I attempt to read my advance reader copies in order of release date, although, more often than not one of them peaks my interest early. I have like zero self control when it comes to new books.
I console myself knowing that early reader buzz leads to pre orders which helps the author get a deal to write their next book. That said, you’ve got awhile before you’ll get your hands on this one.
Alma moved to Four Points after her parents bought a law practice in the small Her anxiety is off the charts as she navigates starting a new school in a new town. Her parents are not much help when night after night they encourage her to try harder. She doesn’t want to let them down and hides her increasing panic attacks from them.
One day she meets the Shopkeeper in town and he gives her a telescope and cryptically told to: Find the Elements, Grow the Light and Save the Starling.
At school she joins the Astronomy club and hooks up with the club members who come together help her and the celestial being that she sees falling out of a star. Together they learn about astronomy, alchemy, friendship, and loyalty.
It is magical realism at it’s best. I adore this story. I think even readers who are solidly typically in the YA genre will like it.
Book Release Date: May 19, 2020
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Oh, my heart. Even if you don’t usually read Middle-Grade novels, this one will yank your heartstrings in the best way. This is an unusual book as the characters are in fourth grade and act more like maybe seventh graders in their actions? In some ways, that will increase the readership range, and I think people on the autism spectrum will enjoy it any age. Although technically it is not a #ownvoices novel, the author does have a daughter with both autism and epilepsy, and both are featured in this story.
The story begins with Hank hating the World War II book that his teacher is reading his class. You can tell right away that he’s a kid filled with empathy, and those books where someone nearly always dies can be rough to navigate at any age. He steals the book, heads to the boys’ bathroom, and sets it on fire, which obviously, was not a great idea. He gets justifiably suspended. It doesn’t take long to figure out that Hank has loving, involved parents, and even with them, and plenty of support from his doctors and the school life is difficult for him.
When he heads back to school, Maisie (a classmate) takes him under her wing and befriends him. It seems like she is the first friend, and their friendship is bumpy as they both make some not wise decisions spurred on from good intentions.
I think the fact that neither Hank or Maisie is mean, or destructive tempers the fact there are a lot of actions in this book you won’t want your kids emulating. But, the love that they show their families and neighbor is both sweet and genuine. They are kids who think a little differently and jump to conclusions that maybe other kids wouldn’t. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale and would recommend it up through eighth grade.
Release Date February 25, 2020