Review: Counting Stars by Keris Stainton


A new life in a new city – what could possibly go wrong . . . ?

When eighteen-year-old Anna leaves school and moves to Liverpool, she feels like her life is finally beginning. She’s landed her dream job at a theatre, and she’s moving into an exciting (if not slightly run-down) flat on a buzzing street lined with shops, bars, and buskers. Best of all, her new flatmates are kind, welcoming and a lot of fun – what more could she ask for?

But although her new life is fun, it’s also a little overwhelming. Anna’s job quickly falls through, and then she realises that although her new friends are great, they’re also a little mixed-up… and it’s not long before Anna starts using her blog to talk about her experiences, from the hilarious to the ridiculous to the little-bit-scary. But when Anna spills a bigger secret than she can handle, suddenly the consequences are all too real. She’ll have to prove she has the mettle to make it in the big city, or risk losing everything she thinks she wants.

Counting Stars, set in a shared house in Liverpool, promises to be FRIENDS meets FRESH MEAT for young adult readers and showcases Keris’s story telling charm, vibrant characters and wonderful observances of the exhilarations and setbacks of young adult life.


I won a copy of this book quite a while ago and had been saving it as a little indulgent treat for the summer time.  It just seemed like it was a summery-read and we all deserve a bit of a treat now and then.

Set against the backdrop of Liverpool, a creative but busy city, we meet Anna as she sets out starting her new life working in theatre and living away from home for the first time.  The shared house she moves into is full of weird and wonderful people who embrace her with open arms and help her keep going when things don’t always go the way she planned.  Anna vlogs in secret about her new life and new friends but soon realises that perhaps some things are best left un-blogged.  Will the big city be too much for Anna or will she find a way to survive even when the odds are against her?

This is a fun and easy read to dip in and out of; perfect for those lazy days on the beach or on a seat in the garden.  The gang is all a lively bunch with their own personalities and you can imagine them all living in each others pockets while they try to keep their head’s above the water line.  I loved that Counting Stars wasn’t set in London, like so many books I’ve read, because I got to paint my own image of the lanes and alleyways rather than a google map version.  It makes a nice London-centric break in a dream house share situation.  Keris doesn’t shy away from big serious topics as well as the fun, silly stuff we all experience as we’re becoming adults.  There’s always those awkward moments in-between being a teenager at home and branching out on your own.

Counting Stars is good-natured and great for a little break from reality.  Thumbs up, Keris!

Published by Hot Key Books and available online and in bookshops now

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