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Every Soul A Star Paperback – September 1, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 5–9—The lives of three young people intersect and transform against the backdrop of a total solar eclipse. Homeschooled Ally has grown up at the remote Moon Shadow Campground, which her family runs. An eclipse, which can be viewed only from this site, is approaching, and ahead of it come Bree, an aspiring model obsessed with popularity, and Jack, a reclusive artist and avid sci-fi reader. Ally's sheltered world is about to open up as she discovers that her parents plan to cede management of the campground to Bree's parents after the event. Neither Ally nor Bree is excited about the prospect, but as the teens interact they come to terms with the changes they face. Meanwhile, introverted Jack finds himself making friends and becoming a leader. As they go their separate ways, all three approach the future with a newfound balance between their internal and their external lives. The characters are well drawn and likable. Even the seemingly shallow Bree reveals hidden layers as the story progresses. The campground setting affords the youngsters independence, allowing them to interact freely and make their own choices. The astronomical details are fascinating and lyrically incorporated into the narrative. An author's note includes the date of the next solar eclipse in the mainland United States and additional resources. Readers who like quietly self-reflective novels like Lynne Rae Perkins's Criss Cross (HarperCollins, 2005) or Jerry Spinelli's "Stargirl" books (Knopf) will also enjoy this compelling and thought-provoking story.—Kristin Anderson, Columbus Metropolitan Library System, OH
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Three young teens witness a total solar eclipse and are changed forever in this novel, told in alternating narratives, that weaves exciting astronomy facts into the teens’ personal lives. Ally, 13, is fascinated by the scientific event, as are 1,000 other people from all over the world who come to view the Great Eclipse at her family’s wilderness site. Glamorous teen Bree has an opposite view and is appalled that her parents, both physics scholars, want to move to the site: how can she manage without the mall? Then there is Jack, who loves art and science fiction but is a failure at science and is brought to the site by his teacher. The anticipation building up to the great event brings thrilling changes in all three young lives. Bree’s hilarious account of her experience as a glamour queen in the wilderness is right-on, but she moves beyond total stereotype and allows herself to release her inner geek, at least for a while, while Ally and Jack bond and also break their rigid character roles. The contemporary voices ring true, and readers will want to read more about the science surrounding eclipses. Grades 5-8. --Hazel Rochman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
This novel brings together three teenagers from three distinct backgrounds who would normally never know each other existed, even if they had lived in the same town and went to the same school. The three 13-year-olds, Ally, Bree, and Jack, are brought together by fate to witness one of the most majestic events: a total solar eclipse.
Ally, whose family runs and lives on the campground at which the eclipse viewing will take place, has spent her childhood with the trees, mountains, and, most importantly, the stars. She is a natural astronomer who gives tours of the night sky to campers. Ally has been looking forward to the eclipse for a long time. But how will she react when she learns she has to leave her beautiful home?
Bree is obsessed with looks. She wants to be a model when she grows up. She hates nature and she hates science. When her physicist parents drag her out to the campground to spend an indefinite period of time studying the stars, she is utterly bewildered. How could they turn her life upside down?
Jack is an artist and a science fiction nerd. He's also a shy guy. He failed his science class because all he wanted to do was read and draw instead of learn. Now he's stuck with his science teacher on a two-week camping trip as an assistant for his teacher's science experiment. But suddenly the responsibility of completing the experiment falls on him. Who will he turn to for help?
The story is written from switching perspectives. The first chapter is Allie's, then Bree's, then Jack's, and it repeats. This works well, allowing the reader to fully understand the characters from each of their points of view.
Every Soul a Star touched my heart. It's a wonderful story about friendship springing between the unlikeliest of people. You can also pick up a lot of cool facts about astronomy on the way, but rest assured that you don't need to be an astro buff to feel the effect of this book.
Others have written excellent summaries of the book, so I will skip that. But as someone who is parenting a son with Aspergers Syndrome -- a syndrome which makes dealing with change extraordinarily difficult -- I really love books that show young people being resilient and adapting to situations in spite of the odds against them. Few people embrace change from the get-go, and the ones that do can be supremely annoying to those who like the way things are (the relationship between Bree and her enthusiastic little sister illustrates this, for example), but change is one of the few things that is absolutely certain in life (I suppose death and taxes would be the other two) and learning how to adapt is an incredibly important lesson.
Every Soul A Star illustrates the idea of resiliency in an interesting and creative setting, with likable, realistic characters. 5 enthusiastic stars.