The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls
A Novel

74%

10 Critic Reviews

“The Silver Star” turns out to be an absorbing, unsentimental tale of childhood, place and emus.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ gripping new novel that "transports us with her powerful storytelling...She contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away" (O, The Oprah Magazine).

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.
 

About Jeannette Walls

See more books from this Author
Jeannette Walls was born in Phoenix, Arizona on April 21, 1960. She graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York City for twenty years. Her books include her memoir entitled,The Glass Castle and a fiction novel based on her grandmother entitled, Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel. Walls has also written for New York Magazine, Esquire and USA Today. She lives in Manhattan with ther husband, journalist John J. Taylor.
 
Published June 11, 2013 by Scribner. 305 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jun 30 2013
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for The Silver Star
All: 10 | Positive: 7 | Negative: 3

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Chelsea Cain on Jun 28 2013

“The Silver Star” turns out to be an absorbing, unsentimental tale of childhood, place and emus.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on May 29 2013

Not even a chestnut tree in “The Silver Star” gets to stand around without doing double duty....And not even the dog named Dog lacks a plot function.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Apr 15 2013

When Bean reads To Kill a Mockingbird in school, she seems like a long-lost cousin to Scout, and to the young Walls herself.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Meg Wolitzer on Jun 10 2013

The Silver Star is narrated by a brave heroine with an earnest voice, but Bean and her older sister, Liz, are often adrift, not only in their own lives, but also within this story, which can seem unsure of what it wants to be.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from NPR

Kirkus

Excellent
on Mar 11 2013

Walls turns what could have been another sentimental girl-on-the-run-finds-home cliché into a fresh consideration of both adolescence and the South on the cusp of major social change.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Star Tribune

Below average
Reviewed by Cynthia Dickison on Jun 09 2013

...Walls commits the common folly of adults who attempt to write as children. Her Bean is an exaggerated version of a teenager, by turns naively babyish and overly mature, and uses such anachronistic adjectives as “epically weird” and “killer.”

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Elizabeth Warkentin on Jul 05 2013

While Walls’s story, as told by Bean, is highly readable, fans of her bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, may find it too much of a déjà vu.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from Toronto Star

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 21 2013

No sides are taken by the author in these arguments, which is one more reason the novel is an engaging read.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

The Miami Herald

Good
Reviewed by S. Kirk Walsh on Jul 14 2013

In the end, Bean and her voice supply the lively pulse for this novel. As readers, we root for her at every turn — with hopes that she will find a different way of life, that she’ll forge friendships at her new high school and that she and her sister will survive the trials of their traumatic childhoods.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel

National Post arts

Good
Reviewed by Philip Marchand on Jun 21 2013

No sides are taken by the author in these arguments, which is one more reason the novel is an engaging read.

Read Full Review of The Silver Star: A Novel | See more reviews from National Post arts

Reader Rating for The Silver Star
76%

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