Stargazing for Beginnings by Jenny McLachlan
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
As soon as I saw this book, it caught my eye, I’m a sucker for stars and anything space-based. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was a book I’d have to read immediately, dropping all responsibilities to be truly absorbed by a book.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a contemporary like this. My first instinct is to compare it to the writing of Holly Smale and the characters of Katy Cannon (AKA the recipe for Maddie’s Perfect Book.) I was even more delighted that, by the end, I could add YA Cathy Cassidy book to my list of comparisons. Stargazing for Beginners was perfectly made, and here’s how I think it was done!
- A character with a passion – it’s so much easier to relate to a character who loves something, because even though you may not have stars in your eyes like Meg, passion is universal. Jenny McLachlan also deserves props for writing about girls liking STEM subjects too, as there’s been a huge push for that recently and I get happier with each book I read about it.
- A hint of Disney references – Meg’s full name is Megara, named after Meg from Hercules, of course. (Although, Ed hadn’t ever watched the film and it only came out in 1997, my birth year, and I’m pretty sure every five year old was subjected to ‘Who put the glad in gladiator?’) Her little sister is named after Elsa from Frozen. This confirms to me that it’s now socially acceptable for my daughter to be called Cinderella.
- Rag-tag group of friends – There’s nothing I love more than a mismatch bunch of teens being put in the same room, and eventually having a real bond form between them. It’s in The Breakfast Club, Lemonade Mouth and any good movie, really. The Biscuit Club is definitely something I want to be apart of, especially if I get to make a friend as cool as Annie.
- Diversity in said friendship group – I don’t need a reason for this. It’s just awesome, period.
- A romance that’s well grounded in friendship first – Ed and Meg were perfect for each other because they weren’t always perfect for each other. They shared interests, shared revision materials, gained each other’s trust and then went on a cute star-gazing date. I felt like I wished on a star for something like this in YA, and it really happened, guys. Thank goodness.
- Family drama – I love reading about when things go…awry. Meg’s mum decides that she needs to get on a plane and desert her fifteen year old daughter to look after her baby sister, with only a slightly kooky Grandad with a hamster factory in his house to look after them. It was giving me very Indigo Blue vibes which I didn’t know I needed so much. Basically, as soon as a teenager is given non-teenager responsibilities, the book gets an instant star from me.
And I think that’s it. All the ingredients that went towards making Stargazing for Beginners one of my favourite books of the year so far, if not ever. It’s fun and it’s heartwarming and I can’t wait for more people to read it! A constellation of 5 stars is what this book deserves!