Kepler's Dream
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Kepler's Dream

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  336 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A young girl makes her fractured family whole again with the help of a very special book

When eleven-year-old Ella's mother has to be hospitalized to undergo a dangerous cancer treatment, Ella spends the summer at "Broken Family Camp" with her eccentric grandmother, whom she's never met. The situation is hardly ideal for either of them. Ella is scared her mother may die, bu...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,136)
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Donalyn
This may seem like a heretical idea (especially on goodreads), but some people think that book collectors and those of us who spend a lot of time reading are disconnected from the real world. It is hard to explain that we read and adore books so much because we love life and see books as a way of capturing all of life's moments and the people who shape us.
Ella's Grandmother feels this way about books, too. Her attachment to Kepler's Dream expresses her love for her husband, who died in an accide...more
Brandy Painter
Aug 17, 2012 Brandy Painter marked it as unfinished-life-is-too-short
So I read the first chapter of this and had to put it aside. It's funny the things that can make or break a book. In this case? The story takes placed in Albuquerque and the MC described the June night as "freezing" and "icy". I thought maybe it was 11 year old exageration. But then the other 11 year old concurred. Huh I thought. Maybe they don't actually live IN Albuquerque but in the mountains outside. I still wouldn't use the word icy but it would be more understandable. But nope. She mention...more
Shirley
Kepler's Dream is a 5th. through 8th. grade novel with some excellent characterizations. Abercrombie was the character that I loved to hate. He was as despicable as a villain in a silent movie.

Yes, you could call Ella's family dysfunctional, but there was still an undercurrent of love and caring despite their issues. The numerous instances of (expletive deleted) brought humor as Ella and her friends and family sought to solve the mystery of the disappearance of an extremely valuable book called...more
Tian Lin
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
BAYA Librarian
Eleven year old Ella is shipped off to stay with her rigid grandmother on a remote ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico while her mother is undergoing cancer treatments and her distant father is off leading fishing trips. Ella hardly knows her grandmother, having seen her last when she was a baby, just as her parents were splitting up. So we’ve got a child of divorced parents, a catastrophically ill mother, an estranged father who is unreliable and rarely available, a cold, formal grandmother, still...more
Jennifer
Ella’s mother has been sick with cancer for many years. Now doctors want to try a dangerous stem cell transplant as a last ditch effort to save her life. While she undergoes this treatment, Ella needs somewhere to stay. Her parents are divorced, and her father has been absent for most of Ella’s life. Because he will be busy leading fishing expeditions, he suggests that his daughter spend the summer with her grandmother, a woman Ella has never met. Having no other options, Ella and her dog fly to...more
Ms. Yingling
Ella's mother is ill with cancer, so she is sent to the home of her quirky grandmother (known as GM), where she at least has the company of Rosie, the daughter of a man who works for GM. After a disturbance on the grounds one night (and there's a map at the beginning of the book), GM discovers that a valuable book has been stolen from their library; Kepler's Dream. Ella's grandfather, who was an astronomer and knew Michael Collins, valued the book, so Ella (who has nothing better to do with her...more
Teresa Garrett
Ella's mother has leukemia and is scheduled for a stem cell transplant on the fourth of July and no one knows where Ella can stay. Ella's parents are divorced and live far apart. Walt, Ella's dad, suggests she spend the summer with her grandmother whom Ella has never met. With only strange stories from her mom about this mysterious relative Ella is excited and scared of spending time with her grandmother in New Mexico. When she arrives her grandmother is as mysterious as is her House of Mud, Ell...more
Holly
4.5 stars. This is a quiet, meaningful story about family, books, and stars. Eleven-year-old Ella has to spend the summer at her (expletive deleted) grandmother's peacock-infested house in Albuquerque because her mother is undergoing cancer treatments. She's never met her eccentric grandmother before, and quickly starts calling her GM (General Major) to herself because of her stern and unaffectionate mannerisms. She slowly befriends Rosie, who lives close by, and whose father works for GM. Ella'...more
Seabreeze
Aug 31, 2013 Seabreeze rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th-8th good readers, esp. girls, interested children's writers
Keppler's Dream written by Juliet Bell,first time author,must have slipped under the radar of reviewers that I read. The cover blurb by author MIchael Chabon, catches some of its honesty and readability. He said of the book,"Sweet funny and charming."

THe official summary gives a sense of the plot and setting.Ella's mother is near death and ELla must go somewhere while her mom gets tratment. The grandmother she has forgotten is not Ella's first choice but there are no others. Especially appealin...more
Barbara
While her mother fights for her life and undergoes invasive treatment for her cancer, Ella has nowhere else to go but to her paternal grandmother's home in Albuquerque. Since her parents' divorce, eleven-year-old Ella has had little contact with her father since he often heads off on fishing expeditions from his Spokane, Washington base of operations. Since Ella doesn't remember ever meeting this grandmother, she is understandably reluctant to stay with her, and her insistence on proper grammar...more
Tripp
Begins in medias res as a commotion at night outside the adobe house of main character Ella Mackenzie's grandmother awakens everyone. They discover that grandmother Violet Von Stern's copy of Kepler's Somnium, or Dream, has been stolen from her detached library, a chapel-like structure twenty-some feet from her house in New Mexico. After this cliff hanger to end chapter one, Bell, moves back in time to fill in the vents leading up to the theft, an exposition that occupies the next 100 pages. Inc...more
Emily Calzi
Kepler’s Dream is the story of a young girl (eleven) named Ella MacKenzie, whose adventure is the key to mending her lost and heart-broken. The story life is filled with adventure, love, family, forgiveness, dedication and journey. When Ella’s mother becomes ill and diagnosed with cancer, Ella is sent off for the summer to the “Broken Family Camp” in Albuquerque, New Mexico with her Grandmother she has not seen since she was a little girl. Her grandmother is dry and rigid, only caring about her...more
Deborah
I had heard great things about this book, and all the good buzz was definitely deserved. Ella is a great character. Readers can take her seriously, but still laugh at all her jokes (*"Roald Dahl recipe book" is all I'll say here). There is not one character in this book that does not feel genuine and fully formed (and that goes for the animals in the book too!). There are so many traps that the author could have fallen into, such as making Ella's sick mother a saint (instead there were many refe...more
Megan
May 07, 2012 Megan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 4th-8th grade
Ella’s mother needs special treatments for her leukemia; Ella’s father is leading fishing expeditions and has never really had time for Ella. So Ella is sent to live with her stern grandmother who she has never met before. Grandmother’s house is filled with “stuff” from her travels, but her greatest pride is in her library filled with rare books.

The story starts out with a mystery: Grandmother’s most prized book, Kepler’s Dream, has disappeared. Ella and her new friend, Rosie, are determined to...more
Jackie
When Ella MacKenzie has to stay with a grandmother who she has never had any contact with, her fears about her mother's cancer and the radical treatment she needs to undergo are made even more daunting and frightening. Her father, Walter doesn't have much contact with her or his mother so Ella knows virtually nothing about this mysterious woman.

She arrives in Albuquerque, New Mexico to find a stern, almost unloving woman who is mad at the world, it seems. But, she does love her books, her liber...more
snb
Starred Kirkus

With her mother off on a lunar mission—a last-ditch treatment for leukemia—Ella is left circling like astronaut Michael Collins awaiting the hoped-for reunion. She and her mom have always admired Collins’ bravery, and it turns out the analogy has personal resonance.



When no one else is able to take Ella, she is sent to stay with GM (Grandmother/General Major), a woman Ella has never met. Or has she? The family history is as difficult to navigate as GM’s peacock-ridden, jam-packed ha...more
lisa
I really liked the bones of this story (who doesn't like stories about a precocious young girl, bravely facing her mother's illness, surrounded by a cast of eccentric characters) but the execution of it was not great. The editing was terrible -- there were several instances when the characters were described as wearing different clothes than they started out in. Also, as someone who has lived in Albuquerque for the past eight years, I couldn't figure out where the grandmother's house was suppose...more
Tracy Holczer
This was a magical book that took me to another place. Set in Albuquerque (Rhyme's with beef jerky according to Ella), the main character has been sent to live with her estranged paternal grandmother as her mother goes through treatment for cancer. Surrounded by desert, adobe and peacocks, Ella goes about living day to day with a bibliofile grandmother who doesn't show much interest in her other than to correct her grammer. But Ella deals with the hand given her with heart and grace. She discove...more
Pat
Yes. 5 stars. I loved this. It's a children's book, but any adult would find this one a pleasure to read. You might not think so, given that the protagonist is an 11-year-old girl who is forced to spend the summer with her forbidding grandmother while her mother undergoes stem-cell transplant for leukemia, but so many rich things happen in this that it all reads like a dream.
Mary Louise Sanchez




Eleven-year-old Ella MacKenzie's mother's radical cancer treatment and her absentee professional fisherman father are the reasons Ella must travel to Albuquerque to stay for the summer with her paternal grandmother whom she's never met and her father, Walter, is estranged from. Ella learns her grandmother (GM) loves good grammar, peacocks, her dead astonomy loving husband and their books, especially the rare Dream of the Moon by a seventeenth century astronomer named Kepler. Then the book is sto...more
David Molnar
Endearing, upbeat, quick read, although not really my usual fare. Well, I do enjoy a fair amount of YA, but this had no magic, very little irony, and not even any Mathematics. It was labelled as a Mystery (from my library, anyway) which, well, I guess technically - there is something that needs to be figured out, and that adds some eleven-year-old urgency to the story, keeps it moving. The main character, however, is not lacking in energy or charm to begin with, so the "mystery" aspect is almost...more
Melissapalmer404
Book #19 Read in 2013
Kepler's Dream by Juliet Bell (YA)

Ella's mother is undergoing chemotherapy. Due to this, Ella is sent to spend the summer with the grandmother she has never met. GM (Grandmother or more aptly, General Major) is a stern woman who upholds grammatical rules, the importance of books and maintaining a healthy emotional distance. Then GM's most treasured piece of her library is stolen and Ella and her friend Rose begin to investigate the robbery.

This book was a good read. Ella is...more
Addi
This book is about an 11 year old girl named Ella, and her family. She has to move to her Grandmothers house, Violet vonSTERN! Miss Vonstern is very strict and likes very proper grammar. Ella thought it would be the worst summer ever. She had a mom with cancer, bad hair cut, and no wifi. Util the famous Kepler's dream goes missing. And her and "the workers" daughter has to turn into detectives.

I gave these book 3 stars because, it got very very dry. Also it jumped to one thing to another. But i...more
Connie
I read this one for a mock Newbery discussion. The storyline & characters were fairly interesting but, in my opinion, not award-worthy. The voice of the main character, Ella, reminded me too much of Sammy Keyes (a character I love!). Compared to "Sammy Keys and the Hotel Thief", "Kepler's Dream" felt flat. I also found the secondary characters (the Aguilar family) more engaging than the primary characters. Without giving away the plot, I would say the first half of the book moves along as yo...more
Anne
Ella's parents divorced when she was very young. Her dad moved away to guide fishing trips. Now her mom has been diagnosed with leukemia and needs some radical treatment, so Ella needs a place to stay while Mom is in the hospital. Dad can't do it, but his mother will take Ella into her adobe home in the desert. Ella refers to her grandmother as the GM for General Major, her home as the Good Grammar Correctional Facility and her stay there as Broken Family Camp. There are a few bright spots but t...more
Karen Arendt
This story has a little bit of mystery (a rare book gets stolen), a little bit of tragedy (mom has leukemia and needs a stem cell transplant), and a little bit of dysfunctional family (divorced dad is seldom around and Ella needs to send the summer with a grandmother she has never met). Yet the story grabs hold of you from the very first chapter that puts you in the middle of the story. Then Ella rewinds back to tell the reader how the book went missing and how she ended up with her gramdmother...more
Meredith
I started off really liking this book. I didn't have time to read most of the books on our December list, so I read a bunch of first chapters, and this was the only one I wanted to keep reading. It started in medeas res, Ella had a great sense of humor, the writing was fresh, and I always like mysteries. "We have to find the missing book!" reminded me of the Peggy Parish novels I read back in elementary school (haven't revisited, so I don't know if they hold up).

Unfortunately, my enthusiasm wan...more
Maria Burel
Sent to spend a summer with a grandmother she's never met, while her mother receives an intensive cancer treatment thousands of miles away, Ella knows that this may be the longest summer of her life. But when a beloved (and valuable) book is stolen from her grandmother's library, Ella suddenly finds herself in the middle of a mystery that involves not only the book, but much of what she thinks she knows about her family.

Kepler's Dream initially seems like a book about dealing with illness, but i...more
Karen
I finished this over a week-span, due to busy schedule this past week. However, I really enjoyed several plot elements -- Ella, the main character, has a mom receiving a bone marrow transplant to hopefully cure her leukemia. We watch as Ella navigates her sadness and concern for her mom. She has to go to live with her dad's mom, because her dad said he was too busy to take her (parents are divorced). I also like how Ella makes a new "family" while having to stay away from her mom for several mon...more
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