Star, by Catherine Bateson

‘You’re hurting me,’ she said, and her voice sounded lonely and sad. ‘This attitude you have, Star. Where does it come from? Those kids are going through a rough time. You know that. How would you feel if you suddenly weren’t living with your dad?’
I glared at her. ‘I’m not,’ I said. ‘Remember, he’s dead.’


After Dad died, it was just Star and her mum, and, together, they managed. But Mum’s old friend Charlie has come to live with them and life has changed. Sometimes Charlie can be fun – suggesting walks on the beach, or teaching Star how to write Haiku – but other times he lies on his fold up bed unmoving, or says mean things to Star and Mum. But what Star hates most is when his pesky kids come to visit. There isn’t much going right in Star’s life, but it seems Mum hasn’t got the time or patience to listen.

Star is the story of a girl struggling to be heard in a household where there’s lots going on. Not only are she and her mother still trying to cope with the loss of her dad, but Charlie is coping with the end of his marriage, and his children with the changes this has wrought. Star is ofent asked to keep an eye on the younger children, and her unhappiness with all these changes, and with her isolation at school, is overlooked by both adults, or regarded as selfishness on her part. Adult readers will find this a little confronting, but probably quite realistic. Thankfully, as the story progresses the adults redeem themselves and, even when they are at their least likable, Star is supported by Mum’s friend Cara and a wise librarian at school.

Star is an endearing first person narrator who will have the reader cheering for good things to happen to her. At times she is, as her mother accuses, self centred, but this adds to the sense of realism. She is, after all, a little girl with a lot going on and must look out for herself when it seems no one else is. She also cares about those around her.

Ultimately, Star is a feel good novel about being given a chance to shine.


Star, by Catherine Bateson
Scholastic, 2012
ISBN 9781862919815

Available from good bookstores and online.