Stars in the Grass / by Ann Marie Stewart. 1.18.2018

Barbour Publishing ISBN 9781634099509

Adult Rating: 5

Stars in the Grass is the account of one family’s journey through tragedy, told in the voice of nine-year-old Abby McAndrews, whose eloquence leavens the weightiness of the subject with humor and the wonders of a child’s perspective and resilience.

During the summer of 1970, the McAndrews family enjoys an idyllic vacation by the beach–until Abby’s three-year-old brother Joel is killed in a car accident. The story follows the grief and pain experienced by each family member: Abby’s father, a minister, who cannot return to his pulpit and withdraws even from his own family; her mother, who tries to hold everyone together but eventually reaches a crossroads; her brother, who responds by making poor choices. Abby herself has trouble returning to her former life at school, church and with friends. There is hope in the end, but this book does not gloss over the fact that healing requires the passage of time, the support of family and community, and turning to God even when the reasons He allows suffering are not clear.

Author Ann Marie Stewart gives Abby a poetic voice, and her writing conveys the depth of the characters’ feelings, the nostalgia of an earlier time, and ultimately hope for those going through unspeakable loss.

Angela L. Walsh, CLJ