Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

( 4 )

Overview


Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for...
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Hope Is a Ferris Wheel

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Overview


Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.
With an unforgettable voice with a lot of heart, Hope Is a Ferris Wheel is the story of a young girl who learns to accept her family and herself while trying to make sense of the world around her.

Praise for Hope is a Ferris Wheel
STARRED REVIEW
"Herrera’s first novel is quite accomplished, with plenty of heart and humor, especially apparent in the spelling assignments Star has to complete but refuses to turn in, as she uses them as a sort of journal. Star is a unique, determined, and loving child making the best of a bad situation; readers cannot help but root for her."
--School Library Journal, starred review

"Well-constructed, thought-provoking and appealing, this first effort bodes well for the author’s future."
--Kirkus Reviews

"In her debut, Herrera has created a delightful narrator with a memorable voice and surrounded her with a unique supporting cast. Got fans of Joan Bauer in your neck of the woods? Send them this way."
--Booklist

"A tender and truthful novel that addresses stereotypes without promising easy answers or cookie-cutter closure."
--Publishers Weekly

"First-time author Herrera, telling the story from Star’s point of view, gives readers a front-row seat to all the embarrassment and angst of Star’s jumbled life—and all of the triumphs. Here’s hoping we hear more from this author."
--The Horn Book Magazine

"Star’s contemplation, through poetic metaphors and real-life relationships, of what really matters in her life is compelling. Additionally, the poetry angle offers food for thought for those just coming to understand the power and purpose of metaphor, and Star’s vocabulary assignments, occasionally interspersed between chapters, provide inspiration and entertainment for word-lovers."
--Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

 

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  • Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
    Hope Is a Ferris Wheel  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
03/03/2014
Herrera's vivid debut introduces a contemplative girl who finds an unlikely community at her new school. Ostracized for living in a trailer park (and, according to her classmates, having a mullet), Star decides to launch a school club, hoping to make friends. Her second attempt—a club about Emily Dickinson—actually attracts a handful of members, including an offbeat girl and two boys who are always in detention. As Star faces painful realities about her own family and continued prejudice at school, even from her teacher, her fellow club members come to her rescue in surprising and frequently heartening ways. Star's motivations for reaching out to her classmates are pure and affecting (she initially forms a trailer park club to "teach our members all the good things in trailer parks so that they'd stop thinking trailer parks were full of trash"). Despite Star's demoralizing circumstances, she maintains optimism, exploring her emotions through confessional vocabulary-word sentences, and without resorting to empty affirmations. A tender and truthful novel that addresses stereotypes without promising easy answers or cookie-cutter closure. Ages 8–12. Agent: Sara Crowe, Harvey Klinger. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Ten-year-old Star Mackie’s classmates at her new school in California call her “Star Trashy” because she’s the only kid in her class who lives in a trailer park. “Isn’t that next to the dump?” one girl asks. “My mom says only drug addicts live there,” says another. Star’s attempt to forge new friendships by creating a Trailer Park Club is a predictable failure, with only one overly intense younger girl and her glaring, overprotective brother willing to join. Star has other problems as well, including her older sister’s frightening moodiness, her mother’s constant irritation, and a sense of yearning for the father she has never met. But when Star discovers the poetry of Emily Dickinson through the poem “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul,” she finds herself looking for other ways to express—and find—hope in her life. Star is a wonderfully sympathetic character whose spunky resistance to self-pity in the face of poverty, fatherlessness, and (initial) friendlessness makes her a heroine worth cheering for. Debut author Robin Herrera crams more humor and pathos into Star’s fabulously funny and heart-wrenching vocabulary-word-sentences (which Star writes faithfully each week but fails to turn in) than many veteran authors pack into entire books, showing herself to be a sparkling new voice in middle-grade fiction. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.; Ages 9 to 12.
School Library Journal
★ 04/01/2014
Gr 4–6—Quirky Star Mackie, who lives in a trailer park and has blue hair, desperately wants to make some friends in her new town. She decides that starting a poetry club is the perfect vehicle. Unfortunately, there aren't many other 10-year-olds as enamored with Emily Dickinson as she is. The only other kids who will join her club are a couple of boys in detention and a brother/sister team. Star has many dreams—she longs to meet her father, hopes her beloved big sister, who is coping with an unexpected pregnancy, will be happy again, and wishes most of all for a true friend. Herrera's first novel is quite accomplished, with plenty of heart and humor, especially apparent in the spelling assignments Star has to complete but refuses to turn in, as she uses them as a sort of journal. Star is a unique, determined, and loving child making the best of a bad situation; readers cannot help but root for her.—B. Allison Gray, Goleta Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-05
Debut author Herrera deftly combines family drama with a school and friendship story. Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives with her older sister and their mother in a trailer park in Northern California. Her first-person narrative takes place during the fall of her fifth-grade year. New to the area, Star struggles to make friends at school, worries about her increasingly moody sister and wonders about the father she's never known. The author handles the Mackie family's financial and domestic situation with delicacy and respect, allowing readers to gradually get to know the difficulties her characters face. At home and at school, there's plenty packed into a few short weeks, from a trip to ferret out family secrets to repeated detentions and a food fight. Some readers may find the overall story arc predictable, and unfortunately, charismatic secondary characters occasionally outshine Star. Homework assignments inserted throughout provide additional background information and some mild humor, though Star's observations can seem naïve. By contrast, the poems and ideas shared by Star and the members of her Emily Dickinson Club are intriguing and inspiring if not especially childlike in tone. Well-constructed, thought-provoking and appealing, this first effort bodes well for the author's future despite some minor missteps. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419710391
  • Publisher: Amulet Books
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 163,068
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Robin Herrera

Robin Herrera received her MFA in writing for children at Vermont College. This is her first book. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 15, 2014

    Weeks have passed since I finished reading an advance copy of HO

    Weeks have passed since I finished reading an advance copy of HOPE IS A FERRIS WHEEL, and I just can't get it out of my head. Star, with her love of Emily Dickinson and yearning to make a true friend, is the heart and soul of the novel, but terrific supporting characters (particularly Star's punk older sister Winter) also help the story feel incredibly real. 




    I need to give a shout-out to the story's structure and the overall quality of the writing, too. There's a scene around page 150 that just completely broke my heart; I didn't see it coming, but in retrospect, the author set it up perfectly. And I love how the book ends--with just enough ambiguity that different readers will surely imagine different conclusions for the characters. It would make for a great conversation within a classroom.




    I'm holding this story close, and enthusiastically looking forward to Ms. Herrera's next book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 7, 2014

    The lead character in the book is Star Mackie, a ten year old, i

    The lead character in the book is Star Mackie, a ten year old, in fifth grade that lives with her mom and  fifteen year old sister, Winter, in a trailer park in Northern California.  She starts a new school and wants desperately to fit in and find friends that she can hang out with.  Unfortunately the kids are less than friendly to her after they find out she lives in a trailer park and mocks her blue mullet haircut (which Star considers layered). They look down on her because according to their standards she lives on the wrong side of the tracks.  She struggles a lot at home too with a mom that has disengaged herself from her girls because of her own problems.   Their lack of finances is always stressful and is a constant family worry. 




    In order to fit in and perhaps win over some friends, Star decides to start a club at school.  She calls it the "Trailer Park Club" which you can predict does not fly so well with her classmates.  Seeing it going nowhere she dissolves it and morphs it into a poetry club, featuring the great poet, Emily Dickinson.  Through this club she learns a lot about poetry, other members who have joined and even about herself.  This is a wonderfully interesting middle grade novel and Star is a perfect narrator for that age group.  




    Star's older sister Winter, (whom she idolizes) is Star's second mom and together they plot and scheme to try to solve life's problems.  Although Winter has her own difficulties, like having to attend an alternative school and finding herself pregnant, mirroring her mom's behaviour many years before, she is resourceful and never gives up trying to journey on.  She takes on the role of being a good big sister - lending a helping hand when she is able and being an encouragement and inspiration to little sister, Star.  




    This book is well written, thoughtful, thought- provoking and will keep you thinking about it  and its characters long after the last page has been read and the cover closed.  It is a book of hope, as Star tries to find out where she fits into this world and finding out along the way that life isn't always fair or easy but really what you make of it.   I highly recommend this book and I will look forward to reading the next one created by Robin.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2014

    Awesome

    I read this book and when I was finished, I had this satsfied feeling like, I just read a great book. It is very emitional and powerful, I love this book and I feel it. Read it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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