These Unlucky Stars
These Unlucky Stars
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Annotation: From the highly acclaimed author of Caterpillar Summer comes a sweet and heartfelt story of a girl's unexpected friendsh... more
Catalog Number: #221569
Format: Perma-Bound from Publisher's Hardcover
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Copyright Date: 2021
Edition Date: 2021
Pages: 277 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-547-60538-3 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-8556-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-547-60538-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-8556-3
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2020035095
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
A sixth grader whose mother left years ago, Annie is a loner who sees her life as plagued by one instance of bad luck after another, rather than by the logical consequence of procrastination and carelessness. Goaded into a prank that leads to an elderly woman named Gloria breaking her arm, Annie begins to help the often-­cranky senior by doing household chores and dog walking, mainly to ease her own feelings of guilt. But after getting to know Gloria, she begins to admire her and even to consider her advice. Though she is under pressure at school and at home to change her ways, Annie's attitude begins to shift only when dealing with Gloria alters her perspective. Set in Oak Branch, North Carolina, with the Blue Ridge Mountains visible from Annie's bedroom window, this involving, slower-paced chapter book gives readers time to get to know the major and minor characters within the small town and how they support one another. Other characters are struggling with their own challenges, but this satisfying novel focuses on Annie's gradual, hard-won transformation.
Kirkus Reviews
The summer after sixth grade changes Annie Logan’s ideas about luck and loss.Annie’s mother instilled in her young daughter the idea that Annie was born unlucky and that life was simply not destined to go well for her, and Annie believes that she was the reason her mother left. She takes solace in her drawing and in the mountains she can just see from the roof outside her room. Her father runs their family hardware store in a small North Carolina town. Annie and her brother help out in the store and accompany their father to church on Sundays. When an intended prank brings her to Gloria Crumb’s door and results in the elderly woman’s fall, Annie is ashamed and hopes to put things right. Gloria’s former babysitting charge, Albert, and his partner, Paul, are new parents and unable to convince the independent and irascible Gloria to move out of the house she can no longer keep up. Annie spends much of the summer keeping Gloria—and Gloria’s odd-looking mutt, Otto—company. As the two forge a genuine friendship, Annie learns to navigate past her own doubts about her value. McDunn offers a warmhearted, nuanced look at a slightly lonely child. Annie’s voice is genuine and engaging. Main characters are White; names and other identifiers hint at some diversity.Heartfelt and appealing. (Fiction. 8-12)
Publishers Weekly
An accident-prone middle schooler blames her lot on an unlucky star in McDunn-s (The Queen Bee and Me) endearing contemporary novel. When an attempted doorbell ditching ends with a broken arm for elderly neighbor Gloria Crumb, rising seventh grader Annie P. Logan spends the summer assisting the stubbornly independent woman with her clutter. She also helps the residents of her North Carolina town prepare for their first festival, which they hope will put the struggling town on the map. Caring for Gloria-s beloved hound helps Annie overcome her longtime fear of the creatures, sparked by a dog attack, and as the two unearth old pictures-of Gloria-s siblings, travels, and surprising talents-Annie begins to wonder about these changing versions of the now frail woman she visits daily, and the choices and experiences that define who a person becomes. Annie-s journey to break free of the guilt she carries, about Gloria-s accident and her own mother-s leaving, and to embrace her true self-including the wild imagination and creativity she shared with her mom-offer quiet triumph through a tenderly drawn intergenerational relationship and Annie-s expressive voice. Ages 8-11. Agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Mar.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 Annie feels like she has no control over her life because she was born under an unlucky star, or so her mother said before she left. So it makes sense that when she dares to play ding dong ditch on an elderly lady's door, Annie causes the woman to fall and break her arm. It figures that she'll have to help take care of her throughout the summer, when all she really wants is to help design the float for the family store in the town festival. And, of course, her dad and brother don't want her help. What starts out as an unlucky break turns into a summer of healing, as Annie and Gloria gain new insights into what makes good life. McDunn includes illustrations drawn by Annie to transition throughout the book, which provide a glimpse into Annie's thoughts. Annie eventually realizes that luck cannot dictate her life, but it grows tiresome watching her blame her poor decisions on bad luck, though the chapters are short enough for reluctant readers. Annie does show spunk, and readers will appreciate her insights: "Ugh. This is so typical. When girls do something nice, it's an expectation. When boys do something nice, it's a celebration." Annie and her family are white, her friend Faith is described as having brown skin, and there is an LGBTQ+ couple. VERDICT A fair realistic fiction read, but there are others that do the job better. A secondary purchase. Kerri Williams, Center Moriches Free P.L., NY
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly (3/1/21)
ALA Booklist (3/1/21)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (1/1/21)
Word Count: 52,841
Reading Level: 4.0
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.0 / points: 7.0 / quiz: 510600 / grade: Middle Grades

From the highly acclaimed author of Caterpillar Summer comes a sweet and heartfelt story of a girl's unexpected friendship that changes her forever, perfect for fans of Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Ever since her mother left a few years ago, Annie has felt like the odd one out in her family. Her dad and brother are practical and organized--they just don't understand the way she thinks, in lines and color. Everywhere she turns, she feels like an outsider, even at school, so she's been reluctant to get close to anyone. When a Ding-Dong-Ditch attempt goes wrong, Annie finds herself stuck making amends with Gloria, the eccentric elderly lady she disturbed. As she begins to connect with Gloria and her weird little dog, it becomes clear that Gloria won't be able to live on her own for much longer. But it's this brief and important friendship that gives Annie the confidence to let people in, and see how rich life can be when you decide to make your own luck and chart your own path to happiness. In this heartwarming novel, acclaimed author Gillian McDunn shows us that even the most unexpected friendship has the power to change us forever. Acclaim for Caterpillar Summer An Indies Introduce Pick A Texas Bluebonnet Selection A Parents Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year An Amazon Best Book of the Year

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