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The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes by Xio Axelrod
Contemporary fiction

The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes

by Xio Axelrod

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Quick take

Like the best concerts, this tale of rock and romance will have your head bopping, feet tapping, hoping it never ends.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist


  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Series

    First in series


They say the road to stardom is paved with broken dreams.

Growing up, Antonia "Toni" Bennette's guitar was her only companion...until she met Sebastian Quick. Seb was a little older, a lot wiser, and he became Toni's way out, promising they'd escape their small town together. Then Seb turned eighteen and split without looking back.

Now, Toni B is all grown up and making a name for herself in Philadelphia's indie rock scene. When a friend suggests she try out for the hottest new band in the country, she decides to take a chance. She's in for a surprise when one of the decision-makers turns out to be none other than Seb. Toni can handle it. No problem. Or it wouldn't be if Seb didn't still hold a piece of her heart, not to mention the key to her future.

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The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes



ANTONIA BENNETTE WOKE FROM HER after-school nap to the sound of a guitar. It was coming from somewhere inside the small dressing room in the back of Ginny’s Jazz House where her mother was gigging tonight. She listened for a while, searching for something familiar amid the improvised notes, giddy with anticipation.

The tenor of Mary Bennette’s prized old Gibson was unmistakable. Softer than the Fender or even her other, newer Gibson. Antonia loved the way its tone could change note to note—from the sound of water dripping from the roof when it rained to the crunch of loose pavement under her shoes. And the way her mother could make it sing, make it harmonize along with her own voice, gave Antonia goose bumps. Audiences loved Mary Bennette too. They packed small clubs in Chester, Baltimore, and even Philadelphia to hear her. Antonia’s mother was a star.

After another few bars, Antonia was able to pick out the melody to Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday.” Her mom had remembered and must have something special in store for her. Maybe she’d even let Antonia stay for the show and not send her off to stay with one of her play-aunts across town.

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Why I love it

Though she may not have been graced with the advantages of some and has had more than her fair share of hard knocks, the moment Antonia “Toni” Bennette makes her debut in The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes, you know she’s meant to be a rock star.

Toni is the type of fictional heroine that a reader can root for from the very first page: smart, full of pure heart, incredible drive, and amazing talent. And then when Toni meets Sebastian Quick, another poor kid from the wrong side of, well, everything, sparks fly and it’s musical magic. Sebastian is strong, talented and as driven as Toni, but he’s also in a tragically desperate situation and it’s because of that desperation that he and Toni’s magical destiny is in question.

I adored every moment of reading The Girl with Stars in Her Eyes. Axelrod brings a haunting humanity to the sexy rock and roll spotlight and readers will be singing along with Toni, Sebastian, and the Lillys as they follow them on their road to stardom. This book reads like an impeccable performance that you don’t want to end and will have you shouting, “Encore! Encore!” by the time you reach the last page.

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Member ratings (1,237)

  • Leah G.

    Kingsland , GA

    One of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I was hooked from beginning to end. This story gave me all the feels and a little steam. Don’t think about it, just read it. You won’t be disappointed.

  • Leah L.

    Columbia City, IN

    Romance, drama, feminist, relationships, this really has it all! Another one I could not put down & did not want to end! I don’t know a lot about the music world, but this made me want to learn more!!

  • Alexandria G.

    Long Island City, NY

    Boy was this book fantastic. This book is everything I love about romance, a perfect story about Toni’s love for her best friend and her craft. Such a beautiful story, 100% my favorite book this year!

  • Annie P.

    Louisville, KY

    This has everything- female friendship, hard earned romance, and a funny, smart, talented musician! I loved this from the beginning and couldn’t put it down. If you enjoy books about music try this!

  • Amanda W.

    Puyallup, WA

    I love how musically technical this is - you can tell a musician wrote it! I also love how it's a band of women, including a WOC, who write and play rock music. There's also family drama and romance.

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