Review: When The Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: When The Stars Go Blue by Caridad FerrerWhen the Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer
Published by Macmillan on 2010-11-23
Genres: Dance, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Performing Arts, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon

Winner of an International Latino Book AwardA dancer driven to succeed.A musical prodigy attempting to escape his past.The summer they share.And the moment it all goes wrong.Dance is Soledad Reyes’s life. About to graduate from Miami’s Biscayne High School for the Performing Arts, she plans on spending her last summer at home teaching in a dance studio, saving money, and eventually auditioning for dance companies. That is, until fate intervenes in the form of fellow student Jonathan Crandall who has what sounds like an outrageous proposition: Forget teaching. Why not spend the summer performing in the intense environment of the competitive drum and bugle corps? The corps is going to be performing Carmen, and the opportunity to portray the character of the sultry gypsy proves too tempting for Soledad to pass up, as well as the opportunity to spend more time with Jonathan, who intrigues her in a way no boy ever has before.         But in an uncanny echo of the story they perform every evening, an unexpected competitor for Soledad's affections appears: Taz, a member of an all-star Spanish soccer team. One explosive encounter later Soledad finds not only her relationship with Jonathan threatened, but her entire future as a professional dancer.

When The Stars Go Blue by Caridad Ferrer rocked my face off. THERE IS DANCING. THERE IS MARCHING BAND. IT IS DRRRRRTY. Yes, drrrty. I’m pretty sure that’s a word circa Christina Aguilera. Anyways, I kind of want to see way more reviews for When The Stars Go Blue because it is fantastic.

This book is basically a retelling of the opera Carmen. Which is interesting, because in the book main character Soledad dances the role of Carmen in the drum corps show. I am going to straight up admit right now I have/know drum corps friends. They are INSANE. In a good way. So, imagine my surprise when I read this book and it completely captures the passion on the field. I mean, okay I only played triangle in the marching band, but yo, there was PASSION there. Not the sexy kind like what Soledad has, but still, passion.

Mmm k, so the book starts off with Soledad at a dancing showcase. She’s about to graduate from high school and plans to stay home during the summer to save money to move to NYC and audition. WELL, after her show ends Jonathan Crandall walks into her life, and asks her to play Carmen for his drum corps show. Thus begins a summer of new experiences, romance, heat, and DANCING.

Also, there is a mysterious stranger.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers. Except to say this book is sexy. You can pretty much feel heat coming off the pages. You can also feel emotions. Also, there are multicultural characters, who are not solely defined by their ethnicity. So awesome.

Oh AND the ending completely surprised me/blew me away. Perhaps because I’m not very familiar with Carmen. Perhaps because I am arrogant enough to think I can predict every book ever. Either way, I liked the unpredictability. It was a logical ending, and actually made sense. I didn’t feel a whole lot of contrivances with When The Stars Go Blue, which again is awesome.

Now, a few quotes for you, then you need to get off your ass and read this book.

“Anyhow, corps is precision and discipline and musicianship and artistry, and it’s amazing, Soledad. Everything, down to your heartbeat it seems like, is so completely in sync with all the other people performing with you, it’s like you’re one person. And before you’ve even finished, the crowd’s going insane and then you hit that final note and all the sound is washing over you, breaking into this self-contained bubble you’ve existed in for eleven minutes.” – pg. 19

If you don’t know the feeling, I feel bad for you.

“We tangoed smoothly, our bodies close in this most intimate of dances, before I shoved him away, extending an arm, sweeping it in a large arc, showing him all the Escamillos twirling black capes like bullfighters, the linings all revealing a different, brilliant color – all the different possibilities the world had to offer beyond his love. As he watched, his features twisting in rage, I took center stage for myself, reaching out to grab everything the world was ready to give me.” pg. 149

Hot damn.

Also, can I just say I think dancing is boring as hell? BUT I really really enjoyed When The Stars Go Blue, therefore that should kind of convince you to read this.

Other Reviews:

The Happy Nappy Book Seller

Reading In Color

Sarah’s Random Musings

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April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.
About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. I loved this book hardcore! I thought it was amazing! And I totally agree that Ferrer captured the passions of drum corps perfectly!

  2. This sounds all sorts of awesome. I was in marching band too, go clarinets woooooo. I’ll be requesting this from my library. Thanks for the review!

  3. I’m still hesitant to read this one! Don’t think I’ll like it. However I was in color guard for 3 years (two in middle school, one in high school) and I was in band for 2 years (both in high school) and I LOVE drum corps! I wish I had joined, but I’m tiny. Didn’t think I’d really be helpful!

    Thanks for the review!

  4. YES this is exactly what I’ve been telling people about this book. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!

  5. I’m reading this right now and it’s so passionate. Really great, though I’m having to fight the temptation to skip ahead and see which guy Soledad chooses, what is up with her knee etc

  6. This sounds great – actually it sounds like it would be a great movie. And I love Carmen – great opera, great music. …which actually makes me think I should rent Carmen Jones, which is an all-black retelling of Carmen and it too is supposed to be hot, hot, hot!

  7. I have a policy of never commenting on reviews, but when one a) is so amazingly complimentary and b) makes me laugh my ass off the entire way through, I figure that’s worth an actual thank you.

    So, thank you. I’m tickled beyond belief that you enjoyed STARS so much and you’re spreading the love.

    And thanks to the rest of you who’ve read or are reading it. (And for those of you who aren’t– that’s okay too. I promise. *g*)

    Take care!

  8. Whoa sexytimes! Caliente!

  9. You’re hilarious!
    What a brilliant review for an awesome book with an awesome author. 🙂 Go Barb! Go Soledad!

  10. Um one of my favorite books of the year? I.Know.So. I loved it 🙂 Silver streaks have never been so sexy. And soccer already was so no worries in that respect.

    Now I need to peel myself off the floor after reading your comment about thinking dancing is boring. *GASP* There’s a quote on the 2nd page that perfectly captures the amazing feeling dancing brings. But it can also apply to anything else justl ike Jonathan’s quote (another one of my favorites).

    @Marie-Read it! If you think you won’t like it, get it from the library. But I find it really really hard to believe that you won’t end up at least throughly enjoying the book 🙂

    @rhapsody-I love Carmen Jones! Sexy times there too. Dorothy Dandridge is so full of life and a great actress.

    • Oh this is definitely one of my favorite books of the year too.

      And yeah, I really don’t like watching dancing. I enjoy dancing when I’m out and after I’ve had a few, but otherwise, I prefer to be stationary.

  11. I just wanted to say I was just at my brother’s band concert and starting thinking about your review and this book, and how excited I am to read it. I hope it gets to my library soon.

  12. I read this basically immediately after seeing you recommend it on the Book Smuggler’s blog and I def agree with you. Awesome/passionate/intense book! Glad you loved and recommended it!

  13. Ooh this sounds interesting. Do you think it’s better to go in knowing nothing about Carmen?

  14. Oh I so need to track this book down. Sounds just like the kind of good times i love! Awesome review April!

  15. I loved this book a lot, too. I was also surprised by the ending in a good way, but you’re right it made sense. It was only by getting to the novel’s end that I realized a lot of plot moments would suggest it was moving in the direction it does, but Ferrer writes in a way that you don’t take it seriously….if that makes sense.

  16. This book sounds awesome! I’ve been looking for more books about band and being a former band geek (Clarinet player & Captain), I’m obsessed with DCI!! I will definitely be reading this one soon.


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