Gillian McDunn’s These Unlucky Stars is a beautiful look at family, community, and the way we are sometimes the unreliable narrator of our own story.
Sixth-almost-Seventh grader Annie Logan was told she was born under an unlucky star. Her window breaks, her books fall into a mud puddle, and she doesn’t have a single friend. Her favorite place in the world is a patch of her roof just outside her window, where she can see the mountains and feel the breezes they send her. When a ding-dong-ditch attempt goes south, Annie finds her fate intertwined with the person she was going to prank: an elderly woman named Gloria and her questionable dog.
As the summer commences and Annie finds herself making friends in unexpected places, she may just find the community she’s been searching for was there all along, if only she can learn to see it.
This middle grade novel tackles several big themes kids can relate to, from struggling to make friends to sibling rivalry to being abandoned by a parent. Each difficult topic is handled gracefully and tenderly. The reader gets to be inside Annie’s head, seeing her experiences through her eyes. As Annie learns to look outward more and open herself up, she may find that the only unlucky star in her sky is the one she painted there.
This tender story also tackles the hardship of loving an elderly person, including if that person struggles with memory issues and medical issues. Annie has tough decisions to make as her elderly friend asks Annie to withhold potentially dangerous information from a caregiver.
This novel was beautifully written with spectacular descriptions, well developed characters, and a well placed plot. As Annie learns self-awareness, it encourages others to look at her differently as well. Anyone who has ever felt like the odd one out will be able to find themselves in this sweet story.
These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn will be released March 2, 2021. Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books for the advanced copy!