Stella by Josh Dygert

Stella by Josh Dygert
Publisher: Lycan Valley Press Publications
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Paranormal, Contemporary
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Stella knew the names of the stars before she knew her alphabet. Although Stella’s mother disappeared when she was too small to remember, she grows up happy beneath bright Indiana stars in the small town of Torrance with her father, her dog, and her best friend.

When a meteor lands in her father’s cornfields, Stella and her father run after the fallen star. Stella watches as her father touches the star. The moment he does, he disappears in a flash of golden starlight. Stella never sees her father again.

From that moment on, Stella is terrified of the stars she always loved. She leaves Torrance, her dog, and her best friend only to discover that the truth she needs is still in Torrance. As a total eclipse approaches, Stella must find the courage to face her stars.

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Stella’s character development was handled beautifully. She experienced some difficult events during the course of the plot. Each one of them left its mark on her in ways that might be subtle or profound depending on where she was in her journey and what she was currently doing to make sense of it all. I genuinely liked this intelligent, sensible character and hoped she find all of the answers that she was seeking.

The plot twist at the end made me gasp with delight. It wasn’t something I’d figured out in advance, so it was wonderful to be surprised just when I thought I knew how everything was going to be wrapped up. I was perfectly satisfied with how it resolved the biggest conflicts, but it also made me yearn for a sequel that might go into greater detail about certain parts of this world that I still had a few questions about.

I was also pleased with the world building. The author used every one of the fifty-four pages available to him to make Torrance, Indiana feel nearly as real as any small town I’ve ever lived in or visited. It was neat to sketch out all of the different ways people were connected there and what they actually thought of their neighbors. Just like in our world, not everyone always necessarily got along, but they did respect each other as fellow human beings and hope for the best for everyone in their community.

This was my first experience with Mr. Dygert’s work, and I couldn’t be more impressed. He had a gorgeous writing style that gently pulled me into the normally quiet life in Torrance. Everything from the personalities of the town locals to what the burgers and milkshakes tasted like at everyone’s favorite fast food joint there were described in such exquisite detail that by the last sentence I honestly felt like I’d just returned from a visit to this mysterious little town.

Stella was the best science fiction novella I’ve read in ages. I can’t recommend it highly enough.


  1. A great, intriguing & suspenseful story.
    One of those books you completely finish before putting it down.

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