16-year-old Mary-Louise comes home from swimming lessons one day to find she is absent from family photographs, her bedroom has turned into a linen closet, and all of her possessions have disappeared. More troubling, her family goes on as if she never existed. The only person in town who can actually see her is a boy she calls Fish, a YMCA swimming instructor, but Fish is hiding from a troubled past and the person he sees is entirely different from who she thought she was.
The girl he sees is entirely different from the insecure, unattractive girl Mary-Louise thinks of herself. The teens discover the photo of a spirited, beautiful young woman photographed many years before—Pearl—who exactly resembles the girl Fish sees. The truth about Pearl’s identity is the key to discovering why Mary-Louise has disappeared and why Fish left home, but his fears of being discovered are preventing him from helping Mary-Louise, after all, no one can see or hear her.
This coming-of-age story explores the important and often fragile connection between the roles we play in others’ lives—as siblings, children, friends, and partners—and the unique identity we must find in ourselves.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.35(d)|
|Age Range:||13 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Susan Koefod is an award-winning novelist. Her Arvo Thorson mystery series was praised by Library Journal as "a smashing debut with astute observations and gorgeous prose." She has also widely published prose and poetry, including placing short stories in national magazines and anthologies. NAMING THE STARS (Curiosity Quills Press, September 2016) is her young adult debut.
She is a recent recipient of a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers, administered by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Five $25,000 awards are presented annually to accomplished Minnesota writers and spoken word artists. She holds an M.F.A. in writing from Hamline University, and lives with her family in West St. Paul, Minnesota.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was contacted by the author of this book back in May to review this title. I didn't get to it until December unfortunately. The story definitely has an interesting plot line. I am unsure what genre to call it exactly, because it kind of seemed like some magic, but it wasn't anything actually magic. The main character is a girl named Mary-Louise. When we start the story she's coming home from swim practice where she has finally passed the basic test in order to move on to the next level. But when she gets home, it's like no one can see her or hear her. Not only that, it's as if she's never existed. She rides off on her bike, still with no one seeming to notice or see her, except for one boy. The boy is someone who teaches swimming lessons, but he will only tell her his name is Fish. Together the two of them try to figure out what is going on, how come her family no longer seems to see or remember her, and if anyone else besides Fish is able to see her. Fish is living above an old antique/flea market/junk store. He says he is just watching the building while the owners are out of town. While they are there he tries to take a picture of her, and it is with a REALLY old fashioned camera. But she doesn't show up in the picture. She finds some other belongings down in the store, and one of the pictures of a girl from a long time ago turns out to be what Fish actually sees when he looks at her, not what she remembers looking like before she became invisible. All of this ties together, the people from the past that they find more of their belongings down in the store. Fish has something in his past that also seems to tie to Mary-Louise. When all of a sudden there seems to be someone out there who remembers her and can see her again, things really start to click into place. Beginning with a "Have You Seen This Girl" photo on a milk carton that shows Mary-Louise's picture. I like the idea behind the story, it definitely had some great ways to connect all the little pieces in the end. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy it very much. It was slow, and I had trouble picking it up as well as keeping my attention in the book as I was reading. It was a short read, so I soldiered through, and like I said, the ending was good, everything wrapped up pretty neatly and uniquely.
3.5 stars "Naming the stars" is an odd, fast-paced book with elements of magical realism. Mary-Louise has always defined herself by her name and her appearance, taking care to use her name as her label of existence. One day, she returns home from swimming to learn that she has never existed and has been wiped from her things to her family's memories and even to her visibility. Neither her parents, her brother, nor the police can see her. She finds a boy whom she calls Fish (because he teaches the "fish" level swim classes) who is the only one who can see her. However, he sees her as someone different. Together, they ponder who she is and how one could possibly define their identity. The book raises some interesting question about how we are who we are. Is it our names that define us? Our appearance? Our hopes and dreams? Mary Louise is forced to confront these issues, while the reader is also left to wonder. The story is relatively short and quick to read, but raises questions which take much more time to answer. I liked the philosophical aspects to the book. I found it somewhat unclear and windy to get to them and the heart of the matter. It's a somewhat terrifying prospect- that you could wake up one day and no longer exist as yourself. Who are you and what do you do? However, it is not infrequent that people wake up and realize that they life they have is not the one they wanted for themselves and make these sort of changes (in a more self-driven manner). This is a fantastical way to go about the same changes and thoughts. I almost think that this would have made a better short story than a short novel as a lot of it seemed to be repetitive/too windy. However, the concepts within are fascinating and I applaud the author for the plot. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
*This book was provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* This book started off promising and the first half of the book was well-written and very intriguing. The second half of the book, however, seemed to drag on a bit and the ending seemed a bit rushed, confusing and inconclusive. Throughout the book the exact situation Mary-Louise found herself in wasn't really explained and I hoped this would be amended at the ending if the book. The author, however, skipped around the truth and I was left feeling disappointed. Although I think the author was aiming to be mysterious, for some reader's such as myself, it is better to be more explicit to avoid confusion. Reading other reviews I've found a commonality that most reader's found the plot slightly confusing and the ending rushed. Overall, this was a promising book that had a good beginning but a disappointing ending.