Space, the final frontier they call it. The great unknown and one of life’s many mysteries surrounds us on a daily basis. We humans go about our everyday lives completely oblivious to the fact that our sun that we use to tan and relax in is a dying star. Our moon is our natural (reflective) nightlight as we sleep. And the stars make twinkling pictures for us in the night sky and guide us home when we are lost. Fancy a bit of stargazing dear readers? Do I ever have the book to share with you! Grab a blanket and a pair of binoculars as we gaze from the chaos that is Earth. If we are lucky we might see a shooting star or even toast some marshmallows. Poyekhali!
The wonderful people at Boolino have sent me a gorgeous copy of Stargazing For Beginners By Jenny McLachlan published by Bloomsbury. I squealed with delight the moment I saw this book. Not only is the cover a beauty and has shiny gold lettering but it’s about a topic I have always found fascinating; life.
For fifteen year old Meg, life on earth for her is non-existent. The life for her is amongst the stars and planets millions of light years away in undiscovered galaxies. Imagine her surprise when her free-spirited mother drops her baby sister Elsa on her and jets off on yet another charity mission half way across the world. Meg must now face her biggest challenge in life yet. Can she prep her speech in time for the NASA competition while trying to look after her sister, make friends, fall in love and keep on top of her homework? Houston, we have a problem.
Meg is such a relatable character to teenagers. She’s shy, hates public speaking and doesn’t know how to socialise with people her own age. From what I remember from being a teenager, it’s tough. Really tough. Trying to fit in and find your own place while still being true to who you are is difficult. There are so many changes at that age that a lot of teens find hard to cope with. Meg can talk about atoms and constellations but she struggles when it comes to talking about the latest Ed Sheeran song. It’s an alien concept to her, another world that she finds hard to make sense of. It’s comforting to know that characters like Meg exist in literature, that make us geeks/nerds feel less alone.
“This is why I want to go to be an astronaut: life on Earth is way too complicated.”
McLachlan is a master at developing Meg’s character as the story progresses. Meg learns from her mistakes and is forced to go out of her comfort zone. She tends to rely on logic and facts but soon finds herself listening to the beat of her own heart. It’s heartwarming to read and I shed a little tear as Meg did her speech at the end. It made me release that we all have our own Earth team. Family and friends who support us. We don’t have to do it alone, and only need ask for help should we need it.
The way McLachlan employs imagery is cosmic to read. I found the use of the state of Meg’s flat as a reflection of how she is feeling worked perfectly. Only towards the end when she tries to clear some space does she start to begin to think differently and beyond the chaos. Up until that point only her room is precisely how she wants it, she can control the chaos within her four walls. What she can’t control is everyone else. She has to learn to accept it for what it is and try to deal with the situation as best she can. That sometimes life needs a little bit of chaos and it’s not always a bad thing.
The strong theme of chaos is very present in this book. More and more teenagers are looking after their siblings and have an absent parent. We only need watch Children In Need and can see how real this crisis is. A lot of teenagers are being forced to take on adult responsibilities before they are ready to, causing a domino effect that tumbles out of control. Stargazing For Beginners gives teenagers hope and shows them that there is always someone willing to help. That wishing on stars is not as silly as it sounds and one day, things will get better for them.
“I’ve realised that space isn’t an escape from the chaos of human beings, it’s something I have because of the chaos of human beings.”
Encouraging people to follow their dreams no matter how big or small is always, always important and I love how McLachlan involves this throughout the book. As someone who was always told I couldn’t write because I had dyslexia, I strived to prove people wrong. And boy did I. I got my degree (2:1 might I add) in Creative Writing and Film Studies.*sticks tongue out* So you can imagine how much of a friend I found in Meg when I discovered that she had big dreams. Big dreams that made people give her the same look I got when I replied to, “What do you want to do with your life?” Dreams that made me, like Meg doubt whether it was possible, but our determination surged us through to success and the chance to prove everyone wrong. Never give up on your dreams and who you are. Shine bright like the shiny sparkling star you are because after all, we are all stardust.
I found myself smiling, tearing up and laughing throughout this book. You can not help but feel good once you finish the last sentence. I challenge anyone who reads this to not go through the emotions, I double dare you!
I give Stargazing For Beginners By Jenny McLachlan a Five out of Five paw rating.
It’s witty, creative and overall gives you this warm fuzzy feeling that you can’t help but love. A story of never giving up and holding onto your dreams. With a dash of chaos, friendship and love thrown into the mix it’s the perfect coming of age story. Grab yourself a copy and next time you look up at the stars, remember your dreams are always within your grasp. Save 30% when you order a copy from Boolino for only£5.59!!! Your journey to the stars begins here! http://www.boolino.co.uk/kids-childrens-books/stargazing-for-beginners/
I am already looking forward to reading more of McLachlan’s work as there was an extract for Flirty Dancing at the back. Her writing style is addictive and one that makes you not want to put the book down until the very last page. Another talented author added to my list! For more information about the author check out the links below!
Thank you to Boolino for sending me yet another fabulous read. These guys are passionate about reading and I love it. Check them out and discover something new to add to your bookshelf today!
Also thank you to Bloomsbury! Keep publishing books like this with such talented authors. Have a browse of their massive selection of adventures on the link below. You can never have too many books.
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