Every Soul a Star

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
January/February 2010

By Wendy Mass, Reviewed by Danica Lee

Every Soul a Star book cover

Every Soul a Star, by Wendy Mass; Little,
Brown Books for Young Readers: New
York, 2008; $15.99

“…the sun will get erased from the sky, the planets will come out to greet us, the birds will stop singing, and a glowing halo of light will flutter like angels’ wings above our heads. Except, of course, if it rains.”

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a book with a good plot, feeling and humor; this book has it all, and great characters. Three very different people tell this story of an eclipse, friendship, and the difficulty of change.

Ally has lived her whole life at Moonshadow campground. Her family has been living for one day for almost a decade. When the day comes, the moon’s shadow will cross in front of the sun, creating a solar eclipse that will last a few mere minutes. Hundreds of people, eclipse chasers and tourists alike, will come together to witness the natural phenomenon. But when A-clique and fashionable Bree is dragged along with her family to take over the campground, both girls resist. Ally wants nothing to do with the city, where smog and light pollution make only the brightest constellations visible, and Bree only wants to go back home to her pool, best friend, and life with the “popular girls” at her school. So together Ally and Bree try to get their parents to reconsider and stay where they were before the eclipse comes, and Ally has to leave and Bree has to stay.

Through it all, Jack is invited by his seventh-grade science teacher to see the eclipse with a tour bus full of people. He also has to help Mr. Silver with a project involving finding an exoplanet on a faraway star. Jack only came with to get out of going to summer school and would much rather spend time flying in his dreams than looking at stars. But Jack, Ally and Bree are going to like looking at our very own star, the sun, when the moon’s shadow crosses over it.

My aunt gave me this book when I was visiting her by myself for the first time. I was a little uneasy at the thought of being alone for five days, not to mention miles and miles away from home. This book was very nice to read late at night and early in the morning when everyone was sleeping or doing something else. I connected with the feeling of not knowing what I was supposed to do or what I wanted to do.

And being homeschooled I knew exactly how Ally felt when fashionable Bree came and ridiculed her for her unbrushed hair and baggy clothes. I live out in the country and I always had time to go outside and play in the woods or look at the stars instead of doing homework or talking on the phone. I didn’t know much about civilization till later in life, like Ally, and I still really don’t care if my shirt matches my shorts.

But now I also know how Bree feels, trying to fit in all the time with my friends or finding a new identity or what I am supposed to do in this world. And Jack is totally out of his element when he goes to Moonshadow, and I often feel out of it too. Also, I am kinda shy, and I know the feeling of not being able to find the right words to say something. I think anyone can relate to at least one character in this book, and it’s definitely worth reading. As Mr. Silver says, soon you’ll be ending every conversation wishing good star viewing. Wishing everyone clear skies!

Every Soul a Star Danica Lee

Danica Lee, 13
Sanford, North Carolina

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