The Forest of Stars

Heather Kassner, illus. by Iz Ptica. Holt, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-2502-9700-6
Hungry, homeless, and having lost her mother to the love bugs that devoured her grieving heart, Louisa LaRoche, 12, is intent on locating her father, who “lost his grasp on the world” and floated out a window before she was born. Finding a golden ticket to the Carnival Beneath the Stars, Louisa meets a crew of magical beings, including “Boy Beast” Strong the Ox, “Shadow Spinner” Mercy, and “Misfortune Teller” Fiona. Summoned as a mystique for her ability to levitate, the girl finds home and family in the carnival until bewitched shadows threaten, turning Louisa and her friends against one another. When one of the performers stands accused of stealing the troupe’s magic, Louisa navigates red herrings to discover who is behind the shadows. Kassner (The Bone Garden) creates an enchanted, lyrical tale with atmospheric scenes among Louisa, her friends, and guardian Quiet Si, half man, half marionette; Ptica’s black-and-white illustrations infuse the novel with the carnival’s eerie warmth. Though an abundance of poetic description can slow the narrative, Kassner’s theme, that family is where you find it, shines poignantly. Ages 8–12. Agent: Suzie Townsend, New Leaf Literary & Media. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 07/02/2020
Release date: 08/04/2020
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-61913-6
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