Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: Every Soul a Star

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass book cover
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.

 My thoughts:
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.

Ally lives at the campground with her family where she is homeschooled. Bree, dragged to the eclipse by her family is the stereotypical mall-bound and materialistic tween, which leads me to my only complaint of the novel. I felt that Bree's character was too one-dimensional and predicable for most of the book. It isn't until about three quarters of the way through the book that her character begins to show some multi-dimensional characteristics that the reader can begin to relate to,and she really turns out to be the surprise character twist of the novel. Where the novel shines is with the character of Jack. He reluctantly agrees to go to the campground in order to pass his science class. More interested in drawing and keeping to himself, Jack undergoes a transformation to become a leader of sorts among the campground's inhabitants.
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.

Also Recommended: 
Other Reviews:


Tricia said...

I read this book in January this year. I thought it was really cute too! I liked that you included a picture of an eclipse in your review. Very cool!

Veens said...

aww.. I would love it if a kid would tell me that! This sounds like a very cute book! I will keep in mind when i m selecting presents for my cousins and me ;)

Lisa said...

AMANDA! YOU WON A COPY OF HUGH AND BESS ON MY BLOG!! Please send me your mailing address by Tuesday November 3rd so I can forward it to the publisher! I I do not recieve your email by then I will have to re-draw, and I really want you to have your book!!! :0)

Eva said...

I'm not sure this is one for me (I'm not a huge YA girl), but I love why you read it and the cover. :)

Hazra said...

This sounds really interesting! And the picture of the eclipse is real great too!

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up a great review and story of how you discovered the book.

Great Job-

Unknown said...

Thanks for linking up a great review and story of how you discovered the book.

Great Job-

Martha Eskuchen said...

This really sounds intriguing! Thanks for an interesting review. I like to learn new things as I read!

Aik said...

Thanks for this great review! Added this book to my wish list! :D

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