In the tradition of Sharon Creech and Wendy Mass, Corey Ann Haydu’s sparkling middle grade debut is a sister story with a twist of magic, a swirl of darkness, and a whole lot of hope.
Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she’s too little for most things—especially when it comes to dealing with their mother’s unpredictable moods and outbursts. This summer, Silly feels more alone than ever when her sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot: sporting sunburned cheeks smudged with glitter and gold hair that looks like tinsel.
When Silly is brought into her sisters’ world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she’s soon forced to wonder if it could tear them apart.
Description taken from Goodreads.
This book was silly, but it was also bittersweet, and that made it worth reading.
The greatest appeal to it is the themes. I loved the way that Haydu set up the world that Silly was living in, and how she and her sisters came to understand and deal with the world around them, even though they had next to no support from their parents and the people around them. Silly’s story is about hope and family, and I loved the ending that the book eventually came to even though it wasn’t the one that I had imagined.
The blurb doesn’t say much about the actual plot, and I’ll stay away from spoilers, but in short, the sisters have to deal with the situation around them instead of hiding in the magical closets that make them believe that their reality is only temporary. I loved the character growth that Silly goes through, even though she had to go through some really horrible things over the course of this story when she’s only a kid.
I did really enjoy Rules for Stealing Stars, but it didn’t hit me as hard as it hit many other readers. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen terrible conditions for people who are still just kids a little older than Silly in YA, and while I loved the plot and the world that Haydu spun, something about the story didn’t completely click with me. I think it’s more suited toward MG readers than YA readers.
If you’re looking for a children’s novel that will break your heart and make you laugh at and love the characters, this is the book for you. The pace is slow, but the plot and the narrative is worth sticking through for. 3.5 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 336