Where the Forest Meets the Stars Summary & Study Guide

Glendy Vanderah
This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Where the Forest Meets the Stars.
This section contains 536 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Where the Forest Meets the Stars Summary & Study Guide Description

Where the Forest Meets the Stars Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah.

The following edition of this book was used to write this study guide: Vanderah, Glendy. Where the Forest Meets the Stars. Lake Union Publishing, 2019. Paperback.

Jo is a postgraduate ornithologist who is spending the summer in rural Illinois, where she is hard at work on a research project in the field. One night, on returning home to her secluded cabin, she sees a young, bruised girl in the woods. Jo offers the girl dinner. The girl, who goes by the name Ursa, claims to be an alien who has come from another planet. She has decided to inhabit the body of an already-deceased young girl. Jo calls the police to help reunite the girl with her family, but Ursa runs away. The police officer is unconcerned about the issue. As the days pass, and Jo and Ursa spend more time together, Jo enlists the help of Gabe, a painfully shy young man who is her closest neighbor. Gabe sells eggs from his family farm at a roadside stand. Jo and Gabe continue to trade off babysitting Ursa, quickly developing a strong, family-like bond between the three of them. Jo and Gabe slowly begin to develop romantic feelings for one another, a process that is complicated by the recent passing of Jo’s parents and her recent survival of breast cancer. Gabe has obstacles such as social anxiety and a non-supportive family.

One night, the Jo, Gabe, and Ursa are followed most of the way home by a car after they had dinner at an out-of-the-way pizza place that was populated by tough-looking locals. That night, as Jo and Ursa sleep, Jo is awakened by the sound of her dog frantically barking, suddenly cut off by the sound of gunshots. Jo discerns that there are two men with guns on the property. She gathers Ursa. As they prepare to run into the woods, Gabe quickly arrives in his car and exchanges fire with the two men. Ursa and Jo are both hit, but Gabe is able to kill both of the men.

Jo wakes up in a hospital in St. Louis. She learns from her visitors that Ursa is in the same hospital under police guard. After various social workers try and fail to receive more information from Ursa, they allow Jo to visit her in an attempt to learn more about the situation. Ursa reveals that earlier in the summer the two men (known as Jimmie Acer and Cory) had been doing drugs with her young single mother, Portia, when they began to attempt to molest Ursa. When Ursa fought back, the situation turned violent, with the two men murdering Portia. Ursa ran away and hid in the bed of a neighbor’s pickup truck. The truck happened to drive near Jo’s house. (When Jo, Gabe, and Ursa had gone to the pizza place, Ursa saw Nathan Todd, who was an accomplice of Jimmie and Cory.) The social workers attempt to place Ursa with two different foster families, but she resists, as she wants to remain with Jo. As the summer ends and Jo moves back to school, she and her outgoing roommate Tabby are able to become Ursa’s caretakers.

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This section contains 536 words
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