In “Where the Forest Meets the Stars,” ornithologist Joanna, researching birds in Illinois forest, stumbles upon Ursa, a mysterious child who claims to be from the stars. From this enigmatic start, the author skilfully throws in Gabe, a reticent young man selling eggs by the roadside, and the plot expands in waves of confusion and increasing tumult. To my genre-sensitive eye, the plotting at the start raised too many questions, and I resisted falling under the author’s gentle spells until nearly halfway through. But surrender I did, and the final third, with plot shocks and deepening character revelations, builds to a crescendo that then turns slightly schmaltzy in the best possible way. An intriguing, enjoyable debut.