Welcome back to the Friday edition of Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're shining the spotlight on a title that celebrated its BOOK BIRTHDAY this week and became a surprise add in to my reading rotation. It comes to us via HarperCollins Publishers and stars a work of Children's Fiction that should be on your must read radar. Think I'm being presumptuous? Think again. Be sure to follow the PWHSS guidelines (a little survival tip divulged in the books) because today's book of choice is....
About the book...
From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes a heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits discovering the importance of just being themselves.
When thirteen-year-olds Aaron and Audrey meet at a wilderness camp in the desert, they think their quirks are enough to prevent them from ever having friends. But as they trek through the challenging and unforgiving landscape, they learn that they each have what it takes to make the other whole.
Luminous and clever, Connect the Stars takes on some hefty topics of the day—bullying, understanding where you fit in, and learning to live with physical and mental challenges—all in a joyous adventure kids will love!
Recently, I've been pretty much addicted to artist Lindsey Stirling...so much so that I've been listening to her two albums anywhere, anytime. Yep. That's me. Rollin' down the street at 11 PM, windows rolled down to enjoy the night air, and Shatter Me at semi-loud volumes. What can I say? I'm a rebel. ^-^ Anywho, back to my point here...I didn't mention my addiction of sorts to just be pointed or stared at albeit virtually. No, sir. I mentioned it because a particular song on her sophomore album really stuck with me when reading this book. It's called We Are Giants, and is one of the few on the album that has words accompanying the wonderful arrangements. The part I'm thinking of is this...
Feels like you, just standing there so small,
Just the space between the stars;
Don't be afraid to risk it all,
Cuz we are, we are, we are GIANTS....
It really reminded me of the Fab Four, consisting of Lucas, Kate, Aaron, and Audrey. They start out as strangers with their own unique sets of issues and eventually despite everything be it wish or whim, they become friends. Don't say that too loudly now because you just might scare off Audrey, with good reason.
An eclectic bunch for certain and all with special abilities (we're not talking superhuman but differentiating enough), you can't fathom them ever coming together, unless it was purely because they were forced to. Umm, okay, well I suppose at first they were but then they grew on each other and to understand each other which ultimately enabled them to understand themselves better too. They weren't the only ones though. The rest of the group has some pretty eye opening encounters as well, even those nominated in the never-gonna-get-a-clue-or-shred-of-niceness category. What we eventually see is that deep deep deep deep down, everyone has a brighter side; sometimes they just get buried under all the crap that life throws out way.
It's a simple story without a huge driving plot line, but it works. The characters are likable and their quirky natures make them even more so. I really applaud Louis with his sudden burst of heroism, Kate with her ability to make the bullies stand down, Aaron with his knack for saying the right thing and also not saying anything at all, and of course Audrey for her new understanding of her curse turned gift. The lessons they learn are not easy, some are especially un-pretty, but they are all realizations that needed acknowledgment and stepping stones to grow from. To pick a favorite would be like trying to choose your favorite fur-baby...not going to happen because they all leave their mark in unexpected ways.
In conclusion, a grand adventure that you don't see everyday with characters that you'd want to call friend. The only negative aspect of the book for me was when the plot got a little muddied with a possible murder. It was a major case of "how in the world did you jump to THAT conclusion", especially since these were pretty smart kids. Grant it the target audience is younger than myself, but even still, it seemed like the least logical option. Rest easy though, the oddness doesn't stick around and before you know it, we're back on track. Some of my suspicions were confirmed, while others were stretched into new areas, a great balance if you ask me. All in all though, it worked out to be a fantastic read that'll be equally appreciated by male and female readers of the Middle Grade set and beyond. BRAVA to the author team!
Special thanks Gina at HarperCollins Publishers for sending the review copy my way. (THANKS!) For more information on this title, the author, or the publisher, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title is available now via Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time....happy reading!