Kepler's Dream

( 4 )

Overview

A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book

When eleven-year-old Ella's mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at "Broken Family Camp" with her eccentric grandmother, whom she's never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books ...

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Kepler's Dream

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Overview

A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book

When eleven-year-old Ella's mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at "Broken Family Camp" with her eccentric grandmother, whom she's never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, but her grandmother seems to care more about her library full of books than she does about her very own granddaughter.

But when a rare and beloved book, Kepler's Dream of the Moon, is stolen from her grandmother's amazing library, Ella and her new friend Rosie make up their minds to find it. Finding the beautiful book her grandmother loves so much could even be the key to healing Ella's broken family.

An affecting and beautifully written story of family, forgiveness and the wonder of the stars, Kepler's Dream is a sparkling and memorable debut.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Writing as Bell, adult novelist Sylvia Brownrigg pens her first children's book, an affecting story about the complexities of family relationships and the value of imagination. Eleven-year-old Ella is spending her summer at what she calls "Broken Family Camp" in Albuquerque with her quirky estranged grandmother, Violet Von Stern (who Ella nicknamesGM, for "General Major"), while her mother undergoes treatment for leukemia. GM's peacock-populated property and sprawling adobe house offer an array of curiosities, but Ella feels trapped in a rigid household where even breakfast means undergoing a grammar drill. When an antiquarian book dealer and his team arrive to digitize GM's prestigious library, her prized astronomy book goes missing. Ella and her new friend Rosie form an amateur detective agency and trace the family's rocky history to recover Kepler's Dream and possibly repair damaged relationships. Ella's touching and dry-witted letters to her mother detail her adventures and lessons learned, lending the story emotional complexity without sentimentality. Despite her circumstances, Ella translates the world with a candid, sassy voice and a surprising amount of wisdom. Ages 10–up. Agent: Geri Thoma, Markson Thoma. (May)
From the Publisher
“Utterly captivating, idiosyncratic, rich and memorable . . . not only an entertaining book but an absorbing and artful one.”—New York Times Book Review

“An impressive debut.”—Booklist, starred review

“Smart and thoughtful, the story sparkles.” —School Library Journal

"Every detail is relevant in this tightly plotted debut peopled with an unforgettable cast of characters. More family drama than mystery, the story is told in Ella’s voice—compassionate, clever, preadolescent-snarky—allowing Bell to treat weighty issues with a light touch. "—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

School Library Journal
Gr 5–8—Ella's divorced mother has leukemia and her father is busy guiding trips for his fly-fishing-trip business so the 11-year-old is sent to stay with her grandmother. Neither of her parents gets along well with her father's mother, and Ella hasn't ever met her. She joins eccentric Violet Von Stern at her adobe home and names it The House of Mud. Under the brilliant Albuquerque's night sky, she wishes on stars for her mom's recovery. Her grandmother sternly corrects and lectures her, but Ella's stay is full of interesting surprises. One of grandma's books, Kepler's Dream, has been stolen from her extensive library, and it's worth thousands of dollars. Ella puts her detective skills to work to find the missing book while discovering the importance of family. Bell has created a fascinating cast of eclectic characters who are sure to capture and retain readers' attention. Smart and thoughtful, the story sparkles like Kepler's favorite stars in Bell's debut offering for children—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
Kirkus Reviews
With her mother off on a lunar mission--a last-ditch treatment for leukemia--Ella is left circling like astronaut Michael Collins awaiting the hoped-for reunion. She and her mom have always admired Collins' bravery, and it turns out the analogy has personal resonance. When no one else is able to take Ella, she is sent to stay with GM (Grandmother/General Major), a woman Ella has never met. Or has she? The family history is as difficult to navigate as GM's peacock-ridden, jam-packed hacienda. At "Broken Family Camp," Ella discovers that her grandfather was an astronomer who had been inspired by Kepler's work and met Collins. Grandfather's accidental death many years earlier is still keenly felt by GM, so when their valuable copy of Kepler's Dream is stolen, Ella resolves to find the thief. Every detail is relevant in this tightly plotted debut peopled with an unforgettable cast of characters. More family drama than mystery, the story is told in Ella's voice--compassionate, clever, preadolescent-snarky--allowing Bell to treat weighty issues with a light touch. Ella learns how blame can tear a family apart and how forgiveness and the things of which dreams are made can heal. The credibly realistic resolution leaves Ella firmly grounded with deepened family ties, a new friend and some hard-won horseback-riding skills. Utterly satisfying. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399256455
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 5/10/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,475,187
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Lexile: 820L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author

Juliet Bell lives in Berkeley, California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 6, 2012

    One of the best MG this year

    I've read several middle-grade novels this year, and KEPLER'S DREAM is in the top 5. The characters are interesting, and their conflicts ring true. Though not as well-written as WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead, 2010 Newbery winner, this book reminded me a bit of that one as I was reading. I recommend this, especially as a solid summer read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2012

    Eee

    Xxfcffccccccc

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted August 16, 2014

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    Posted November 1, 2012

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