A Bittersweet tale of friendship, family, fitting in, and forgiveness

Summary:

Christine Hong is a daughter of a traditional Chinese family. At an orchestra recital at her church, Christine’s family learns about YuWen Lin and her daughter Moon. The family is struggling financially, and the Hongs decide to lend the empty unit near their home to Lins. Christine isn't happy, as rumor has it Moon has strange tendencies and violent temperament issues.

Because of her parents' decision, Christine is reluctant, but has no choice but to meet Moon. Surprisingly the girls become good friends. Moon is everything Christine wishes she was: spunky, passionate, and funny. Moon lives a free and non-traditional life from the strict and religious ways of Christine’s family.

As Christine becomes closer to Moon, she starts to neglect her parents’ pressures and responsibilities for her. Her jealousy toward Moon grows, as Moon becomes more well-known and liked at school. Their friendship goes downhill when something terrible happens to Moon. Now Christine struggles with regret for her actions, as well navigating her own identity in the different, wonderful world Moon introduced to her.


BTSYA / Teen Reader (16):
I adore graphic novels, am a huge fan of Jen Wang's other novels, and was really excited to read this one, too. I love Stargazing. What I like most is how I could relate to Christine. I love the way the author incorporated cultural and personal elements to the story. That made the characters more genuine and the struggle of finding one’s identity much deeper and stronger. Because of the relatable deep-rooted values and experiences we all somewhat have to grow up in because of our parents and backgrounds, I think most people, even those older than the intended audience of the novel, can connect with the characters on a personal level. There wasn’t anything else that I disliked much about the book. The novel itself has a very casual and light-heartened tone

The art style is simple, yet charming. Its simplicity and truth are what make Stargazing beautiful and uncommon among what I usually read. With graphic novels, the plot is mainly composed and developed through visual telling of the events, with limited dialogue or paragraphs. From this standpoint, the plot, supported by the art, worked together for the storyline very well.

This book really gave me a touch of magic and nostalgia. It is a wonderful pick if you’re looking for a graphic novel and you don’t mind a casual, but also genuine and bittersweet read. Stargazing is suitable for all ages, but might be most appealing for readers age 9 to 14, as the characters themselves seem to be in 4th to 6th grade.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

"Magic and nostalgia," says our teen reviewer. This is a very special story about friendship, family, and the journey to becoming yourself.

Content Awareness Factors:

None.


Type of Book:
This is a graphic novel about friendship, family, and fitting in.
Educational Themes:

There are many layers to the story, with the overarching theme being the journey to becoming yourself.

  • At first Christine was along for the ride as she wished she could be Moon. Then she tried to be more like Moon - how did that work out?
  • Where does your reader draw the balance between responsibility to parents, friends and then yourself?
Reading Level:
2.5
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
Recommended Age To Read Together:
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 16
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy. The story is really well done, and the girls are friends readers will come back to.

Title Stargazing
Author Jen Wang
Publisher First Second Books © 2019
Illustrators Jen Wang
ISBN 9781250183880
Material Paperback
Cost $12.99
Genres Friendship, Comics | Graphic Novels, Health & Wellness, Asia | Asian People
be the star you are Cybils
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