Saturday, February 06, 2016

Middle Grade Magical Realism Novel Fat With Wisdom

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For Priscilla, Marla, Eleanor and Astrid, dealing with their mother's alcoholism and violent mood swings is just a way of life.  They're used to it.  But when the girls move with their parents into their mother's childhood home in New Hampshire, things grow even more difficult.  The worst thing of all is that Priscilla's older sisters are hiding something from her.  At eleven, they think she's too young to know what's going on around her.  Which is ridiculous.  "Silly" is just her nickname—Priscilla knows her mother is sick, knows her sisters are up to something, and knows she wants to be part of it.

When Silly is finally let in on the big secret, she's dumbfounded.  The closets in the girls' new home are doorways that lead to fantastical worlds, beckoning them far away from the harsh realities of their real lives.  Best of all, Silly is able to manipulate the closet magic in ways her sisters can't.  Finally, she's getting the kind of attention she's always wanted from her older siblings.  Silly could stay in her own magical world forever!  When she discovers a scary truth about the closets, however, she begins to fear for herself and her family.  Will the mind-boggling wizardry that's bringing the sisters together be the very thing that tears them apart?  Can Silly save them all before it's too late?

Rules for Stealing Stars by Corey Ann Haydu is a tender story about a family that's falling apart at the seams.  It's impossible not to sympathize with the girls at its center as they struggle to deal with their unpredictable mother.  While the reader will cheer when the sisters find a happy escape from their unhappy lives, she will also realize the importance of their reemergence.  After all, despite its actual thickness, this is a novel fat with wisdom.  As sad as it is, Rules for Stealing Stars teaches some great lessons about facing problems, finding good in even the most difficult circumstances, and working together to create solutions that work, even if they're not perfect.  Although it's a little depressing, this is a poignant gem that will touch readers old and young.  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me a little of Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for scary scenes and serious subjects (alcoholism, death, parental neglect/abuse, etc.)

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

2 comments:

  1. This one sounds good too! Would you quit tempting me with all these books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. C'mon, these are middle grade books. You could read all of them in a day! Too bad this is adult month for you ...

      Delete

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