An Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestseller.
In this gorgeously stunning debut, a mysterious child teaches two strangers how to love and trust again.
After the loss of her mother and her own battle with breast cancer, Joanna Teale returns to her graduate research on nesting birds in rural Illinois, determined to prove that her recent hardships have not broken her. She throws herself into her work from dusk to dawn, until her solitary routine is disrupted by the appearance of a mysterious child who shows up at her cabin barefoot and covered in bruises.
The girl calls herself Ursa, and she claims to have been sent from the stars to witness five miracles. With concerns about the child’s home situation, Jo reluctantly agrees to let her stay—just until she learns more about Ursa’s past.
Jo enlists the help of her reclusive neighbor, Gabriel Nash, to solve the mystery of the charming child. But the more time they spend together, the more questions they have. How does a young girl not only read but understand Shakespeare? Why do good things keep happening in her presence? And why aren’t Jo and Gabe checking the missing children’s website anymore?
Though the three have formed an incredible bond, they know difficult choices must be made. As the summer nears an end and Ursa gets closer to her fifth miracle, her dangerous past closes in. When it finally catches up to them, all of their painful secrets will be forced into the open, and their fates will be left to the stars.
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3.5 stars The majority of this book, I was extremely intrigued by the story. A little girl seemingly turns up out of nowhere claiming to be an alien sent to Earth "to earn her Ph.D." At first, the main character, Jo, is concerned and follows the proper avenues for returning this girl to her family. When those original efforts fail, she becomes immersed in the girl's fantasy and eases up on her intention to find out the truth. The majority of this story is shrouded in mystery, and I flew through it. I love found families in books, and this one, in particular, was so sweet. The three main characters each have been through so much and find solace in each other, which was really sweet to see. Unfortunately, I was a little let down by the ending. It seemed to wrap up in a way that was a little too convenient for me. However, overall this is a heartwarming story.
Favorite Quotes: As always, words fail when you most want to say the right thing… I’ve decided language isn’t as advanced as we think it is. We’re still apes trying to express our thoughts with grunts while most of what we want to communicate stays locked in our brains. He was teaching her how to play poker, and they were using oyster crackers as betting chips. “First guns, now gambling,” Jo said. “You’re a bad influence.” “Not for long,” he said. “We can’t stop eating our money.” And I know what you’ve been through—how it could have …influenced what you did.” Why did everyone think that? She kept her mouth shut, but she wanted to say that she wouldn’t have done anything different if she still had her mother and her breasts and her ovaries. She would love Ursa just as much. Did she tell you she once snuck a lamb into the hospital? … She knows I love the baby farm animals she works with, so she packs the lamb in her car with its milk, drives up to Chicago, and sneaks it into my room two days after my breasts were removed. She takes this tiny lamb out of a shoulder bag, lays it on my bed, and hands me the bottle. There, she says, who needs tits anyway? There are other ways to give milk. Before his life fell apart, he’d wanted to be an astrophysicist. He named his daughter Ursa for the Big Bear in the sky, and he’d taught her the names of stars and constellations. When Ursa was afraid of the dark, he would open her window a crack and tell her good magic that fell out of the stars was coming in her window. He said the magic would always keep her safe. After he died, Ursa opened her window wide every night, trying to let in lots of good magic. My Review: This captivating book bewitched and enthralled me. I delighted in the unexpected and stealthy hits of clever wit and levity that was surprisingly tucked into the most unexpected places. I gleefully endured the prickling and tauntingly enticing mystery that relentlessly beckoned to me to continue reading and ignore anything and everything beyond the screen of my Kindle. Ms. Vanderah’s writing was alchemy and I was ensorcelled. I was repeatedly taken with the layered depth of the fascinating and quirky characters as well as the thoughtful creativity of the storylines, which were complex and beautifully textured with cleverly amusing and cringe-worthy details. I waffled in my theories of whether the girl’s fantastical explanations and alien assertions could be true as she was oddly intelligent and insightful, and far more advanced than many adults in her ability to absorb knowledge or sketch, yet she was a small child with an estimated age of nine. My curiosity was as unabating as Ursa’s quarks. I reveled in this stunning and cunningly crafted tale from beginning to end and was absolutely staggered once aware it was the author’s debut. Glendy Vanderah is definitely one to watch. A Five-Stars rating is not enough by half.
A little girl who claims to be an alien and two broken souls. And we have riveting tale by a debut author. First we have Jo, a brilliant Ornithologist and a cancer survivor who decided to have both her breasts removed, and now feels alienated by almost all men around her. Then we have Gabe, who has his own demons haunting him, skeletons in his family forcing him to isolate himself from everyone else. Then we have Ursa, who brings these two together in an unlikely friendship. Let's talk about the suspense first. For most of the book, we are kept in the dark about Ursa's actual identity. She keeps claiming that she's from a galaxy from Ursa Major. But her smartness and brilliance at such a young age doesn't make her tales too unbelievable. What is actually her story? The author keeps you guessing until the very end. And she does a great job at it too. The romance, now. It felt really organic. The connection between Jo and Gabe developed quite beautifully, through their growing attachment towards each other and to the little girl. There were parts where I felt frustrated with some of the decisions Jo and Gabe took. But I could understand that what compelled them to do these things. I was also not completely convinced by the whole legal dealings in the story. But I didn't even care. Because the writing had me completely captivated. All I cared about was these three characters to live together happily after, because if there was one thing I was convinced about, it was their love for each other. Glendy Vanderah makes a compelling debut with a story about family, friendship and survival. I definitely look forward to her future works.