Shooting Stars begins somewhat unbelievably, with a woman and her baby (Egan) traversing a river in the dead of night to escape (as it is later revealed) a life of domestic abuse. Their destination, a hidden and dilapidated hut deep in the NZ forest, where they will live in hiding for 15 years.
The mother nurtures a love of writing and reading in her son. This passion and his aspiration to become a writer are the basis of the book’s story. Diary entries, thoughts and words of the day, along with some of Egan’s attempts at writing are included in the layout. This style, in addition to short chapters, makes the book fast-paced. It will appeal to both avid and reluctant readers.
There are moments of sadness, humour and many thought provoking inclusions based around the ‘code’ of rules taught to Egan by his mother.
The book takes many twists and turns, some credible, others a little far-fetched, for example: finding his way after 15 years of total isolation to the city of Auckland. Description of violence toward an animal, physical domestic abuse, and reference to drugs and glue sniffing would suggest the book is best suited for young adults.
Recommended level would be Year 10+ and although most of the characters and story line would suggest it would appeal to males, I consider there is plenty to capture a female reader.
A fantastic read.
Title: Shooting Stars ISBN:1775433609 Author(s): (First name, Surname) Brian Falkner Publisher: Scholastic Format: Paperback Age: 13+ Reviewer: Lynne Rance, School Librarian at Kuranui College