Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Book Review: Cybils Finalist, Every Soul a Star

Wendy Mass writes this book from three alternating points-of-view: those of Ally, Jack and Bree, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways brought on by the eclipse.

Of the three, Ally, the carefree girl who lives with her family in a remote campsite, is the most believable. Jack, the overweight, overshadowed younger brother who escapes reality by drawing aliens, has the most convincing transformation. Bree, the beauty who wants to be a model, is the most cliche-ridden of the main characters. Even the positive aspect of her personality, her tender-heartedness, seems to be there just to round off her character.

Throughout the book are references to stars and space and the universe that fans would love. The main event of the book, the eclipse is described so well that even an astronomy-ignoramus like me is able to imagine what it might be like to experience this event.

There are a number of questions I was hoping would be answered that weren't, such as why was Jack chosen by his science teacher? Why did he act as if he didn't want to be at the eclipse but then panicked when he almost missed it because he was so engrossed in his drawing? Why would two academics give up their positions to take over a campsite after the eclipse?

My favorite scene in this book is when these three young people are stuck in a shed with a couple of younger siblings and Hot Dude in the middle of a storm. Each of them would belong to a different subsection out in the real world, i.e. school: brainiacs, jocks, A-Clique cheerleaders, yet in this shed, they are interested in the ideas of one another and actually formed connections. The bringing together of the diverse group of kids and the showing that people crave the same things underneath their facades: these are the biggest strengths of the book.

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