Title: Rules for Stealing Stars
Author: Corey Ann Haydu
Release Date: September 29
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Katherine Tegen Books on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
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. (Source: Goodreads)
Silly’s mom is sick, and her sister’s are keeping secrets, and her dad’s always in his own head. But when Silly’s mom turns violent with her, she’s brought into the fold and her sister’s reveal a magical place to her that gives them exactly what they need as they deal with the loss of their mother, their mother’s loss, and the perils of growing up and growing apart. Silly and her sister’s have to find a way to make this magic save them all.
I absolutely loved Corey Ann Haydu’s OCD Love Story and Making Pretty so when I heard she had written a MG book I was pretty intrigued. I was not disappointed. Haydu captured the magic of childhood, the heartbreak of family tragedy, and the warmth of love and joy that these sisters all share. I couldn’t put this book down it was so deeply enchanting and moving.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this book because I’m so used to Haydu’s contemporary, very realistic, YA books, and this book was promising magic. What Haydu gives to readers in Rules for Stealing Stars is a type of magic that fits so well into the reality of these girls’ heartbreaking lives. The magical place they go to, their closets, is a place that fits their needs and their imaginations. To escape the pain of watching their mother’s mental health deteriorate and their father fade into his work and his mind away from them, the girls begin to hide in the closets of their new home. These closets take them away from their real lives, and into the places they wish they could be. Yes it’s magic, but it’s also the fantasy of 4 young girls who need an escape from their real lives. I absolutely loved how Haydu made this magical land for these girls and the way they used it to bond and learn about their family.
The characters in this book are so well developed and so charming. I loved Silly, she was so strong and courageous in the face of these problems so much bigger than her. She was so out of her depth throughout most of this book, she was facing not just her mother’s health problems but also the loss of her sisters to young adulthood while she was still very much a child. You watch Silly grow up and become a match for her sisters throughout this book. The twins, Astrid and Eleanor, as so unique and different from each other, but you can really feel the bond that they have as twins. Astrid was this artist caregiver while Eleanor was the strong, slightly harsher, provider for all the sisters. Finally, Marla, the middle sister, was so lost and scared. There’s a sense that she feels unloved and very separate from the other sisters, that she’s sort of desperate for their attention and while at first you don’t like her you begin to feel for her and love her as fiercely as Silly does. Haydu presents a whole family unit, one that is damaged and scared, but one where everyone loves each other so fiercely that they would steal the stars to save each other.
I absolutely loved this book and would highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see what Haydu writes in the future as she continues to be one of my favourite YA authors.