Paterson, Katherine. The same stuff as stars.

Author:Rosser, Claire
Position:Book Review - Young Adult Review - Brief Article

Houghton Mifflin, Clarion. 242p. c2002 0-618-24744-0. $15.00. J *

It's difficult to decide what is a YA novel, but in the end I feel that this story of a resilient child (11 years old) will have appeal to readers even older than she is, in the way that One Child by Torey Hayden appeals to all ages. Psychologists are wondering more and more why certain children seem to have the resilience to survive neglect and abuse, and why they are able to act like responsible adults for themselves and younger siblings when the need arises. Angel Morgan is just such a child. She lives in Vermont and would be classified by sociologists as part of the rural poor. Her father is in jail; her mother is incompetent. After a visit to the prison at the beginning of the narrative, Angel's mother puts Angel and her younger brother Bernie into her old car, drives them to the father's grandmother, and then drives away, leaving the children with their great-grandmother. This is history repeating itself, because Angel's father as a child was dumped here as well. This is not a loving, nurturing grandmother, and her confidence in her own ability to raise children is nonexistent, for good reason.

Angel manages the whining Bernie brilliantly and finds a way to get food on the table because she knows that canned peaches and baked beans from the grandmother's stock are insufficient nutrition. She gets connected to the local library, enrolls herself and her brother in school, endures the humiliating comments from her classmates, and generally copes with life's...

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