Monday, October 8, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: Keeping Safe the Stars (with ARC giveaway!)

The winner of No-Name Baby by Nancy Bo Flood is:


Hooray! Email your mailing address to barbarawatson94(at)gmail(dot)com.

And today's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday feature . . . 

Sheila O'Connor's Keeping Safe the Stars releases on October 11th, and to celebrate, I can't think of a better way than to share my ARC (which I won from Joanne Fritz) with one of you! Details on the giveaway are at the end of this post.

The premise: When Pride's grandpa, Old Finn, falls gravely ill, Pride takes charge in order to keep her siblings together. She won't let herself and her brother and sister fall into foster care or an orphanage ever again. Especially not after Old Finn rescued them. But keeping safe the Stars (Star is their last name) turns out to be a big job and things begin to unravel.

What keeps readers reading: Pride's plan for keeping safe the Stars. Younger siblings Nightingale and Baby sometimes follow Pride's plan, but sometimes they have a plan all their own. The addition of several other interesting characters make Pride's plan even harder to keep together. In an inventive way, Sheila O'Connor brings a dad, his daughter, and a woman known only through letters into this family-centered tale. And set against the frame of President Nixon's resignation brings another story element as Old Finn has a past that is woven through these times and the Star siblings spent time in a commune with their mother.

What I loved: As a parent, reading this book was hard, I have to confess. Hard because I so badly wanted to make everything right for the Star siblings. And all through the story, I kept urging Pride to "please tell somebody what's going on." But as a reader, I know Pride and her brother and sister need to find their own way. It is this contradiction of emotions that I loved--because it indicates a well-told story.

To enter the giveaway for my ARC just comment on this post. Blog followers will get their name in the drawing twice. Only U.S. mailing addresses, please. Comment by 8pm on Sunday, October 14th, 2012. Winner announced on Monday, October 15th.

For more middle grade recommendations, follow the links on Shannon Messenger's blog. 
Happy middle grade reading!

35 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing about this and passing on your ARC. This one might be too hard for me to read having an adopted daughter, so let someone else win.

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  2. Thanks, Barbara! This book sounds so good and, with a strong theme of family, exactly like something I would love. I am already intrigued by the names of the Star children. I also can't help noticing that the cover is stunning.

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  3. Oh my gosh...thanks for doing a giveaway for this. And sounds like one that deserves a Cybils nomination, too! Thanks!

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  4. This sounds like another amazing book from Sheila. So glad to know that there are such talented writers writing challenging books for this age range.

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  5. Oh, my. I really want to read this book. And the cover is gorgeous. Thanks for the review and the giveaway. Fingers crossed.

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  6. A great story. I'll be sure to put this on my granddaughter's Christmas list.

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  7. Orphans are something very near my heart. And the cover is gorgeous. I had to refresh the page three times to get the picture to come in. I'm glad I did.

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  8. Sounds like a touching story. I like ones like these.

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  9. YAY for Keeping Safe the Stars. Love love love this book. And I understand exactly what you mean as a parent, wanting Pride to ask for help. Shows how real she became to you.

    Thanks for the mention, and obviously, don't enter me in the giveaway. :)

    Congrats to Michelle.

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  10. I remember seeing Joanne's review and thinking this sounded interesting. And thanks for last week's contest! I can't wait to read No-Name Baby.

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  11. Sounds intriguing. Also sounds like the story I've been querying forever...only better. LOL. Thanks, Barbara.

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  12. This sounds like a good one. I always enjoy MG because then I can share it with my daughter.

    I'm a follower, too.

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  13. Sounds like a fun story that would make for a great animated movie my kids would love.

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  14. I must have missed Joanne's post on this book. It sounds great, and definitely one that you would enjoy! Thanks for passing the arc along!

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  15. I love that the last name of the characters if Stars! Sounds like a good book. I'm a follower!

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  16. This sounds like a great book, and one of the emotional ones that really pull you in. I'll definitely have to read it! I'm a follower also : )

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  17. Barbara, I'm sure it *was* hard to read this as a parent, but the very reason it was hard is likely the same reason it will appeal to kids--empowered main characters. Thanks so much for bringing this one to my attention. And the cover is gorgeous!

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  18. Great sounding book--thanks for bringing it to our attention :-)

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  19. This sounds like a really good book. Sheila was a presenter at the Loft Conference last spring and it was cool to hear her talk about her writing process.

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  20. oh, this book sounds amazing, and I would love to win a copy! My 4th & 5th grader (and I) read a chapter from a book every night at bedtime... but I have to confess, if you had a hard time reading this as a parent, I might let them read it w/o me! I started crying at the end of Charlotte's Web and ruined bedtime they were so confused/worried about me--LOL! :D xoxo

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  21. Hey--did I tell you? The Tuckernuck book came the other day. Bridget is already well into it. thank you!

    (I also get frustrated when you just want to grab the MC and say, "TELL someone already!" Parenting does that to you.)

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  22. I remember Joanne's review very well--and I remember loving the cover intensely. Thanks for your insight about how difficult it was to read this as a parent.

    Your getting so many comments on your blog now (richly deserved) that it's getting hard to win all your wonderful giveaways. Congrats to Michelle for the No-Name Baby win!

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    1. Spot the grammar error above... I haven't had my caffeine yet.

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    2. Just saw this now. My eagle-eye, English teacher self caught it: your should be you're. :-)

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  23. Yes I know as a parent I'd be wanting Pride to ask for help, too, and now I'm really intrigued to find out more about why she doesn't. I'd love to win this! I'll double check to make sure I'm a follower.

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  24. Sounds like a great book for kids and parents alike... Great post and I will follow with interest!

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  25. This sounds like exactly the kind of book I would have loved as a kid. I like the title and play on the last name Stars. Clever.

    And I'm a blog follower. :-)

    Danika

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  26. This cover is beautiful! I definitely want to read it. It sounds sad and interesting at the same time. I like that the siblings stick together and it just sounds great!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Jess
    I am a follower. :)

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  27. Wow, this sounds so good. I think I'd have the same hard time in those parts as you did.

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  28. It sounds amazing and that cover is just gorgeous!

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  29. It's tough to read books as a parent isn't it? Yet I love to write them. Funny how we're able to separate the two!

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  30. Looking forward to this one. Amazing how many current books there are with "stars" in the title.

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  31. This sounds like a heartwrenching and heartwarming story! I enjoyed Sparrow Road by Shiela O'Conner and would enjoy reading this as well. Thanks for the giveaway Barbara (via Joanne!)

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  32. Sounds like a great story. I just won 4 MG books and received them in the mail a couple of days ago. Can't wait to start reading them. I love the cover, reminds me of my childhood when in the evening I caught lightning bugs and put them in a jar.

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