly endless staircase into the sky.

Instead of going up, the journey plunges her into the past. As she unravels the mystery behind her friend’s betrayal, she must face the truth about life and find the strength to forgive the unforgivable -- unless the staircase breaks her first.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Brief Overview: The book centers around two best friends--Taylor and Sunny--who's friendship has crumbled and when Taylor gets hit by a car, she is forced to travel up this long flight of stairs in order to get to the top. Along the way she has to face up to mistakes she has made and situations with her best friend that gradually led into their breaking apart. Once she makes it to the top, she has to make a very difficult choice. 

Side Note: The book is better suited for a mature audience. It contains scenes of intense making out, sexual situations, vulgar language, fighting and bullying.

Review: Where the Staircase Ends was quite an interesting and thought provoking read. It causes one to step back and reevualate their own actions toward the people around them and challenges them to face up to truths some would rather run away from.

None of the characters in the book are very likeable, not at face value, but once the book begins to dig a little deeper and the layers are pulled back, a reader is able to better connect with who the characters are and understand how they came to be from the choices they have made. Each character is deeply flawed, heart breakingly broken, and searching for acceptance and love. I think readers of every age can relate to the NEED to be accepted and love for who one is and that theme is played heavily throughout the story.

Taylor wants the world to see her as beautiful, smart, worthy and strong. But she hasn't learned to see herself that way. She allows people to walk all over her--from her best friend Sunny to her boyfriend Logan to the people in her high school. Taylor allows herself to shrink back and blend in with the crowd in the hopes she will find a place of her own. It takes her the duration of the book to discover her strength, her voice and to finally realize she had it all along. She makes a great many mistakes, behaves recklessly, treats people with disrespect and scorn and lies. But she gets through the otherside finally discovering the truth she had missed all along: the people who really love you will accept you without conditions.

Sunny is the opposite of Taylor and fairs no better. She is popular, accepted and cunning. She vomits judgment and gossip on everyone she meets. She speaks her mind with no filter and doesn't seem to care if it hurts someone's feelings or not. She drinks, parties, cusses like a sailor, makes out with who she wants when she wants, uses people and tosses them aside when she's done and takes what she wants, only asking for forgiveness if she really feels like she should.

Taylor and Sunny don't come off like good people nor does their friendship come off as one to envy, at least on the surface. As the flashbacks uncurl and the back story unfolds, readers discover Taylor and Sunny are just two teenage girls trying desperately to find a place in the world. Like most people, especially young people, they think if they dress, act, speak like those around them, they'll fit in. They let the world define who they are and tell them who to be. But that has torn them apart little by little on the inside thus tearing apart their friendship. It wasn't always dark and broken. Like any relationship, Sunny and Taylor, without realizing it, chose different paths and became different people and didn't quite know how to face up to the truths to themselves and to each other.

The book is not necessarily a book you will fall head over heels for in the sense that your heart will skip merrily though the fields (or you know, your bedroom *hehe*), but it's the type of book that offers reflection. Readers will be able to sympathize with the characters even while disliking them. They will be able to relate to the characters at certain points even while trying to pretend they don't. Every person has known a Taylor or Sunny at some point or has behaved as a Taylor or Sunny at some point. We've all been lost, broken, terrified to let the world see who we really are, terrified by rejection, and desperately wanting to be loved. 

Where the Staircase Ends is a story about two girls searching for the strength to be themselves in a world that is attempting to make them believe it's not enough. But that is also where the complexity of the story lies because people don't stay the same. We all change through our choices, our experiences, the people we meet and the wisdom we gain. Taylor and Sunny are far from perfect, make horrible and stupid choices, say incredibly ugly things but even in their flaws they love fiercely.

It's a story about broken hearts and broken lives all trying to find a way to be whole and discovering in the end that love of self is the beginning of the journey to finding that wholeness. 

Where the Staircase Ends comes down to three very important lessons: 1) Define Thyself and You Will Know Thyself, 2) People don't just turn out the way they do for no reason. It's important to learn to listen to what is not said as much as to what is being said, sometimes even more so, and 3) Love must evolve as a person does. 

I'd recommend grabbing a copy yourself then going out and hugging your best friend and thanking her/him for being awesome. Better yet, hug all the people who have stood by you even when you weren't at your best (even more so because you weren't at your best) and thank them for that love. It's a gift, a precious one, because it means you're accepted. Even if the world tells you that you're not good enough, there's at least one person who never stops believing you are. So cherish them even when you don't necessarily feel they deserve it because at some point neither did you but they're still there, and like Taylor comes to discover, that's what makes life worth fighting for. 

About the Author

Stacy Stokes attended the University of Texas at Austin and The Wharton School of Business.  She grew up in Dallas, TX, and currently lives in San Francisco with her husband.  WHERE THE STAIRCASE ENDS is her first novel.

Find Stacey Stokes: Website/Goodreads/Twitter


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1 comment:

  1. Hi girls - I'm on the blog tour for this book as well, so I came and lurked in here LOL. Great, thorough review - I agree with most of it. Also, I went on your archive page and saw you reviewed Deadgirl by B.C. of my favourite YA books!

    Keep up the good work!

    New follower BTW :).

    Roberta R. @ Offbeat YA


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