by Wendy Mass
Publisher: Little, Brown 2008
Summary in a Sentence:
Ally, Bree, and Jack meet at Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, to watch a total eclipse of the sun; but soon they begin to learn a great deal about themselves, each other, and the universe.
Let me begin by saying that I found out about this book because of my (former) babysitting charge's hearty recommendation. She just finished reading this with her mom and they both loved it. I love it when 13 year olds tell me that I simply must read a book!
Ally, Bree, and Jack tell their stories in alternating chapters of their experiences at the Moon Shadow campground, building up to a solar eclipse. I was immediately drawn to Jack and really found his thoughts resonating deeply with me. I think he reminded me a little of myself at 13 or 14. Mass includes just enough elements of astronomy to pique your interest without making you feel like you are -gasp!- learning something, which is just perfect for the target audience of middle schoolers.
As the story progresses, we see the characters grow and develop as they form unlikely friendships and become more comfortable with themselves.
Lastly, I loved how the book was built around the facts of astronomy in general, and solar eclipses in particular (the author includes some informative endnotes on astronomy and also provides some helpful websites). Mass is very engaging and keeps the reader on their toes throughout the entire novel.
- Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
- Go Big or Go Home by Will Hobbs
- Shooting the Moon by Frances O'Roark Dowell