Review: Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

I’ve been telling everyone about this book. I read it several months ago, but didn’t get a chance to review it on the blog so here we are… I URGE you to read this book. It’s phenomenal.

I’m trying to find the words for this one and they’re just not there. This book is THAT good. I’m sitting here staring at the cover with the pin and the red ribbon, and trying to figure out how to put into words the love I have for a story so tragic. I found myself holding my breath through almost the whole thing. To say it had all the feels, is overly underestimating. The feels are overflowing and I might not have any feels left!

Rust & Stardust is based on a true story. The story of 11 year old Sally Horner, who was kidnapped from Camden, NJ in 1948 by an insanely disgusting man named Frank LaSalle, a convicted rapist and child molester. The book is not 100% true, but T. Greenwood weaves a tale by filling in some characters and plotlines, and imagines the thoughts that went though Sally’s mind as Frank both physically and mentally assaults her while dragging her across the country over 2 years.

Sally’s story is heartbreaking, and she is the the most curious, innocent, naive little girl. You root for her to find strength, to build courage, to finally get home. She is fortunate enough to meet some beautifully caring people on her journey who make her life a little bit bearable, and the way Sally touches so many lives along the way is inspiring. We not only follow Sally and some of the people she meets along the way, but also how the tragedy affects her family, including her grieving and widowed mother, who has lost so very much already.

And side note – it is said that Vladimir Nabokov’s bestselling novel, Lolita, was drawn on the details of Sally’s story as well as several other similar cases. They call her “The Real Lolita.” It is also said that Sally Horner’s ordeal was much worse … so it’s hardly an accurate homage, but both saddening and maddening the same.

I didn’t know much about Sally’s story going into this book. I prefer reading things this way and was SHOCKED at the end. This beautifully written story is definitely a sad read, but it’s also uplifting to see how many lives Sally touched. Sally just comes alive across the pages and is intensely adorable. T. Greenwood has impressively crafted the homage that Sally deserves. I cannot recommend this book enough. It’s worth all the loss of feels and all the loss of breath.

You can find it here on Amazon —> Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood


  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (August 7, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250164192
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250164193

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