Have you ever read a book that was so good it made you want to jump inside of it and live among the characters? Every Soul a Star is one of those books. Wendy Mass, the author, has crafted characters that are so real they could actually be living down the street from you or sitting next to you in class. And don't get me started on the setting...Great Galileo's Ghost!
The Moon Shadow Campground is a place that every kid dreams his parents will take him for vacation. Besides being an astronomy haven and the number one spot in the nation to watch the upcoming solar eclipse, the campground offers its guests many unique areas to explore, called the "Unusuals." This includes a labyrinth (which is like a maze, but not exactly), panning for gold, painting the Art House (yes, you paint the actual house), Alien Central, the Sun Garden, and the Star Garden.
Confession Time: I've never been camping in my life (the combination of bugs, no toilets, and bathing in rivers never appealed to me) but I would be tempted to book a ticket to the Moon Shadow Campground tonight-- if it weren't a fictional place, that is.
Every Soul a Star revolves around three characters:
Alpha (or Ally) is lucky enough to live at the Moon Shadow. Her parents have owned the campground since before she could remember and she couldn't imagine living anywhere else. She has been home schooled her entire life and her best friends, Eta, Glenn, and Peggy, are the kind you can only see through a telescope. You can imagine her shock and consternation (meaning alarm or worry) when her parents tell her they are packing up and moving to Chicago.
It just so happens that beautiful, suburbia-loving Bree, born to scientist parents (she swears she was switched at birth) is moving to the Moon Shadow. Her family is going to take over the campground for the next few years while Ally's family returns to civilization. Despite her pleading and begging, Bree must leave behind her clothes, her friends, her makeup, her LIFE.
Jack is the quiet kid who sits in the back of the room drawing, trying to blend in and not be noticed. Slightly overweight and uninterested in school or friends (or anything for that matter), he accepts an offer from his science teacher, Mr. Silver, to accompany him on a trip to the Moon Shadow campground to watch the solar eclipse and perform an important science experiment. Although he couldn't care less about the eclipse, helping Mr. Silver with the experiment will get him out of going to summer school.
These three completely different kids with completely different lives have no idea that their paths will become forever intertwined...
Recipe to Read By: Man-in-the-Moon Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups flour
frosting in white or light yellow (use canned frosting or make your favorite recipe)
Yellow sugar sprinkles
mini chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Cream butter and sugar together.
3. Beat in egg and vanilla.
4. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. The dough will be stiff.
DO NOT CHILL THE DOUGH!
5. Roll one half of the dough out about 1/4 of an inch thick.
6. Cut out cookies using a moon-shaped cookie cutter. (Or use a round cookie cutter and then cut in half to make a crescent moon.)
7. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet for 10-12 minutes. (Watch carefully so your moons don't burn. Nobody wants to eat a black moon!)
8. Remove from oven and allow to cool on cookie sheet for five minutes before placing cookies onto wire rack.
9. After cookies are completely cool, frost. (Load up that frosting--Mmmm)
10. Sprinkle with yellow sugar sprinkles.
11. Add a candy corn nose and a mini-chocolate chip eye.
12. Dust off your telescope and take a bite out of the moon while gazing at the sky.
*Recipe courtesy of http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/sherwood/504/mooncookie.html.