Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass is a novel that caught me by surprise, because I didn’t expect to fall in love with the story. But within the first few pages I was hooked! Set at the Moon Shadow Campground during the summer of a total eclipse, Ally, Bree, and Jack find themselves in the same place, but under very different circumstances, to observe the historic event. Ally, whose grown up most of her life at the campground, is thrilled to be a part of such a astronomical phenomenom. However, an impending change getting ready to happen in her life has cast a shadow on the event for Ally. Bree would give anything to be back at home getting a manicure and facial. Instead, she is stuck at the Moon Shadow, searching for exoplanets, and trying to come to terms with the fact that life as she knows it is about to explode. Jack has “volunteered” to help his Science teacher host the eclipse tour in exchange for turning his failing Science grade into a passing one. Initially it’s the eclipse that brings the characters together, but in the end they discover they have a deeper connection.
The thing I appreciate about this book the most is its integration of science into the story. I am not “sciencey”. But this book made me want to research more about eclipses, exoplanets, aliens and SETI. I learned a lot about our solar system, and that piece of the story definitely kept me turning the pages. Beyond that, I really appreciated the friendships that formed between Ally, Bree, and Jack. Here are three kids that couldn’t be more different, and yet they discovered that once they looked past the surface, they had a lot in common. I think that’s an especially important lesson for students to learn.
This is the first book I’ve read by Wendy Mass, but I suspect if I read her other novels, I would see that she has a talent for writing with a distinct voice. Since Ally, Bree, and Jack each take turns being the narrator, it was important for Mass to write in three different voices that represent each character, and she accomplishes this brilliantly. After reading Every Soul a Star, I ordered another one of Mass’s books, Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life, and plan to start reading it as soon as it arrives!