Title: Stargazing for Beginners
Author: Jenny McLachlan
Publication Date: 6th April 2017
Format: eBook ARC
Note: This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her.
And Mum’s disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She’ll need a miracle of cosmic proportions …
Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction – with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.
What I Thought:
Stargazing for Beginners tells the story of Meg, it follows a fairly brief but important part of her life. It’s a story of both strength and weakness, of both discovery and self-discovery and the importance of friendships.
Meg the central character of the tale is named after Megara from Hercules by her Disney obsessed mother. Meg is the opposite of her mother, studious, focused and organised, Meg does not do flighty, she is however in awe of space and determined to fulfil her long held ambition to become an astronaut. She has spent her life slowly working through the steps to help her achieve her dream, next up is a trip to NASA. Her family can’t afford to pay the several thousand pounds so her only hope is to win the local schools’ competition. Only problem… the competition is a speech writing contest and Meg hates public speaking, trying to get over her fear she starts working on her speech only for her mother not to return from dropping a friend at the airport, instead Meg gets a phone call from the plane to find her mother is instead heading to the other side of the world for two weeks leaving Meg to watch her baby sister.
I really struggled with this part of the book, Meg’s mum just made me so angry! I’m not a parent but I can’t imaging leaving my teenage daughter, telling her I’m just dropping a friend at the airport when the whole time I’m actually planning on vanishing to the opposite side of the world for two weeks. Meg’s grandpa also annoyed me a little at this point, he’s really in no position to look after Meg and Elsa although he does his best to come up with ways to make the situation work, he makes excuses for his daughter, he;s not angry that she’s left her two children, with no notice, no money, and no real thought about what they’ll do while she’s away, he just dismisses it as being just like her, always free spirited.
I kept going with the book, as despite the two adults in her life making me so angry, the book was well written and I identified with Meg, I was a science geek growing up, although I was never abandoned by my parents! I’m glad I carried on as I really enjoyed what followed, despite the book covering such a short period of time I really enjoyed seeing the development in Meg, moving from being isolated and quite determined to rely only on herself to realising that letting people in isn’t a bad thing. I really enjoyed the emergence of the Broken Biscuit Club and the development of her friendship with Ed. I loved the whole ‘It takes a village’ feeling I got by the end of the book.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! Overall it’s a well written tale of the importance of friendship, with added science! The portrayal of several adults within the story annoyed me, but that’s not to say it’s not true to life for some people, no matter how much my parents may have annoyed me as a teenager I will always be grateful for the fact I knew that they would always be there when I needed them. The story of the teacher that made Meg lose her confidence also made me incredibly grateful that all my teachers were hugely supporive of me, always willing to encourage and give me extra work to challenge me, they certainly never mocked me in front of the class. Again I know for some people this type of teacher is the reality and it saddens me to think how much potential we could be losing. At the same time I know for everyone of these teachers there are hundreds more encouraging their pupils to be all they can be and I loved Meg’s development. I could easily of read more about her, Ed and the Broken Biscuit Club, if we’re lucky maybe we’ll get it!