Going through a long pilgrimage full of life lessons in…Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

Beneath Wandering Stars

Well this was an interesting book, to say the least. I  don’t think I’ve read anything like it before…and I have mixed feelings. But I’ll get to that. Because obviously, this is a review.

Wow Ashleigh, great opening there *facepalms*

I feel like I’ve not written a review in ages for some reason. I mean, it’s been a week, the usual amount of time. But I suppose because I’ve been reading more and reviewing more lately, going back to a week seems a bit stretched? Huh.

Anyway. The review.

spoiler free

Let’s talk about Beneath Wandering Stars!

Also, can I just mention how much I LOVE this cover? 5/5 stars for the cover alone. It’s stunning. And my constellation map seemed to be the PERFECT background.

Beneath Wandering Stars

Title: Beneath Wandering Stars

Author: Ashlee Cowles

Publisher: Merit Press

Series Status: Standalone

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary

Number of Pages:  260

Release Date: August 1st 2016 (though Amazon says physical copies are published on the 26th)

Synopsis new

(Found on Goodreads)

After her soldier brother is horribly wounded in Afghanistan, Gabriela must honor the vow she made: If anything ever happened to him, she would walk the Camino de Santiago through Spain, making a pilgrimage in his name. The worst part is that the promise stipulates that she must travel with her brother’s best friend–a boy she has despised all her life. Her brother is in a coma, and Gabi feels that she has no time to waste, but she is unsure. Will she hesitate too long, or risk her own happiness to keep a promise? An up-close look at the lives of the children of military families, “Beneath Wandering Stars” takes readers on a journey of love, danger, laughter, and friendship, against all odds.

review new

*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review* 

I have such mixed feelings about this book. I don’t know how to write this review because this is honestly unlike anything I’ve ever read before. And I’m not sure what to think about that.

*takes a deep breath* But I’m about to try.

I know what my hesitation is about. Or rather, my uncertainty. This story follows two people who go on a pilgrimage…and that’s the main plotline. Of course, I knew this before going into the book. And it’s kind of why I agreed to read the book – I was intrigued.

So why is it making a difference? 

Well, because it’s so very different from what I’m used to. There’s no action. There’s a few drama points, but not many. The story is entirely focused on the journey. And because of that, this really short book seemed a lot longer than it was…and at the same time it was somehow refreshing?

Okayy, can you see what I mean about having mixed feelings about this? Wow this is confusing. 

Aside from the romance, I don’t think there’s one thing in this book I’ve read about before. Obviously that just reflects my reading taste and the books I’ve come across, but it was nice to see this sort of story. I mean, this book covers a pilgrimage, a military family and it’s effects, and discovering many stranger’s stories while on an insightful journey. Ultimately, it’s the main character getting a lot of life lessons.

Speaking of the main character – called Gabi – she’s probably the only character I was bothered about. Not in a horrible way, just in a this-book-is-a-lot-about-the-main-character’s-journey (both physical and mental) kind of way. And with it being so short, there’s not much room for many other characters to be in-depth too. Admittedly, I didn’t think I’d like her at first, because straight away she seemed a bit gullible and/or naive to me. But that soon cleared away and I liked her just fine.

As for her background, like I mentioned before her family is military based – in the sense that her father and brother are both part of it. I loved seeing this, because it showed how much the military can affect families. Not just the soldiers, the families.  It was nice to see the story focus on that aspect more, rather than turn the book into a very different story of action come from fighting, like so many others.

As for the journey itself…it was definitely interesting. I read most of this book in one sitting, and I honestly think that if I had taken a few days to read it instead, I might have enjoyed it a bit more. Because this is the sort of story that had a LOT of life lessons involved, in many different shapes and forms…so the story was really slow. Seemingly at the pace of the character’s walking during the pilgrimage, so at least it’s fitting. But for a long haul, is does become a trudge to get through, with no action to spice it up a bit.

Long story short, if you’re going to read this, take it easy. Take your time. Absorb it more.

One thing I did get out of this was the urge to travel. I know for sure from the descriptions in here that I probably wouldn’t be able to handle a pilgrimage, but the settings sounded stunning (most of the time, anyway).

I don’t really know what else to say about this book. It was hard collecting my thoughts on it, so I hope I’ve done a reasonable job at least. In short, I loved the eclectic characters you meet along this journey, and the glimpse into the lives of military families. But it’s definitely a book that should be soaked up slowly, to take in the words and their meanings rather than hoping some action scene is going to come along and speed you through the pages.

Rated 3/5 stars

3 stars


[Available in Hardback and Kindle edition]

Comments spoiler warning

Share your thoughts!

Does this book sound like something you’ll read?

What do you think of slower paced books?

Also, what do you think of that cover? I love it!

Let me know in the comments!

Until next time…

sign new

Come and visit me!

instagram pi  twitter pi  goodreads pi


12 thoughts on “Going through a long pilgrimage full of life lessons in…Beneath Wandering Stars by Ashlee Cowles

  1. AH, you’re right, that is one stunning cover! It’s the perfect impulse-buy cover, and your photo is beautiful. It’s a shame that the characters aren’t developed fully- I find it really difficult to enjoy a book if I’m not invested in the characters. The premise sounds so interesting though. Great review. 🙂

    ~ Aimal @ Bookshelves & Paperbacks

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!
      The two main characters are quite developed, and to be honest that’s all you need for this book really. If they weren’t, I wouldn’t have been able to enjoy the book because like you, it’s a lot about the characters for me 🙂


    1. Aw thank you so much!! ❤
      I didn't use to like contemporary that much either but have gotten into it a lot more this year. This is very different to all the usual sort though 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s