What Stars Are Made Of, by Sarah Allen, is my featured book for today’s A to Z Challenge. Not long to go now!

The plan for the month is to feature daily a book I’ve reviewed in the past (or review it that day), and also highlight others: not all are included each day.

  • review/featured
  • spacetime challenge (I host this reading challenge – you can join here)
  • middle grade (childrens) choice
  • series (love a good series – there’s a challenge for finishing those, too)
  • ‘notable’ reads
  • ‘outstanding’ books
  • my books!

Featured Book: What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen

what stars are made of

This is a feel good book. At least that’s the way I remember it. Rereading my review of What Stars Are Made Of gave me a chance to refresh my memory. I have a clear view of the cover, even if I had mentally put the girl on the right hand side of the page. And I remember that she had a project that she was completely committed to: to tell the life of the woman scientist (Cecelia Payne) who discovered what stars are indeed made of, but without the credit for her discovery. And Libby, the protagonist, is more like me than any of the ‘normal’ girls she’s at school with. Sometimes I wonder about today’s education systems.

This is not a good review. I’m rabbiting about the world and STEM and women in science.

What Sarah Allen’s book is about is a young brave, intelligent girl who wants to change the world. And it’s absolutely marvellous. Probably my book of the year.

from my review Mar 2020

Spacetime Reads / series

Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is, of course, the start of the Time Quintet, which I listed for T. Wrinkle is famous, and yet before I started reading MG books, I’d not heard of it. Such is the problem of classic children’s books published in the 1970s for me. It may feature a young girl and her family, in a timebending other world, but it’s eminently suitable for adults.

And the main series I picked for W is the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers, several of which have been featured this month for their own initial letter. I find it difficult to tell you just how much I enjoyed this series, or how much of a breath of fresh air Becky Chambers is to contemporary science fiction. But if you’ve visited before, you already know that. Read any of Becky Chambers books and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed. Unless your sole interest is military scifi.

Middle Grade Choice

What Stars Are Made Of and Wrinkle in Time both fit in the middle grade genre, which just goes to show how broad it is. But I’m still giving room to two more:

The Wide Awake Loons is a haunting story of summers in the lakes area of northern USA. Not ghostly, although the loons (Great Northern Divers for Eurasian birders) do make ethereal or diabolical noises! This was a great tale, of risk and reward, and the need to keep wild places wild.

The Weather Weaver was on my ‘maybe’ list to include, but since I had it as an ARC, and recently got the third in the series as an ARC without knowing of the second, I bought the second and will be reviewing both later this year. The Weather Weaver is an excellent tale of Scottish islands and powerful magic. I’ve seen others on a similar vein, but I really enjoyed this one.

Outstanding Books

What You Can See From Here is simply a story of small town life in Germany or somewhere like that. The characters are wonderful, the writing is amazing, and it makes you feel so grateful for the experience of having read it. All life is there. And hope. And customers of the Tuscan Bookshop kept buying it, too.

The Wind in the Willows is simply the best book ever written, with the possible exception of Lord of the Rings. I know I reread it around ten years ago, and I also have two copies, both family ones. I think I’m probably ready for a reread. And E H Shepherd is probably why I like trying to illustrate my own books.

Blowing my Own Trumpet

Willoughby the Narrator is book 7 in the Princelings of the East series. Despite that, I occasionally recommend it as a starting point for adults who don’t want to read a children’s book. It starts at the end of book 1, and Willoughby finds himself abandoned in a place he shouldn’t be. He just has to make his way on his own, so eventually he becomes an itinerant storyteller. This leads him into all sorts of other sidelines…

How someone can have a bit part in book 5 and end up as a mainstay of the series is beyond me, but then, that’s Willoughby for you. Includes short tales suitable for reading to younger children.

Weird and Weirder is not suitable for children. This is a collection of my flash fiction–about 30 stories, around 1000 words on average (some are twice that). Things change, sometimes into something horrible. Magical beings, libraries that come alive at night, and distorted views of reality… weird fiction in fact.

That’s all for today, so come back tomorrow for more. I’m hoping to meet more people who like the same kinds of book, so feel free to recommend something you’ve read beginning with the letter of the day!

What Stars Are Made Of | #A2ZChallenge23

4 thoughts on “What Stars Are Made Of | #A2ZChallenge23

  • 27 April, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    When I lived in northern Michigan there were loons on our lake. Their call is haunting. Over the years there were more and more jet skis and fast boats on the lake and fewer loons. Very sad.

  • 27 April, 2023 at 8:12 pm

    Ah, Wind in the Willows! How I love that book! Both grandkids already have copies.

  • 28 April, 2023 at 1:52 am

    I totally agree about Wayfarers and Wind in the Willows. And I’m pretty fond of Willoughby, not to mention all your short fiction collections! Adding your featured book to my TBR…

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