BookBrowse Reviews The Blue Star by Tony Earley

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Blue Star

by Tony Earley

The Blue Star by Tony Earley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2008, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2009, 320 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Vy Armour

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A tale of young love set on the eve of WWII; a sequel to Jim the Boy

I have to disclose upfront that I was a huge Walton fan (the CBS hit run of eight years, based on the novel The Homecoming by Earl Hammer Jr.), and thus found myself drawn to the main character of 17-year-old Jim Glass, who reminds me so much of John-Boy. So much did I enjoy The Blue Star, that on finishing it I ran to the nearest library to take out Jim the Boy, Tony Earley's earlier book, so I could know this young man as a ten-year old. I was not disappointed.

I also wanted more of the bachelor uncles' wit and wisdom. Uncles Zeno, Al and Coran have helped Jim's mother raise him since his father died the week before he was born. They dispense "tough love" on Jim long before it became a fashionable term, molding this young man into a decent and responsible adult. It is a credit to Earley's writing that glimmers of the uncles' soft hearts can be seen through their seemingly tough and crusty characters.

What makes Jim so appealing are his honest thoughts. When he was ten, reviewers called him "precocious". At seventeen, and a senior in high school, he is very real. Jim is consumed with the unrequited love of Chrissie from the "wrong side of the mountain", but how can he compete with a boyfriend who had the courage to enlist and is now fighting America's battle overseas?

In addition to Jim and his family, friends Dennis Deanne and ex-girlfriend Norma are well-developed characters whose own struggles give Jim many opportunities to grow as he reacts to their situations. The only part of the book that seemed a little far-fetched was a classmate's commencement speech, "Heroes of Mathematics". A beautiful and fitting speech for a class graduating six months after Pearl Harbor, but it struck me as a bit too eloquent for such a young girl. Then again, I try to imagine a commencement speech that might have been given shortly after 9/11 and imagine that it too could have had the same depth.

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.

Tony Earley is the author of Here we Are in Paradise (1994), Jim the Boy (2000), Somehow Form a Family (2001, stories) and The Blue Star. Raised in the shadow of the North Carolina Appalachians, the setting of his Jim books, Earley has been asked how much he draws on his own family life; to which he replies, "I swiped some family stories, but there's little that happened to me that happens to Jim".

As for the setting, he says, "There's just something wonderfully mysterious about that part of the world…where the road curves and the mountains begin, the feeling that I'm in a different place now." He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is the Samuel Milton Fleming Associate Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.

Reviewed by Vy Armour

This review was originally published in April 2008, and has been updated for the August 2009 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Discover your next great read here

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Castle of Water
    Castle of Water
    by Dane Huckelbridge
    When a whopping 24 out of 27 readers give a book 4 or 5 stars, you know you have a winner on your ...
  • Book Jacket: Havana
    Havana
    by Mark Kurlansky
    History with flavor...culture with spice...language with gusto...it would be hard to find a better ...
  • Book Jacket: Temporary People
    Temporary People
    by Deepak Unnikrishnan
    In this powerful and innovative collection of 28 short stories, Deepak Unnikrishnan presents a ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The Nest
by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney

A funny and acutely perceptive debut about four siblings and the fate of their shared inheritance.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Manderley Forever
    by Tatiana de Rosnay

    Bestselling author Tatiana de Rosnay pays homage to Daphne du Maurier.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    If We Were Villains
    by M. L. Rio

    An intelligent and captivating story of the enduring power and passion of words.
    Reader Reviews

Who Said...

A million monkeys...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Y S M B, I'll S Y

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
Modal popup -