Starry Nights

by Judith Clarke

Jess’s family has moved to a new house, and things are strangely unsettled.... read more

Jess’s family has moved to a new house, and things are strangely unsettled. Back when they lived on the sea at Avalon, everything seemed perfect. Now, after a recent breakdown, her mother rarely comes out of her room. Her sister, Vida, is unpredictable, full of strange ideas in which she insists Jess get involved, such as attending a séance in the village. And then there’s the fact that Jess seems to be seeing things—flashes of a figure, a young woman. Jess’s older brother, Clem, is having a hard time, too. He’s worried about his mother, and he longs to be near the sea again. But at least he’s made a friend he can talk to. Amy is always around when Clem needs someone, although some of her comments upset him for reasons he can’t explain. In a story that moves back and forth from Jess’s to Clem’s to Amy’s point of view, Judith Clarke slowly and skillfully reveals the deep disturbance beneath the surface of Jess’s family. She delivers a tremendous twist at the climax for readers who haven’t assembled the subtle clues, and a tremendous sense of satisfaction for those who stay one step ahead of the storyteller’s moment of revelation. This compelling novel is much more than a ghost story, offering a sensitive look at loss from perspectives both ordinary and unusual. (Ages 10–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2004

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