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Stargazing by Jen Wang

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ARC was given by in exchange for an honest review

This review is being published before the release date ( September 10, 2019)

Content/Trigger Warnings: Bullying, guilt, minor violence/fighting, medical issues, stereotypical prejudice

Moon is everything Christine feels like she’s not. She’s confident, outgoing, makes friends easily, and they both live in the same Chinese-American community. Unlike like everyone else, Moon is different from everyone else Christine has ever met. After some struggles brew, Moon’s family ends up moving into the spare unit behind Christine’s family home and soon a friendship starts to bloom between the two. But nothing is ever perfect… When a catastrophe strikes and Moon is soon thrown into a whirlwind of struggles, it’s up to Christine to find her courage and be the friend Moon has always been for her.

Stargazing is a graphic novel that follows our two main characters, Christine and Moon. Christine comes from a strict family and constant stress of wanting to be good enough, being perfect enough. Moon comes from a single parent household and is everything Christine isn’t. Carefree, impulsive, and confidence constantly radiates from Moon and Christine can’t help being drawn to her like a moth to a flame. What seems like an unlikely friendship blooms into the best of friends, if not the perfect friends. Both girls end up sharing secrets, painting toe nails, and even plan to attend the school’s talent show together. However, their friendship gets put to the test when the unimaginable happens.

Friends, this was such a cute read! I couldn’t help feeling connected to both main characters and understanding their individual struggles. I’m just sad that this wasn’t longer and that it ended so quickly! I really wanted to read more about Moon and Christine’s friendship! I think anyone who reads this story is going to understand or fall in love with at least one of these characters and their own tale.

“You actually want her to change. You want everything to be perfect! Especially me!”

Seriously though, the family dynamic in this book made me feel so noticed. Moon comes from a single parent household and Christine comes from a strict family, never have I felt like a book understood my childhood. I find that in a lot of books, we never see the strict family dynamic or see the single parent household too often. So seeing a book have both of those dynamics, it made me feel a little soft. I grew up in a strict household until my mother branched out on her own and I just felt a little mushy seeing my two family dynamics represented. It’s not often where I can say ‘I feel represented from a family aspect’ and I love that I can say that with this graphic novel.

I also need to take a moment to appreciate the fact that both main characters felt like real kids. We all had struggles growing up and I think the author does a really amazing job depicting what it truly means to struggle as a child. There’s so many moments that feel so real that I felt like I was reliving my own childhood. For example, there’s a moment where Christine and her dad go out for dessert and Christine ends up confessing how she feels like there’s a pressure on her to be perfect. That moment had me choking back sobs. It’s a really great moment and there’s so many in this graphic novel that so many readers will be able to relate to. I truly think this is going to be a book that is going to let younger readers know, “Hey, you’re not alone!”

Not to mention there’s parts of this story that tie back to the own author’s experience! When the tragedy in this story comes to light, it’s also something that’s happened to the author. And I can’t express how grateful I am that the author mentions this in the back of the book. I love a book that has a personal touch and you can definitely feel that touch with Stargazing.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I already read The Prince and the Dressmaker and fell in love with that graphic novel. So I went in hoping that I would feel the same way with Stargazing and I’m so glad that I did. I definitely think if you’re a lover of Jen Wang’s work then this is going to be another graphic novel you’re going to want in your library. It’s super cute, very precious, and I think many readers should pick this up on release day. Also, the book tour is posted below!

The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

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