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- ISBN-13: 9780399254598
- ISBN-10: 0399254595
- Publisher: Putnam Publishing Group
- Publish Date: October 2012
- Page Count: 297
- Reading Level: Ages 10-14
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-09-17
- Reviewer: Staff
Choosing an unusual setting—the 1974 summer of Nixon’s resignation— O’Connor (Sparrow Road) skillfully tackles complex issues of truth and loyalty in a story filled with adventure, suspense, and family drama. Pride, Nightingale, and Baby Star, having lost their parents, are being raised by their grandfather, Old Finn, to live self-sufficiently on his farm in rural Minnesota. With Old Finn suddenly hospitalized, 13-year-old Pride struggles to keep her younger siblings fed, while maintaining their independence and hiding their grandfather’s absence from increasingly suspicious adults. The strong-minded siblings frequently clash over what is right and wrong, even as their predicament bonds them ever more strongly. Through Pride’s conflicts regarding ethical behavior, love, and survival, O’Connor brings to life the murky territory of morality. In one poignant scene, Pride empathetically watches Nixon’s resignation speech: “when he said, ‘I have always tried to do what was best for the nation’... it made me think about the lies I’d told to try to help my family. I’d say the same, I tried to do the best.” A thought-provoking page-turner. Ages 10–up. Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Oct.)
May the Stars guide you
How far would you go to keep your family together? That’s a question 13-year-old Kathleen Star—better known as Pride—must find an answer to, and fast. In Sheila O’Connor’s Keeping Safe the Stars, Pride and her two younger siblings must learn to survive on their own when Old Finn, their grandfather and only living relative, gets sick. He is taken from Eden, where the Stars live, and transferred to the big hospital hours away in Duluth. Pride isn’t sure how she’s going to do it, but she vows to fulfill her mother’s wish to “keep safe the Stars.”
When Pride realizes they will need help from Old Finn, the Stars travel by themselves to Duluth to find their grandfather. Unfortunately, what they find there is nothing like what they expected.
Set during Richard Nixon’s resignation, Keeping Safe the Stars is a blend of adventure and history. Filled with just the right amount of tension, humor and love, this book grabs readers from the first page and pulls them, gently but firmly, all the way through to the satisfying conclusion.