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Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

by Robin Herrera

Published by Abrams, 2014
272 pages
ISBN: 978-1419710391

Ages 9-12

Ten-year-old Star is starting a new school in northern California after moving with her mom and teenage sister, Winter, from Oregon. Star starts a Trailer Park Club hoping to make friends, but only a girl named Genny willingly joins. Then Star discovers the poetry of Emily Dickinson and the club gets a new name and focus, and two more members: Eddie, intensely interested in poetry, and his best friend Langston, who prefers drawing bras. Then Winter, at odds with their mom over school, tells Star she wants to visit their long-estranged father back in Oregon. Star has a vague memory of him and imagines all the things she might tell him about herself if she had the chance. After she and Winter make the trip, Star returns home worried about her sister, who has revealed she is pregnant, and furious at their mom, who never told her that she and Winter have different fathers, or anything about her own dad. Robin Herreraís impressive debut novel has a smart, thoughtful, stubborn girl delving deep into her heart, and trying to understand the hearts and minds of those around her. Star is socially naÔve yet deeply perceptive, qualities revealed with both sensitivity and humor. The sentences Star writes for her spelling word assignments, and her ongoing refusal to turn them in, are among the wonderful ways Herrera reveals dimensions of Starís character and life. Starís family is living on the economic edge, a reality that is seamlessly woven into a story about the ways we hurt, and the ways we hope. (MS) ©2014 Cooperative Childrenís Book Center

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