Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Stars Are Made Of

Allen, Sarah. What Stars Are Made Of
March 31st 2020 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Libby is in 7th grade, but finds it a little hard to make friends. She's quiet, and likes science, and has Turner Syndrome, which isn't that big of a deal to her. Sure, she has to inject herself everyday, is a little short, and has a few health problems, but she still does very well in school. When her older sister Nonny comes home to live because her husband has to go away to work and Nonny is pregnant, Libby starts to worry. What if the baby will have something wrong with it? She makes a deal with the universe; if she can do really well on a biography project and win a Smithsonian magazine $25,000 prize with an entry about a famous woman scientist she would like included in her school textbook, the baby will be okay. It helps that she and a new student, Talia, hit it off, and Libby throws herself into contacting the textbook editor and even managing to travel to where he is attending a conference. The textbook falls through, although she does win a local prize, and Libby blames herself when her niece is born early. Will her attempts at making a deal with the universe be enough to keep her niece safe?
Strengths: It is great to see a depiction of a tween with Turner Syndrome, and I've seen this referred to as an #Ownvoices book, so the details are good. It's a fairly hopeful tale, with the only big crisis being the sister's difficulty pregnancy and financial difficulty (which these days is pretty tame!). It's nice to see Libby making friends and trying to help her sister.
Weaknesses: At the beginning of the book, I thought that Libby was in about third grade, and even after we see her in middle school, the way her magical thinking is portrayed makes her seem very young. Details like calling her medicine "Magic Beanstalk Juice" contribute to this feeling.
What I really think: Like Meena Meets Her Match, I love the idea of a student who faces different challenges than her classmates, but would prefer a book with a character who is a bit older.
Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. I find it frustrating when the character doesn't seem to be the age at which they are portrayed. I would think that would be an easy problem to fix. That aside, this sounds pretty good. Thanks for the review. I love the cover.