Shake Down the Stars

Shake Down the Stars

by Renee Swindle


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When you’re in trouble and sinking fast, whom do you call?

Piper Nelson is stuck. She can’t quite stay away from the husband she divorced. She isn’t always attentive to the high school students she teaches. And even she admits that she’s been drinking too much and seeking out unsuitable men. Piper’s mother, married to a celebrity evangelist, and her sister, who's immersed in plans to wed a professional football player and star in a reality TV show, are both too self-absorbed to sympathize with Piper’s angst. They tell her to get a grip. But how can Piper ever really recover from the blow she suffered five years ago, when a car accident took the life of her young daughter?

When Piper’s ex-husband announces that his new girlfriend is pregnant, Piper is forced to take stock. Realizing that it’s time for a change is one thing, but actually making it happen is quite another. And despite what she thinks, Piper can’t do it alone  Lucky for her, a couple of crazy, funny new friends are ready to step in when she needs them most and show her how to live and laugh again.


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451416643
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/06/2013
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.48(w) x 8.21(h) x 0.73(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Renee Swindle is the author of Please Please Please, a Blackboard bestseller.  She earned her B.A. from UC Irvine and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from San Diego State University.  She lives in Oakland, California.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Praise for Shake Down the Stars

“Yes, I know you hear it all the time, but get ready for an absorbing story told with a unique and compelling voice. Shake Down the Stars is a treat. Renée Swindle’s writing is funny, sharp, heartbreaking, and quirky, and her non-stock characters wonderfully memorable….Enjoy the ride.”—Lalita Tademy, New York Times bestselling author of Cane River and Red River

“Renée Swindle’s Shake Down the Stars is a rich, savvy exploration of the many kinds of love, loss, and dysfunction that can unearth us or save us, bedevil us or deliver us…as complex and hilarious as it is surprising and lovely. Shake Down the Stars holds a mirror up to our best and worst selves, and Swindle writes with unflagging compassion and irresistible humor.”—ZZ Packer, author of Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

“I love, love, love Renée Swindle’s Shake Down the Stars! It’s fresh and unfamiliar—which is quite the trick these days! I love the protagonist and the very unlikely yet charming love interest. The novel manages to be both light and heavy all at the same time. I cannot tell you how much I like it. Well, I can…I loved it. Seriously. One of my favorite reads of the past couple years.”—Nichelle D. Tramble, author of The Dying Ground and The Last King

Customer Reviews

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Shake down the Stars 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great work! A wonderful story with a concious message. A must read for the book connoisseur
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For me, the sign of a great writer is their ability to take a seriously flawed character and write them in such a way, you have no choice but to care about them, hope for them. Root them on. That is exactly what the phenomenal Renee Swindle did in her novel "Shake Down The Stars" in an eye-opening, close-to-the-heart, unflinching way. I laughed, I felt sadness, felt hope and wanted to reach into the pages a few times and shake folks up. I wanted to pop them into sensibility; corner them until they cried uncle and not only got 'it,' but changed. But that's the thing about real life - sometimes people grow, sometimes they don't. This story came off as very real. Renee Swindle has a unique ability to craft the most imperfect characters that, despite their 'imperfection,' you care for them. She did it in "Please Please Please" and she's done it again with "Shake Down The Stars" and she delivers quirky characters with such believable authenticity, you just feel as if such a person exists outside of the pages. Renee has been a favorite author of mines since her debut novel. She continues to ride that wave of favorability with this one. The story of Piper comes off as 'authentic,' 'honest' and hope-filled - a true marker of a well written story. Renee, congratulations on another great read. I am so looking forward to your next one! Margaret Johnson-Hodge N'atl Bestselling Author of "Tumbled"
MinoltaWhite More than 1 year ago
After reading tons of love stories and melodramatic family quarrels over the summer. Shake down the stars was a great book to start off my fall season of reading. With an unflinchingly honest portrayal of reality Swindle writes with vivid honesty as she brings us into the life of a woman desperately wounded emotionally over the loss of her beloved daughter. It is through poison in a bottle and a lustful nature for companionship that we the reader get to experience the pitfalls of the characters journey. Swindle writes with an ugly beautiful deeply emotional and intense fluidity that brings to life even the minor characters in the midst of humor. Shake down the stars is raw and a refreshing read that will you breathless and wanting more. Swindle is an author to watch and I will more than happily join her on the illustrious journey of her literary career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First I just want to say home much I love the cover art for this book. I think it’s so gorgeous. Back to the review. This story is great proof that loss and internal struggle doesn’t always have to lead to your ultimate down fall. I wanted to hang out and just give my shoulder for the Piper, main character to lean and cry on. She is very real and raw in her journey to healing. There are some really great laughs along the way. I just can’t get over how great of a job the author does of making the story real and relatable. Tragedy effects everyone differently and it takes a bigger person to be able to realize this. I took away a valuable lesson from this book to embrace whatever it is you’re going through and learn to rebuild your life. This 4 star book is perfect for a book club
JerseyGirlBookReviews More than 1 year ago
Shake Down The Stars is a poignant and moving story about a woman who is struggling with the traumatic loss of her daughter, dysfunctional family drama, alcohol addiction and promiscuity. It is the story of a woman's journey to healing and rebuilding her life through the help of friendship and love. Author Renee Swindle weaves an emotional tale of love, loss and redemption set in Oakland, California, and written in the first person narrative that follows the journey of Piper Nelson as her journey to heal from a tragic loss is filled with dramatic trials and tribulations that will tug at the reader's heartstrings. Piper is a flawed woman whose life swirls out of control after the tragic death of her four year old daughter Hailey in a car accident. Wrought with guilt, grief, dysfunctional family drama, and a painful divorce, Piper's life descends into a self-destructive path of alcoholism, promiscuity and poor choices. With the support of special friends and an unlikely love interest, Piper is able to see past the grief and destructive inner demons to embark on a journey of self-discovery, healing, redemption, and rebuilding of her life. Shake Down The Stars is a beautifully written story that takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster ride. You can't help but feel the full gamut of emotions as Piper's journey to turn around her life is filled with daunting challenges, trials and tribulations, mixed with inspirational support from some amazing friends and a special love interest. Piper's story is raw and intense, yet the author also infuses a balance of humor and wit that gives the story a silver lining. This is the type of story that makes the reader pause and ponder how they would react to a tragic loss, and could they be able to move forward and embrace their own lives. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge Piper's passion for astronomy. Her obsession for stargazing was one of the few things in life that gave her a sense of calm and spiritual connection that was a saving grace during her troubled times. I was fascinated by the author's inclusion of stargazing into the story, it made me want to go outside and watch the night light up with stars in wonderment. Shake Down The Stars was an incredibly satisfying story of healing, redemption and love. It is a story that will resonate with you for a long time.