A Glasshouse of Stars

Shirley Marr. Simon & Schuster, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5344-8883-0
First published in Australia, Marr’s (Little Jiang) uneven sophomore middle grade follows quiet, pensive Chinese child Meixing Lei, her pregnant Ma Ma, and Ba Ba, “Old People” and new immigrants to the “New Land,” where recently deceased First Uncle has bequeathed them a house that Meixing names “Big Scary.” Seemingly shifting and growing to reflect Meixing’s emotions, the house contains a mystical glasshouse, where Meixing sees past and future visions and interacts with First Uncle. But when tragedy strikes, the family must rely on their Vietnamese neighbors, the Huynhs, including sullen Kevin, a classmate of Meixing’s. Certain elements, including a lunch box moment and Ma Ma’s pressure on Meixing to become a doctor and bring honor to the family, will be familiar to readers of similar diasporic titles. While the narration doesn’t always feel age-appropriate (“Ailing, so highly foreign educated but completely ignorant about the proceedings of a traditional funeral”) and the prophetic glasshouse feels underutilized, the second-person perspective allows direct access to Meixing’s rich inner landscape, and the hopeful end to this gentle speculative novel will satisfy. Ages 8–12. Agent: Gemma Cooper, the Bent Agency. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/20/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Book - 1 pages - 978-1-5344-8885-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3317-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-5344-8884-7
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3321-8
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