Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is book about three kids (I’m sensing a trend in my reading here) whose lives change forever when they go to the Moon Shadow Camp Ground to witness a solar eclipse. Ally (12), Bree (13), and Jack (13) are vastly different and their lives intertwine in an interesting way.
Some people might think my parents are crazy for doing what they did–up and leaving their jobs to build a campground in the Middle of Nowhere, USA. But they had a plan. They knew that a decade later, hundreds, maybe thousands of people would travel to this exact spot to be a part of something that hasn’t happened in mainland America for over seventy-five years and won’t happen again for a hundred more. And this flock, this throng of people, would need a comfortable, safe place to stay, wouldn’t they?
What I Liked
– Great premise. A book about an eclipse is a pretty fantastic idea and a great way to get some scientific facts in without it being all heavy-handed and science-y. Let’s be honest. I totally want to go to a planetarium now and see Saturn. It’s unusual and different, and that automatically made me want to finish the whole book.
– Great characters. Ally is completely herself, having grown up in the middle of nowhere. There’s nothing affected about her; she doesn’t know nor care about being “cool.” She takes a bath in a hot spring! (Okay, I am maybe a little jealous of that.) Then there’s Bree who is a social climbing mean girl on the rise who is absolutely appalled by being out in dirt. Jack is a loner and outcast at school, who’d rather sit alone in his treehouse than be around people. Then there are Bree and Ally’s siblings, Kenny and Melanie, who are both little geniuses, and Ryan, the cute boy who comes to the campground every summer. And all of them are just weird enough (Ally has imaginary friends on planets, Jack flies in his dreams, Bree is completely shallow and proud of it, Kenny loves bugs, Melanie loves to cartwheel, Ryan is working out so he can join the football team.) Throw those kids together and there are some great interactions. Very nice.
– The setting. Did I mention the hot spring? Also, there are Unusuals on the campground like a labyrinth and gold panning, and I totally want to visit there now. Even if it is a made up place.
What I Didn’t Like
Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about the book is that the turnarounds of Bree and Ally weren’t quite fleshed out enough for me. Jack was great because we got to see the other characters notice the change in him, and his interactions with other people. With Bree, she all of a sudden has an inner geek, and I feel like I should know more about that. Yes, she’s obsessed with modeling in the beginning, but how/what is her inner geek? Is it science? Math? Just the fact that she’s interested in something other than herself? That just needed more. Same with Ally.
I think the book is long enough; I just felt like more could’ve been done with those two characters.
In conclusion: It’s alright. I breezed through the book pretty easily, and it was definitely interesting. The fun facts about the stars and galaxies and how to find them fit effortlessly in the narrative. I wouldn’t strongly recommend it, but I wouldn’t say stay away from it either.