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).
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).
Houston Chronicle - Barbara Liss
Earley has placed Jim squarely in the cohort that journalist Tom Brokaw celebrated as The Greatest Generation and has given him the virtues Brokaw praised in his book. Committed to duty, honor and love of family and country, Jim could be one of Brokaw's venerable subjects.
This is the flaw in Earley's portrayal of the life and times of Jim Glass: It is without nuance or subtlety. Each chapter reads more like a Sunday school lesson than real life being lived somewhere, in some time.
Los Angeles Times - Carmela Ciuraru
It's true that The Blue Star comes perilously close to sentimentality in certain moments and in others indulges in it full on. Still, there's an appealing sweetness to this story. Those who like their fiction too smart alecky for its own good may bristle at Earley's latest work, but those with irony fatigue and a tolerance for earnest, straightforward prose will find much to appreciate.
The Boston Globe - Porter Shreve
Reading Tony Earley is like riding along on a winding mountain road and wondering at how he manages to steer clear of the ruts and gaps. He avoids the insularity and easy eccentricities of Southern regionalism, the retrograde yearning for a bygone era, the predictable arc of growth of the standard coming-of-age. In "The Complete Jim Glass" everything old is made new. Timelessness means we hope the story never ends.
USA Today - Bob Minzesheimer,
When you've loved a novel as much as I loved Tony Earley's 2000 debut, Jim the Boy, the prospect of a sequel triggers an uneasy blend of anticipation and doubt ....
I'm happy to report that Earley's The Blue Star works as a sequel and a lovely coming-of-age story that can be savored on its own.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Though Mr. Earley’s style remains endearingly airborne, The Blue Star is in substance heavier than its predecessor. Mr. Earley's disarming folksiness is intact, but the portents of his story are dark. Jim feels this shift as he senses that his real life is about to begin. He knows he has reached an age to make irrevocable choices. But for the moment, in the teenage time capsule that is The Blue Star, the future is only foreshadowing. Jim lives in a beautifully evoked state of suspended animation.
A sweet-tempered, mostly successful sequel for those who like their fiction sepia-toned.
[A] narrative that's deceptive in its simplicity: the growing pains that Jim and his friends experience pack a startling emotional punch.
Beautifully told, this old-fashioned love story is the kind of fiction readers have come to expect from Earley after his luminous, warmhearted first novel, Jim the Boy.
The New York Times - Scott Turow
I galloped through the novel and relished every page…Earley knows Jim and his world with a sureness and an intimacy that always mark the most involving fiction.
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."
The figures quoted come from a survey conducted by the National Endowment for
the Arts, "Reading
at Risk: a Survey of Literary reading in America".
The study further states:
"At the middle school level, the kind of quality...
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