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Title: Every Soul a Star
Written by: Wendy Mass
Number of Pages: 322
Age Range: 10-14
Three teens’ lives intersect at the occurrence of a total solar eclipse and none of them will ever be the same.
Told in alternating points of view the book opens with 13-year-old Ally describing Moon Shadow, the isolated campground her family established and her home for as long as she can remember. An amateur astronomer, she’s looking forward to the upcoming eclipse and honoring her grandfather’s memory by discovering a comet. She loves the quiet, the hot springs, her home school studies with her brother, and conversing each night with her friends, the stars and planets she studies.
Next up is Bree. She wants nothing more than to be a model, run the A-Clique at school, and anything else she can come up with to distance herself from her uber-scientific parents and nerdy little sister. When her parents drop a bombshell and tell her they’ll be taking over running a campsite in order to devote more time to their science she’s convinced her life is over.
And finally we’ve got Alex, a smart, shy kid who’d rather spend time drawing and thus finds himself facing summer school until his science teacher invites him to join a research trip to witness the eclipse. He hops a bus full of strangers prepared to keep his head down and muddle through but the universe has other ideas.
As they converge on camp Moon Shadow, the kids are forced to face their realities and what they had envisioned for their respective futures. The other camp goers also play a part in helping each one of the narrators expand their views of what happiness can mean and how to appreciate what’s right in front of us.
I missed the totality of the recent eclipse by a couple hundred miles but heard so many accounts of the incredible experience that reading the descriptions in this book made me feel as if I was somehow reliving it anyway. Apparently words like “magical” and “life changing” aren’t an exaggeration. (I’ve added it to my bucket list.) But I’ve always been fascinated by the stars and found so much to love and think about in these pages.
Mass has a great talent for creating stories that reach out and grab you and make you re-think your place in the world. If you, or your child, witnessed the eclipse you should definitely give this one a look. And if you missed out on the totality and wondered what all the fuss was about add it to your list as well. Or, if you just love stories about self-discovery filled with heart and magic…well, this book’s for you!
I’d love to hear about your astronomical experiences or your favorite book about the stars in the comments below.