Thursday, June 18, 2015

Stella by Starlight (2015)

Stella by Starlight. Sharon M. Draper. 2015. Simon & Schuster. 336 pages. [Source: Library]

Nine robed figures dressed all in white. Heads covered with softly pointed hoods. Against the black of night, a single wooden cross blazed. Reflections of peppery-red flames shimmered across the otherwise dark surface of Kilkenny Pond. 

Stella by Starlight is set in Bumblebee, North Carolina, in the fall of 1932. What can I say about this one? I could say many things, but, I'll start with this: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED IT.

I loved the narration. I loved the heroine, Stella, she makes a remarkable narrator. I loved her voice and her spirit. I loved the characterization--it was rich. I loved meeting Stella and her brother, Jojo. I loved her parents. I loved getting to know her neighbors. I loved that we get a real sense of community and place. It was the kind of novel that is completely absorbing--compelling. I loved the drama and the intensity. Stella by Starlight is what happens in one community after three African-American men decide to register to vote. The book captures why the men chose to act, what voting meant to them, what it represented. The book captures what it meant to their families and the community as well. Stella knows, for example, that it is a courageous act for her father, and, a necessary one as well. She's proud of her father for doing what he feels is right--knows is right. But Stella also knows a healthy-fear of the KKK. The book captures that uncertainty, that fear, it brings the community together as one. I also loved the religious/spiritual aspects of this one: how central the church is, how central the Christian faith is in the community. It celebrates faith, and shows it to be a powerful force. Stella by Starlight is beautifully written. I highly recommend it! 

© 2015 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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