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Every Soul A Star Paperback – September 1, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 138 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.

From Booklist

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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316002577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316002578
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (138 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. K. Messner on October 1, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I often feel sorry for people who don't read good books;
they are missing a chance to lead an extra life.
~ Scott Corbett ~

When I think about why my favorite books are my favorites, Scott Corbett's sentiments ring true. So many of them involve real-life places I've never been or fantasy worlds that I long to visit. And some introduce me to worlds that I haven't known well but suddenly find myself wanting to explore. Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is one of those books.

The book is set at the Moon Shadow Campground in the days surrounding a total solar eclipse, and three narrators tell the story of how their paths converge there, just as the moon's shadow crosses the sun. There's Ally, a self-confident, home-schooled kid who has grown up at the Moon Shadow, spending her time searching for alien signals and arranging rocks in the campground labyrinth. There's Bree, firmly entrenched in the life of an urban middle school social butterfly until her parents drop the bomb that she's moving to the middle of nowhere so they can work on a research project. And there's Jack, who flunked science class and is sentenced to a summer project at the Moon Shadow with his teacher. Often, when I read a novel with multiple narrators I end up liking one better than the others and wishing the whole book were written in that voice, but that wasn't the case here; every voice was distinct and every character so well-developed that I loved them as individuals and felt like I cared about each of their stories.

As a middle school teacher, I always get extra excited about titles that connect to the curriculum and still maintain the rich characters, plot twists, humor, and tension that keep kids reading on their own.
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Format: Hardcover
Natural phenomenon lend themselves to children's literature. Picture books, for example, are filled with fireflies, rainbows, and shooting stars. Then the child readers get a little older and the phenomena get more complex. The death of the atom in "Smiles to Go" or the frozen lake of melted radioactive sand in "The Green Glass Sea" (okay, so maybe that one's not so natural). And I'm sure, I am sure, that a novel has been written with an eclipse at its climax. Odds are that such a book would be a fantasy novel. I've never heard of one, but it makes perfect sense for people to be racing against an eclipse so as to close the portal on another dimension, etc. etc. etc. Boring! You know what's exciting? Realistic eclipse fiction like "Every Soul a Star". Once again author Wendy Mass takes a crack at science and the idea of questioning a world that you may have taken for granted until now. Entirely engaging and oddly thrilling, this is one contemporary tween novel that's just begging for the right booktalk.

The narrative is split between three kids as different as different can be. Two of them, however, have the exact same problem and that has to do with Moon Shadow Campground. For most of her natural born life Ally has lived on the campground far away from the rest of society, just the way she likes it. Now she's found out that her parents have sold the place to someone else and soon she'll have to move. That someone is Bree's family and as much as Ally doesn't want to leave, so too does Bree not want to stay.
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Format: Hardcover
EVERY SOUL A STAR is the story of three teens and a total solar eclipse. They are three strangers brought together by a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Ally has lived at the Moon Shadow campground for as long as she can remember. Her parents, dedicated star watchers, bought the campground when they discovered that it would be ground zero for an upcoming total solar eclipse. Over the years, they created a stargazer-friendly atmosphere and now are expecting over a thousand people to spend time at their campsites. Ally can hardly wait to welcome the crowds and observe this amazing act of nature.

Bree is into make-up, nail polish, and clothes. She keeps a scrapbook of clothes and pictures of models and studies it faithfully, since her life's dream is to become a runway model. She is incredibly popular at school and can't understand her younger sister, the science geek. Bree's life comes crashing down around her when her scientist parents announce that the family is moving to the Moon Shadow campground. They will be living there for at least the next several years, since the family currently running the place is relocating to the city. How can they be serious? Bree can't imagine life without the mall, tons of friends, and TV.

Jack is pretty much an outcast at school. He's overweight and not at all interested in sports. He's smart enough, but he'd rather listen to his music than pay attention in class. When he is offered another option instead of summer school to make up his failing grade in science, he finds himself boarding a tour bus filled with science nerds all headed to the country to witness some crazy eclipse.

Author Wendy Mass works her magic as she intertwines the lives of Ally, Bree, and Jack.
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