Tuesday 11 September 2012


Star Star by Catherine Bateson (Omnibus)
PB RRP $16.99
ISBN 978-1-86291-981-5
Reviewed by Jenny Heslop

Star has much to deal with in her young life. Her father is dead, her school friend has dumped her and her Mum now spends much of her time listening to the problems of her friend Charlie. Worse still, Charlie’s ex-wife often drops of his whinging children and Star is expected to look after them. Star wants a horse and a new best friend, not two unpleasant step siblings.

But Star’s biggest problem is that no-one will listen to her. How can she make her Mum take notice of her problems so Star can start to turn her life around?

I really liked Star. I loved how she approached her problems and the people in her life. She wasn’t overly dramatic or whiney. She chased her own dreams, no matter how insurmountable they seemed. When Mum kept saying no to a horse, Star started a catfish breeding business to earn money for horse riding lessons. When Mum and Charlie wouldn’t listen to how unhappy she was, she sought out Mum’s friend Cara and spoke to her.

I think many young readers will easily identify with Star and the isolation she feels at school and to a certain extent, at home. Her problems are common ones for children, social problems at school, change happening in the home, and blended families. The author deals with these issues in a gentle but realistic way.

The adults in this story are rounded characters too. The mother is selfish, but she is very wrapped up in her world with Charlie who is battling depression. They are both artists have ‘typical’ artists temperaments to match, self absorbed one minute, then passionate and hugely generous the next. The other two adults in Star’s life, Mum’s friend Cara and Stuart from the aquarium balance them out beautifully with their strength, security and dependability.

I did love that it was Charlie who helped Star to overcome her problem with friends in the end. It was a very satisfying ending.

This story was a realistic portrayal of families, relationships, childhood anxieties and change, told in an entertaining, light and moving way. It was filled with characters I really cared about. Star’s haiku poetry (complete with strikeouts and corrections) at the beginning of each chapter was delightful to read and offered an extra insight into her personality and state of mind.

This is a fabulous read for all children aged 9 to 12 but will particularly appeal to girls with its delicately attractive, pink blossom cover.

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