Seven years ago, readers everywhere fell in love with Jim Glass, the precocious 10-year-old at the heart of Tony Earley's bestseller Jim the Boy. Now a teenager, Jim returns in another tender and wise story of young love on the eve of World War II.
Jim Glass has fallen in love, as only a teenage boy can fall in love, with his classmate Chrissie Steppe. Unfortunately, Chrissie is Bucky Bucklaw's girlfriend, and Bucky has joined the navy on the eve of war. Jim vows to win Chrissie's heart in his absence, but the war makes high school less than a safe haven and gives a young man's emotions a grown man's gravity.
With the uncanny insight into the well-intentioned heart that made Jim the Boy a favorite novel for readers nationwide, Tony Earley has fashioned another nuanced and unforgettable portrait of America in another timemaking it again even more real than our own day. This is a timeless and moving story of discovery, loss, and growing up, proving why Tony Earley's writing "radiates with a largeness of heart" (Esquire).
At the Top
Because they were seniors and had earned the right, Jim and his buddies stood on the small landing at the top of the school steps, squarely in front of the red double doors. Every student entering the building, boy or girl, had to go around them to get inside. The boys pretended not to notice that they were in everyone elses way, and moved aside only when a teacher climbed the stairs. They had ruled Aliceville School for less than a month but now held this high ground more or less comfortably. The first few days of school, Jim had halfway expected some older boys to come along and tell them to get lost, but during the preceding three weeks, he had gradually come to appreciate that there were no older boys. He and his friends were it.
The school overlooked the town from atop a steep hill. Jim tilted his face slightly into the clear sunlight and tenderly considered the world below him. At the foot of the hill the houses and barns and sheds of Aliceville lay scattered...
With writing reminiscent of Newberry award-winning author Richard Peck. (A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way From Chicago). The Blue Star transports the reader to rural America at the onset of WW II, showing how deeply war touches the lives of this community. Although written for adults, The Blue Star has great potential as a 'cross-over' title for teen readers. In an interview with Publisher's Weekly, Earley acknowledges that the Jim books are not smart, hip or postmodern. Nor are they violent, gothic or bloody. Therein lies their charm and appeal. But don't be fooled by the simple narrative. The Blue Star deals with themes that are highly relevant to teens today, such as teen pregnancy, child abuse and racial prejudice.
If you want to get lost in a book set in an authentic time and place with endearing characters, treat yourself, and any young person you know, to Jim The Boy and The Blue Star. (Reviewed by Vy Armour).
Full Review (999 words).
Back in the early '90s I owned a bookstore and often heard parents bemoan the
lack of good books for young boys. Had Mr. Earley's books been in print at
the time, I would have been hand-selling them like hotcakes to adults and teens,
both boys and girls. Now, almost two decades later, I'm going to be sure
my grandchildren read Mr Earley's books.
Teenage Boys and Reading: Did you know?
In 2005, The Washington Post published an article titled "Why Johnny Won't Read" that explored a worrisome trend:
"From 1992 to 2002, the gender gap in reading by young adults widened considerably. In overall book reading, young women slipped from 63 percent to 59 percent, while young men plummeted from 55 percent to 43 percent."
If you liked The Blue Star, try these:
From the award-winning author of Half in Love and Liars and Saints, a riveting story of love, sex, secrets, guilt, and forgiveness.
A compelling story of love and loss in a western Pennsylvania mining town in the years after World War II.
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