Rummanah Aasi
  Hope is a Ferris Wheel is about a girl named Star who is unique, determined, and spunky who maintains her optimism and hope despite the large obstacles that she has to overcome. Please note this is a review of the advanced reader's copy of the book provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

Description: Ten-year-old Star Mackie lives in a trailer park with her flaky mom and her melancholy older sister, Winter, whom Star idolizes. Moving to a new town has made it difficult for Star to make friends, when her classmates tease her because of where she lives and because of her layered blue hair. But when Star starts a poetry club, she develops a love of Emily Dickinson and, through Dickinson’s poetry, learns some important lessons about herself and comes to terms with her hopes for the future.

Review: Star Mackie is a quirky fifth-grader overflowing with hope. She really wants to make friends, but that seems like an impossible goal to achieve at her new school since she is teased for living in a pink trailer and having strangely layered blue hair. Her goth sister and closest ally, Winter, fuels Star’s hope of one day connecting with the father she has yet to meet.
  Inspired by her Winter, Star starts a school club in order to make friends, and along the way she develops a fascination with Emily Dickinson’s poetry and declares that to be the club’s focus. Star does everything she can to make the club work, and slowly her club develops an audience. When Star learns the shocking truth about her own family, Dickinson’s poetry helps her understand her crazy world and accept who she is.
  I had a hard time getting into Star's story. The plot meandered quite a bit and I was wondering where the story was going after finishing the first of the book. Star is adorable and delightful narrator, but quite often the secondary characters, particularly those who are vocal at her after school club steal the spotlight. I like how the inclusion of poetry added depth to the story, but Star sometimes come across as too naive as readers grasp her epiphanies two steps before she does.I also liked how Star's family's financial and domestic situations are not commonly found in most children books and are handled sensitively. Though Star faces many obstacles, the author never resolves to cloak her story into sadness but always shows Star being optimistic. 

Rating: 3 stars

Words of Caution: There is mention of teen pregnancy in the novel, but it is not explicit in detail. Recommended for Grades 4 and up.

If you like this book try: Almost Home by Joan Bauer, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, Because of Win-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
3 Responses
  1. Hmm sounds like a an interesting middle grade read. I am most curious about the family situation.

  2. I think this might be a bit young for my brother and cousin, but it sounds like a cute, feel good type of read for tweens on the younger side.

  3. I like the fact that it brings up sensitive subjects. A lot of books for this age just don't seem to tackle subjects kids might be trying to deal with. For that reason, this book sounds great.

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