Stars in Their Eyes

Stars in Their Eyes cover
Stars in Their Eyes by Jessica Walton. Illustrated by Aśka

by Jessica Walton
Illustrated by Aśka
Scholastic Grahpix, 2023
209 pages

Age 11 and older

Maisie and her mom are attending Maisie’s first fancon, where 14-year-old Maisie (brown-skinned) is looking forward to meeting her favorite actor on her favorite show, Midnight Girls. Like Maisie,  Kara Bufano is an above-the-knee amputee with a prosthetic leg. It’s meant a lot to Maisie, whose leg was amputated due to childhood cancer, to have a TV character who is an amputee, played by an amputee. On the first day of the con, Maisie meets nonbinary Ollie (white), who is attending with their dad. Ollie’s favorite show is Twisted Beasts, and they are excited about meeting the nonbinary actor playing the first openly nonbinary character on TV. The con is sometimes overwhelming for Maisie, who lives with fatigue and chronic pain. Luckily, Maisie’s mom, like Ollie’s dad, knows the ins and outs of con-culture (both parents are charmingly enthusiastic in their geekiness) and Maisie makes use of the quiet rooms when she needs to. When Maisie and her mom and Ollie and their dad end up at the same panel discussion, Maisie and Ollie begin to forge a connection, one that blossoms into romance. The terrific dynamic between Maisie and her mom underscores both their lively, loving relationship and the matter-of-fact reality of Maisie’s disability, while Maisie and Ollie’s exchanges captures the excitement of new romance. The fancon setting is perfect for the characters’ enthusiastic, organic conversations about the importance of media representation in this welcome, entertaining graphic novel.  ©2023 Cooperative Children’s Book Center