Rules for Stealing Stars

Rules for Stealing Stars 51lZ0dDU84L__SX333_BO1,204,203,200_,jpgRules for Stealing Stars

Corey Ann Haydu, Author

Katherine Tegen Books, Fiction, Sep. 29, 2015

Pages: 336

Suitable for Ages: 9-12

Themes: Sisters, Magic, Mother and daughters, Family problems, Family secrets, Mental Illness, Hope

Book Jacket Synopsis: Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she’s too little for most things — especially when it comes to dealing with their mother’s unpredictable moods and outbursts. But for Silly, that’s normal. She hardly remembers a time when Mom wasn’t drinking.

This summer, Silly is more alone than ever, and it feels like everyone around her is keeping secrets. Mom is sick all the time. Dad acts like everything is fine when clearly it is isn’t. Silly’s sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot and giggling about jokes that Silly doesn’t understand.

When Silly is brought into her sisters’ world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she’s soon forced to wonder if it might tear them apart.

What I like about this book:

  • A bold and skillfully written novel that touches on magic and realism. Teens will find this a thrilling read. The magic is exciting, but also borders on a dark side, with a little paranormal thrown in the mix.
  • The sisters live in a dysfunctional family, which is the very heart of the story. There is tension in the family and themes of  mental instability, abuse, and loss. Their journey is sad as family secrets unravel and they have to depend upon one another in order to cope with their mother’s illness.
  • The sisters’ characters are richly developed and believable. Eleanor and Astrid are 14-year-old twins who share a bond that make 13-year-old Marla and 11-year-old Silly, feel like they live in another universe. Eleanor is smart, bold, bossy and the protector. Astrid is creative and spacey. Marla is sensitive, sad and whiney. Silly (Priscilla) is the baby that everyone protects. She narrates the story in first person and turns out to be the strongest and wisest of the sisters.
  • The magic Eleanor and Astrid discover in the bedroom closets offer the sisters a way to escape into a fantasy world that is free of pain. The magic is different for each sister. It can be calming, exhilarating, or scary. It can hold memories. But it also offers the sisters a way to bring healing to a broken family. The ending is satisfying and hopeful. This story lends itself to important discussions among readers.

Corey Ann Haydu is the author of YA novels, OCD Love Story, Life by Committee, Making Pretty, the middle grade novel Rules for Stealing Stars, and the upcoming novel Falling Girls and Missing Boys.

Check other Middle Grade review links on author Shannon Messenger’s Marvelous Middle Grade Monday post.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

32 thoughts on “Rules for Stealing Stars

  1. I have this one on my books to read list for this year, but only had a sketchy understanding of what it was about. Thanks for filling in the gaps for me. The story has the feel of another book I’ll be reviewing next week, THE REMARKABLE JOURNEY OF CHARLIE PRICE. I can’t wait to compare it with this one.

    • It was an unusual pick for me, but I soon became engrossed with the story as I didn’t have clue how it would play out! I liked it had a heavy dose of realism with very complex family dynamics and a tad of magic. Will be interested in the your review of “The Remarkable Journey of Charley Price.” If you read “Rules for Stealing Stars” I’ll be interested in your thoughts.

  2. This book sounds intriguing. It is written for the same age group I write for so I may check it out. I like the mix of magic and realism. Thanks for the great review Pat.

  3. I am intrigued by what happens in the magical place and its consequences. The alcoholism and dysfunction will resonate with many young readers. I will keep an eye out for this book. Thanks for the review.

  4. What a relief that Silly gets her name from Priscilla. Otherwise that was just a mean nickname. Sounds like a fun ride. I’m glad there’s hope at the end – from what sounds like a pretty hopeless situation…

  5. This is a wonderful book – I just read it and fell in love with the idea of stars. Also the magic.

  6. Magical realism is so hot in publishing these days! I think it’s a great way to deal with painful and hard topics. This book sounds like it’s perfect for that, as well as a good read!

    • I’ve just begun to read more magical realism and it is a way to deal with difficult topics, like mental illness, alcoholism, and dysfunctional families. And there is an element of entertainment and escape.

  7. I’m intrigued by the magic in the closet–it almost sounds like it would have Narnia overtones, but with a much more gritty and realistic feel. Thanks for the recommend–it’s going on my list!

  8. I would hesitate to read a story with an alcoholic mother in it, but I love stories of sisters, and the magic in the closet sounds intriguing. I like the title, but it does have a bit of the “this book should be nominated for a Newbery” feel to it!

    • The mother does have a problem with alcohol, but it really has more to do with mental illness. The sisters make some astonishing discoveries in the closets that help heal the family.

  9. I’m intrigued! Also, wanted to say thanks for the rec of Peddles! Such a sweet story with pictures that make me smile. I’ve been reading a lot of picture books lately and this is a stand out read for me. Hope you’re having a great week!

    • I enjoyed this read, although it took me a while to get into the story. But, I liked the magical realism. There was so much dysfunction, the girls had to find a way to escape. Loved how it ended.

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