Today I'm going to be telling you about THE SAME STUFF AS STARS, a book by Katherine Paterson.
Her daddy is in jail, and her mother has abandoned Angel and her little brother, Bernie, at their great-grandmother's crumbling Vermont farmhouse. Grandma spends most of her time wrapped in a blanket by the wood stove.
There is one bright spot in Angel's world a mysterious stranger who teaches Angel all about the stars and planets and constellations. Carving out a new life proves harder than Angel ever imagined. But she feels a tiny spark of hope when she remembers what the stranger said that she is made of the same stuff as stars.
The characters seem to have a special touch of magic woven into them to make each one a little more real than you would usually find. This adds to the magic woven within the pages. The world is realistic, and Katherine does a good job not glossing over facts. At one point in THE SAME STUFF AS STARS, Angel and Bernie go to a library. The books they check out are real books, something that adds that extra something to the books.
The book is written in simple language, making it an easy read for older readers.
The plot isn't very complex, but I find that it isn't the main driving force of this book. What makes THE STUFF AS STARS so brilliant is the journey. Angel Morgan has endured so many trials, and they have taken their toll. But the time she spends at her great-grandmother's house allows Angel to grow and have a different view of the world surrounding her.
Although Middle Grade, THE SAME STUFF AS STARS is better for older readers. As I mentioned, the language is simple, but there are references to drug use, abuse, and other things that may not be suitable for some young readers. It is a great book, but it needs a reader who is a little more mature. I would recommend this story to children nine and older, but keep in mind that every child is different. I would also recommend it to adults who are looking for a startling story about familial love and growth.
I think this book would be a great tool for opening the eyes of children to the sometimes harsh, unfair world that surrounds them. I could see a lot of potential for it to be used in a classroom.
I give it four out of five stars.