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4.1 out of 5 stars
The Silver Star
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150 of 161 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Because as other reviewers have said, The Glass Castle is one of my favorite books- but this seemed like it came from a different author and definitely for a younger readership. I pre-ordered it as well and couldn't wait for it to arrive. Then I couldn't wait to get to it, then for it to get better, and it just never did. Too many stereotypes and not an interesting enough plot were its biggest failings. Dysfunctional family books, stories of quirky and or bad parents, voices of young people telling tales of survival in tough circumstances are all of great interest to me, and I believe Jeanette Walls is a wonderful writer. Having said that, I still was very disappointed by this book.
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138 of 150 people found the following review helpful
on June 13, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
There is no bigger fan of The Glass Castle, and I dislike giving a poor review, but I found Silver Star to be sadly disappointing. And let me be clear, Silver Star fails all on its own - and not because it doesn't measure up to the transcendence of Glass Castle. While it contains a fair amount of action, it feels thin and lacking in depth.

i won't rehash the plot lines since other reviewers have done a good job already. My take about 30 pages in was that this book should be marketed for teen readers. While the painful "bad mother" themes were revisited in this book, Walls did so with superficiality and hasty wrap-ups of mini plot lines, shallow dialogue, and quite frankly, cardboard villains and good guys. I don't see where the 4 and 5 stars are coming from, but that is the beauty of subjectivity. Books mean something different to everyone. Fans of Walls have been waiting for this book. It was such a letdown.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Loved Walls' "Glass Castle" and "Half-Broke Horses". Totally disappointed with Silver Star. One reviewer said it reads like a YA fiction....I've read many wonderful YA fiction books, and this was poorly written. Boring, predictable and overly simple. Seems written more for middle school girls than adult fiction.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
"Find the magic," Mom always said. "And If you can't find the magic," she added, "then make the magic."

The Silver Star is one of those books that I loved but at the same time I'm not sure if it was all that great. On one hand, The Silver Star is an excellent, quick coming-of-age story but on the other hand it's kind of disappointing after reading The Glass Castle. The Glass Castle is my favorite non-fiction book ever written and it was just so mesmerizing The Silver Star doesn't exactly deliver the same emotional punch that The Glass Castle had but it's still an entertaining read. Thank you Scribner for providing me with an ARC of The Silver Star in exchange for a honest review.

If you've read The Glass Castle, parts of The Silver Star may seem pretty similar to you. Negligent, abusive mother mistreats her kids who are way smarter than all the other adults. The kids have to fend for themselves in a tough world where it's seems like everyone is out to get them. The family is constantly running away from their problems and the world isn't so kind to them.

The Silver Star is a story written in the same vein as The Glass Castle. There are themes about growing up, family, and loyalty spread out through the novel. The Silver Star explores racial and socioeconomic boundaries but Walls doesn't develop these themes well. The way Walls explores racial boundaries is pretty basic and doesn't really go beyond the fact that racism is bad. This book is marketed as an adult novel but it feels more like a Middle Grade or YA novel.

I really liked the characters Walls created in this novel even though they do share similarities with the characters from The Glass Castle. Jean and Liz were interesting protagonists and I loved how resourceful. It always amazes me how in stories like this how the kids fend for themselves and are more intelligent than the adults in their lives. The way they coped with reality by comparing their lives to Alice In Wonderland was really cute. One of the most amazing things about Walls' writing is that she makes even abusive parents slightly likeable. I'm not condoning abuse but Walls helps the reader explore why the parent is abusive. She talks about Jean and Liz's mother fondly even though she fails at being a parent and an authoritative figure. The reader definitely empathizes with her mother and feels for her because of her unfortunate past. Some of my favorite quotes in this book come from their mother and her dialogue was just so quotable.

The Silver Star feels like a rehash of The Glass Castle but a not very developed one. Walls added a little bit about sexual abuse, racism, and other small details but it's still felt like I was reading a mediocre version of The Glass Castle. That being said, this book was still very good and it was definitely a quick read. This book is by no means bad, but it is disappointing after reading The Glass Castle. I would definitely recommend this for readers looking for a quick, historical fiction book. If you haven't read The Glass Castle yet, I would recommend reading it before The Silver Star.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Any readers who grew up in the midst of disturbing family circumstances--with
or without chicken potpies--may find this story of special interest. Once again,
Jeannette Walls tells an engaging story with unpredictable twists and turns, providing
a treasure chest of insights on family dynamics along the way. I enjoyed the charm
of her wordplay and expressions ("tire-kickers," "bandersnatches," "rigor buttis").
And I love the way she inspires me to think about how the bond between two sisters
can be the key to survival. Yes, it's clearly marked as a novel, but parts of the story
sure ring true to me.

It's a winner. A great read for the beach, a rainy day, or to jumpstart a lively
conversation at a book group...or even with your own family.

Bravo, Jeannette. You've done it again! Keep writing.
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77 of 95 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This book is definitely along the same vein as "The Glass Castle" and "Half-Broke Horses" - many of the themes are the same - but this is a slight step below. If this had been my first Jeannette Walls book, I would have loved it, but since it is my third, I felt the ending was slightly rushed and that the writing was a little too cutesy at times. However, this is like comparing two exceptional pieces of art against a third good piece by the same artist. It's still pretty good, just not as great as the first two.

That being said, I would still recommend this book as a pretty quick read (I read it in one sitting on a 5-hour train ride) and it completely kept my attention. I look forward to more work by Jeannette Walls.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Walls is clearly a talented writer - that is not in doubt. The question is - is this a good book? Unfortunately, my vote is no. I really loved Glass Castle, and had high hopes for this one. But it just goes on and on and on, it's not well developed, it's boring. Sorry, everybody. I usually don't give two stars. But I know, because of her talent, she will rally next time.
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35 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Having read her first two books, I was anxious to start this one. What a disappointment! I loved Glass Castle and thought Half Broke Horses was just okay. But, Silver Star reads like it was written for a 12 year old. I think that the author has worn out her ability to write about families, upbringing, and growing up with dysfunctional parents. It's the same old them wrapped up in characters with different names. Don't waste your money or your time on this one.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on July 11, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
This is not worth reading at all. I loved her Glass Castles and Half Broke Horses and kept waiting for this to get better but it just didn't. Cliched characters - plucky little girl, good country folk, eccentric uncle, wacky selfish neglectful mother, extreme villain - with dialog and narratives that do not ring true at all.

Do not waste your time - I actually found myself thinking, was this book some kind of contractual thing that she was forced to come up with something, anything? So disappointing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved Glass Castle. I've read it several times. My first-year college students have read it for their assignments. I've seen Ms Walls in person and I'm a big fan. That being said, I assumed that this one would be every bit as good, but sadly, it's not. Period. After about a third of the way in, I skimmed the rest and took it back to the library. Her writing is weak, very weak, in this latest book. Hope she gets it together in her next project. A HUGE disappointment.
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