“A well-crafted blend of realism and fantasy.” —School Library Journal (starred review)
“A lyrical story of love and loss. The way the sisters fight and love in equal measure, as well as their basic need for one another, rings poignantly true in this touching and heartwarming story, which contains a ‘tiny bit of magic, right here in the real world.’” —Booklist (starred review)
In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu's sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story with a twist of magic, a swirl of darkness, and a whole lot of hope.
Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she's too little for most things—especially when it comes to dealing with their mother's unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and gold hair that looks like tinsel.
When Silly is brought into her sisters' world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she's soon forced to wonder if it could tear them apart.
About the Author
Corey Ann Haydu is the author of Rules for Stealing Stars and four acclaimed books for teens. She grew up in the Boston area, earned her MFA at the New School, and now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her dog Oscar. Find out more at www.coreyannhaydu.com.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
You must read this really good book about sisterhood and sticking together. This is a good book for middle school girls who like fiction books and a hint of magic.
RULES FOR STEALING STARS by Corey Ann Haydu was one of my favorite books of 2015 & it was definitely my favorite middle grade book of the year. When Silly brought me into her world with her sisters, Astrid, Eleanor & Marla, I was immersed in their story. At the beginning of the novel, the girls have been moved into their large summer lake house with their mother and father, who believe the change in scenery will be the saving grace for their family. However, our narrator Silly (real name Priscilla) feels more out of place than ever. Her sisters never invite her into their secret games because they feel like she’s too young & immature to understand. Her mother has mood swings that frighten the girls on more than a few occasions & their father, who tries his best to take care of the girls when their mother is not well, is a bit clueless as to how to raise them. A professor of fairy tales, he constantly uses the classic stories as a way of teaching lessons but all four sisters are in a transition phase in their lives. They are on the brink of young adulthood, experiencing lost friendships, first boyfriends & their mother’s mental illness all at once. And all Silly wants to feel understood & included by her sisters, the only people she can truly connect with in this new town. Soon, Silly finds out that her sisters have been taking refuge in their magical closets, closets that bring their imaginations to life so that they can escape what’s going on their home. I’ve always loved stories about big, strange houses, especially summer houses. The eeriness within their home is no exception. As nervous as I was to enter this house with the girls, I wanted to be part of their sacred circle. With hints of The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe & the beloved fairy tale, The Twelve Dancing Princesses, Corey Ann Haydu introduces us to not only a world of magic & whimsy within the closets but also to the sisters that created it. What I loved most about the book is how she was able to create four distinct personalities in these sisters. Not one voice overlapped with the other, not even between the teenage twins, artistic Astrid & their unofficial leader, Eleanor. They all deal with their mother’s illness in different ways, sometimes through distraction, other times through the fiery determination to cure her. Without giving away too much about what happens to the girls when they enter their mysterious world, I will say that this adventure is unlike any I’d ever read about. It’s sad. It’s heartbreaking. Some parents might think that it is too sad for young readers but I feel the exact opposite. Children, especially pre-teens, feel overwhelming sadness at home. They feel things deeply & need characters to relate to, who can help understand how to cope. And ultimately, this book is full of hope. Corey doesn’t hold back when she reminds us just how bad their living situation can be but she does a fantastic job of weaving realism with the fantastic, bringing just as much magic into the girls’ lives as there is uncertainty. I would recommend this book to adults who have children dealing with anxiety and depression (or anyone dealing with it, frankly). I also feel like it’s a great story for sisters, fairy tale lovers & people who enjoy stories about summer & coming of age. It stayed with me long after I finished & I’m sure I’ll only keep singing its praises for a long time to come.