Every Soul a StarTitle: Every Soul a Star
Author: Wendy Mass
ISBN: 9780316002561
Pages: 322 pages
Publisher/Date: Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers, c2008.

My jaw falls open. I couldn’t be more surprised if she told me NASA called to say the eclipse has been cancelled. My knees buckle. My mother tightens her grip on my hands. “WHAT? What are you talking about?”
“Oh, wow,” the girl leaning against the wall says. “And I though MY parents snuck this on us! But at least we had some warning.” (107)

Three teenagers from completely different backgrounds end up meeting at a camp event centered around a complete solar eclipse. Ally and her younger brother Kenny live at the camp with their parents and are homeschooled about the stars but not about what makes a kid popular in the real world. Popular, soon-to-be model Bree and her younger sister Melanie’s physicist parents are buying the camp and taking over immediately after the eclipse, which Bree is not happy about at all. And then there’s Jack — sci fi fanatic, artistic, and loner — who is dragged along by his science teacher as an alternative to attending summer school for failing science. Joined by Ally’s long time friend Ryan, the stars collide when these kids gather to watch the eclipse in Wendy Mass’s newest novel, titled Every Soul a Star.

This was a sweet novel of kids from different worlds coming together and sharing their experiences. It’s an early exploration into the stars and the opposite sex, as first romances blossom under the stars. Ally is exposed to the idea of being popular and what guys consider beautiful, which is I think is a good introduction for kids going into middle school who might have to deal with this for the first time. But it also has an important message that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as the kids pair up (maybe a little too neatly for some). The character’s all grow in their own way, and a lot of issues are brought to light and addressed, including divorce, moving, multiple marriages, changing friendships and priorities, and growing up. The author’s notes in the back are well done, and a great source for kids who want to learn more.

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