Middle school students have reading interests that run the gamut from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Twilight. Sometimes as a parent it is hard to know what is age appropriate for your child. Through this blog, I will try to help parents make informed decisions about what is available in our library. I am hoping that this blog will be a resource for our parents, and that we can all work together to make our students life-long readers!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Connect the Stars

Connect the Stars
by Marisa de los Santos
From the publisher:
"From Saving Lucas Biggs authors Marisa de los Santos and David Teague comes another heartwarming middle grade adventure about two misfits who discover 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 has Marisa de los Santos and David Teague’s trademark beautiful prose, delicate humor, swooping emotions, and keen middle grade friendships. This novel takes on the 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!"

This was an enjoyable book about some misfit teenagers whose parents think that sending them to a wilderness camp will help them with all of their various problems.  The thing that stuck with me the most about this book is that these wilderness camps need to be vetted by parents a lot better than the parents in this book did.  Not that I'm against these kinds of camps, but only one adult out in a wilderness area outside of range of communication with a bunch of teenagers?   I don't think so.  However, that isn't the point of the book.  The point of the book is that these kids all had issues and were sent to the wilderness to try to work through them.  They all have life-changing experiences and all end up better and stronger because of those experiences.   I loved the friendships that formed.  The characters were very diverse and interesting.  There was action and suspense, and fun and laughter.  The core group of Audrey, Aaron, Kate and Louis was very strong and I liked them all.  I have a member of my family who is a combination of Louis and Aaron, so it was interesting to read about their difficulties and think of my close relative and his struggles.  It's always nice to feel a connection like that to a book.  I think middle schoolers will really like this one.  I know the students at my school who have read it really recommend it to their peers.

Areas of concern:
*All of the campers have different issues, so there are things talked about like a grandparent's death, parental abandonment, foster homes.....  Nothing too graphic for a middle schooler.
*There is some massive bullying going on - a lot of it coming from an adult directed towards kids.
*I don't remember any bad language, and there were no sexual situations.

Suggested Ages:
Booklist - Grades 4-7
Kirkus Reviews - Ages 8-12
*Mrs. Duke thinks those ages are a little on the young side because there are some serious issues discussed and dealt with.  I wouldn't suggest it for elementary age, but definitely for middle school.

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