Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tracing Stars Review and Author Bio

I am super excited to be a part of the Tracing Stars Blog Tour.  Today, I'll share my review and the author bio.  Tomorrow, be sure to check back for an interview with the author and a giveaway.

TRACING STARS
by Erin E. Moulton
Philomel Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-399-25696-7
Grades 3-6
Reviewed from copy provided by author.
Opinions expressed about book are my own.

A charming novel about sisterhood, self-identity, and friendship from the author of Flutter

Indie Lee Chickory knows she's not as cool as her older sister Bebe. Bebe has more friends, for one. And no one tells Bebe she's a fish freak, for two. So when Indie accidentally brings her pet lobster to school, makes a scene, loses him in the ocean and embarrasses Bebe worse than usual, she makes a wish on a star to become a better Chickory. She tries to do this by joining the stage crew of the community's theater production, The Sound of Music. (Bebe has a starring role.) But Bebe is worried that Indie will embarrass her again, so she gives her a makeover and tells her who she should be friends with. That means Owen is out. But he's fun and smart, so Indie keeps her friendship with him a secret. At night, Indie and Owen rebuild a tree house into a ship in the sky to catch Indie's pet lobster. But during the day, Indie has to hide her friendship with Owen.

When things come to a head, Indie realizes that being true to yourself is more important than being cool. But what's even more surprising is that Bebe realizes it, too.

Review:

I loved this book. The characters, the setting, the plot, the whole thing.  Indie is a very endearing, but flawed character.  She desperately wants to be a better person, one who doesn't embarrass her sister or lose family pets (a lobster). I think most human beings have a desire to be better than we are. For Indie, after making a wish and 'tracing' her favorite constellation, she believes she is making progress. Before long however, she is hiding things from her family and pretending to be someone she isn't comfortable with. Both Indie and her sister Bebe are sympathetic characters, but at times I found myself torn.  Part of me understood completely where both girls were coming from (the kid side of me) and the adult part of me winced at some of the poor decisions that were made. Owen adds a sweet and sensitive note to the book and more than once I wanted to give him a great big hug.

Moulton does a fabulous job creating a believable setting. I could almost feel the fresh ocean breeze or taste the delicious candy or feel the sand beneath my tows. I found myself wishing that I could visit this place.

Plotwise, I enjoyed watching Indie slowly come to a sense of herself and what it truly means to be yourself.  Some of the plot elements I picked up on pretty early, I did not however find this annoying as they were presented in a fresh, interesting way.  The themes of friendship, loyalty, and family were beautifully presented and I did not feel in the slightest like they were old or worn out plot lines.  

Overall, I highly recommend this book as a great read and a great read-a-loud.  There is much here worth discussing. I liked this so much that I immediately picked up Flutter, Erin Moulton's debut middle grade novel. You'll be seeing a review of that in coming weeks. Make sure to stop by tomorrow for an interview with Erin and a great giveaway. Be sure to check out her website for more information and/or classroom resources.
 
AUTHOR BIO

My mother was struck by lightning when she was pregnant with me.  To make matters worse, I was then born on Halloween Night.  I was strange from the start.  As a child I was fairly quiet.  You could often find me playing with my imaginary friends (Marnie and Katyan Babyan)  or nestled up with a good book.  My older sister learned to read quickly and once she was reading, I wanted to know how to do it, too, so I followed her lead.
 
We grew up on a mountain in Vermont.  You will see that my childhood home plays a big part in my stories. Sisters also may play a large role. I have three sisters and they have always been a great source of inspiration to me and my writing.  Among them, a scholar, an athlete and a born nurturer.  My parents brought us up to follow our dreams regardless of where they may lead and each of my sisters seems to have harnessed that so well.  
 
I have always written stories. In 2nd grade, I worked on a "book" with my best friend, Kim.  We wrote upwards of 60 pages of a story entitled "The Two Orphans."  I did the writing and Kim designated herself the illustrator.  Writing never left me after that, though I did take a minor detour in high school and college.  The fact of the matter is that I simply didn't think I could make a living as a writer.  So I decided to pursue my second passion, lighting design for the theater....I know, why would I think that a career in the theater, of all places, would be more lucrative than a career as a writer??  In my senior year at Emerson, I realized that I needed to take a writing class.  I stepped into fiction 101 and woke up.  I soon applied to the Vermont College of Fine Arts  MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults Program.  I plunged into my MFA, all the while trying to support myself with my alternate arts degree.  They were colorful times, to say the least, but it didn't take long for  me to realize that writing was my heart. To fully follow my dream as a writer, I let my theater aspirations go and headed into the work force, so I could more fully concentrate on my writing.  


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this fantastic review, Heidi. I do hope you like FLUTTER!
    Erin

    ReplyDelete

 
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