Book Review: A Star for the Latecomer

Were there other kids out there whose parents wanted them to be big football heroes, or presidents of the class? The pressure to succeed must be felt by a lot of kids I know. To live up to our parents’ expectations for us, to make them proud of us, to love us. What price do we pay for their love?

A Star for the Latecomer by Bonnie Zindel and Paul Zindel was another library book sale find. I was really intrigued by the tagline (“Her mother wanted her to be famous. Brooke wanted to be in love.”) and the cover. A dancing book! I thought with excitement. A dancing book with a girl who is torn between a boy and dancing and her mother’s dreams and her own!

Yeah, not quite. This is actually a book about a girl (Brooke) whose mother is dying of cancer. Which…not so fun as the story I had made up based on the cover. That said, it is an interesting story of how a girl deals with her mother’s impending death as well as how it conflicts with what she wants for herself. I mean, her mom does want her to be famous, and she does just kind of want to chase after Brandon (for that is the boy’s name).

The book is well-written, but not quite what I wanted to read. Most of Brooke’s turmoil is internal. I don’t feel like she ever really confronts what her mother wants versus what she wants. It’s all about her being sad and trying to audition for stuff so her mom will be happy. Which…okay.  But  that’s seriously the WHOLE book. I would have much rather read about her navigating the tricky emotional landscape of her dead mother’s dream for her and what happens if she doesn’t pursue it. I just think that would have been a more interesting story. As it is, it’s just, you know, all right. Sad to be sure, but just all right.

YA of the ’80s and ’90s: 1; Off the Shelf: 3/5; YA Reading Challenge: 5/20

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