Body of Stars

Appearance Date: 11/6/2021

Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage to adulthood. Like every girl, she was born with a set of childhood markings—the freckles, moles, and birth marks on her body that foretell her future, and that of those around her. In childhood these markings are indications, not fate, but with puberty comes a new set of predictions that will solidify her destiny. The possibilities are tantalizing enough to outweigh the worry that the future she dreams of won’t be the one she’s fated to have and the fear of her “changeling” period—the time when women are nearly irresistible to men, and the risk of abduction is rife. Celeste’s beloved brother Miles awaits her transition to adulthood with equal fervor. Miles is a skilled interpreter of the future and devotes his life to understanding markings even though the field is unwelcoming to men. He considers Celeste his practice ground, constantly checking her patterns against Mapping the Future, the encyclopedic text of patterns and their meanings. Not only that, Celeste is the only clue to what his own future will bring. But when Celeste changes, she learns a devastating secret about Miles’ fate: a secret that could destroy her family, a secret she will do anything to keep. Yet Celeste isn’t the only one keeping secrets, and when the lies of brother and sister collide, it leads to a tragedy that irrevocably changes Celeste’s fate, setting her on a path to fight against the inherent misogyny of fortunetelling, and urging her to create a future that is truly her own in defiance of predetermining factors. Though set in an alternate world, Body of Stars holds up a mirror to our own, exploring a patriarchal society that clings to old ways and classifies women according to their bodies. With crisp, sparkling prose, Walter addresses the implications of a world that strictly defines gender, the ramifications of objectifying and controlling women’s bodies, rape culture, and victim-blaming while simultaneously offering readers a way to look beyond what we often consider set in stone and imagine a world where we embrace difference and women create their own destinies.

Meet the Author

Laura Maylene Walter
Laura Maylene Walter

Laura Maylene Walter has written for Poets & Writers, Kenyon Review, The Sun, Ninth Letter, The Masters Review, and many others. She has been a Tin House Scholar, a recipient of the Ohioana Library Association’s Walter Rumsey Marvin Grant, and a writer in residence at Yaddo, the Chautauqua Institution, and Art Omi: Writers. Laura is currently a writer/editor for the Cleveland Public Library, serves as editor in chief of Gordon Square Review, and blogs for the Kenyon Review. Body of Stars is her debut novel.