The Star That Always Stays

Holiday House. Jul. 2022. 224p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780823450404.
Gr 5-8–Inspired by the author’s family, this historical fiction novel centers 14-year-old Norvia Nelson, a bookish teen in the early 20th century who dreams of being a heroine in her quiet life in Northern Michigan as she adapts to divorce, blending and changing families, and racism. Ojibwe and French Canadian on her mother’s side, Norvia is accustomed to the hateful words her father often had for her heritage. When her mother remarries in 1914, she asks her five children to hide this part of their identity from their stepfather. The story focuses primarily on the interpersonal relationships of Norvia and her newly expanded family, though crushes and changing friendships also play a significant role in this book. Bible verses are peppered throughout, and Christianity is a strong focus throughout the story. The author notes she was heavily influenced by Anne of Green Gables, Little Women, and Pollyanna, evident in the vocabulary and drowsy pace, befitting the era. A glossary of Anishinaabemowin and French terms and black-and-white family photographs are included in the back matter.
VERDICT Recommended for purchase only where there is high demand for historical fiction, and where classics circulate well.

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