Once We Were Starlight by Mia Sheridan – Review and Spoilers

THIS BOOK MADE ME CRY. If you want a gut-wrencher than Once We Were Starlight is the book for you. The writing style of Mia Sheridan was so good and just the whole idea was different compared to others books I have read. Mia deals with serious topics that aren’t as vocal in our world today (sex trafficking, poverty – to name a few). The storyline and the characters journey was an emotional rollercoaster for me. This is definitely a page turner and I would not/ could not put my Kindle down till I finished it. I have read books from this author before – Archer’s Voice – and she writes emotional romance novels with great character development. Her writing style is easy and gets the message and what she is trying to describe across to her readers. Her books are captivating and easy to get into by reading just the first chapter. 

So, I love books that make my heart, head, eyes, stomach, soul etc. hurt. You know it pulls the heartstrings and reminds me that I do have a heart and that I still cry sometimes. I think on days where you just want to cry then read this book. When I finished this book, it made me think of what’s important in my life and how lucky I am to live this life.

The story takes place in Sundara, a middle of nowhere tropical desert where civilization you would think is non-existent. Rich men come all over the world to watch deviant acts be performed. The heroine and hero are Karys and Zakai. They are “performers.” They both grew up in Sundara and that is all they have ever known. They can’t read, write, count, tell time because they were never properly educated. They both look like twins – and are really beautiful – and that is why they are chosen for their deviant act of twins sleeping together… Yes, that is right. They find comfort in each other and depend on each other. There are other sexual acts and what all these performers have in common is 1. They are different from society 2. They have lived a life of poverty and needed a way out.  Karys is an innocent, kind soul who grew up in this life. It is all she knows and doesn’t understand how wrong it is. She loves her circus like family and finds light in dark situations. 

Zakai, her protector and lover, is trying to get them out. He is not as naive as her and remembers his life before Sundara. He is strong and determined to protect Karys no matter the cost. They both are saved by the FBI after an agent went undercover and discovered the ploy. Their pimp is thrown in jail and Karys and Zakai must navigate their new lives together in the real world. Karys moves to New York because she has an uncle there and is willing to take her in. (Spoiler: both of her parents are dead; her dad was in the army and died). Zakai follows her but he is put in a foster-like home because he is an orphan and has no living family. Karys is living a lot better compared to Zakai and is adjusting to going to college while Zakai is having a harder time to manage. Evidently Zakai gets scouted by a modelling agent and she takes him on and lets him live with her. Now this agent is shady and sleeps with her clients. Karys and Zakai’s relationship is strained. Karys’ uncle comes home one night drunk and accidently kisses her and she runs away to Zakai. However, Zakai is drunk out of his mind and pushes her away, therefore she becomes homeless and lives on the streets until a nice lady who she works for helps her. 

Now Zakai is on his way of becoming a successful model, while Karys is still in college and meets a new boy who later becomes her fiancé. Months later, at Karys’ engagement party Zakai shows up and they GET together again – she runs out on him and locks herself in her apartment to write her novel. Karys finishes her novel and sends it to a publisher and ends her engagement. However, SPOILER: she discovers she is pregnant with Zakai’s baby. She tries to call him but that evil modelling agent ignores the message and does not tell him. Couple years later Karys’ novel is nominated for an award and Zakai is there, he wants her back. He stopped modelling and joined an organization to help kids, who have been trafficked, enter back into society. She tells him he has a son and they get back together. Ta Da!! It was a rollercoaster of a book. They got the ending they deserved.


Now I love this book. If you want something heavy and that guts you then this is it. The character development for this book is superb. The rollercoaster of emotions I felt were – no words to describe. Highly recommend it.

  • Coming of Age romance novel
  • Gut-wrenching
  • Tearjerker
  • Rating 5/5

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