SECRET STAR by Nancy Springer

SECRET STAR

Age Range: 12 & up
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 From Springer (Looking for Jamie Bridger, 1995, etc.), a novel about Tess Rojahin Mathis, 14, who lives in an Appalachian shack with her disabled stepfather and has no memory of the first ten years of her life. Tess doesn't mind her memory loss; her stepfather fears that she'll leave him if she remembers a particular event: He shot her real father in self-defense before being shot by Tess's mother, who then turned the gun on herself. The arrival of Kamo Rojahin, a mysterious, scarred young man who is searching for his father and believes that he and Tess may be related, is the catalyst that impels Tess to recover the memories of murder and suicide that threaten to surface in her nightmares, and to pursue her dream of becoming a musician. The point of view switches clumsily from Tess's to her stepfather's at two critical junctures, and the descriptions of Tess's passion for music are overwrought and inauthentic. The title is from the words of a popular song by a reclusive, unknown artist that has taken the airwaves--and Tess--by storm; in a rather heavy-handed plot turn, the mystery singer turns out to be Kamo. That twist and the melodrama in Tess's past overwhelm Springer's strength: her utterly convincing depictions of rural poverty and of struggling characters who retain their decency despite their harsh lives. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: May 19th, 1997
ISBN: 0-399-23028-9
Page count: 138pp
Publisher: Philomel
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1997




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