Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
By Wendy Mass
Audio version by Recorded Books
7 CDs, 7.75 hours
Some people read Every Soul a Star because of the awesome cover. For me, it was the appealing title. Set against the backdrop of a total solar eclipse, Ally, Bree and Jack meet at the Moon Shadow campground. Ally’s parents own it, but Bree’s have signed a lease to become its caretakers for the next three years. Previously, Bree’s life had revolved around the hope of becoming a model, and so living in total isolation feels, at first, as though her world has come to a crashing end. Much the same is true, but in an opposite way, for Ally. A quirky kid who loves her isolation, she cannot imagine moving with her family to the city and adjusting to city life. Jack, an overweight kid with an artistic bent, goes to the Moon Shadow because his science teacher has made a deal with him. If Jack helps him out with a science project, he won’t have to do summer school due to a failing grade in science.
Readers who enjoy a fast paced plot will be disappointed with this one, but those whose interest lies in character and story should enjoy it. I love character-driven stories more than plot-driven ones, however because it is told in three viewpoints, alternating chapters, it was achingly slow to take off. The book is nearly half over before the three kids meet and their friendship and the environment can begin to effect their transformations. But each character is nicely distinguished, and even if I wasn’t listening to an audio version, I could’ve easily told the difference between Bree and Ally. The impending solar eclipse provides the miniscule plot movement, but when it comes, it is beautifully and powerfully described. Some readers will find Ms. Mass’s heavy inclusion of information about astronomy fascinating, whereas others might find it distracting. I thought it was nicely balanced, just about the perfect amount. Recommended for grades 4-8. Ms. Mass has also written A Mango-Shaped Space and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.
Wendy Mass also has a terrific website.