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Starfish: A Novel
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Starfish: A Novel

3.27  ·  Rating Details ·  90 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Lionel's life at the Blackfeet Indian Reservation boarding school is easy enough-as long as he follows the rules. But his sister Beatrice refuses, and she insists on honoring the Blackfeet traditions that have been forbidden. When the appearance of a frozen corpse triggers an irreversible chain of events, the pair must flee for their lives on a stolen horse. Somewhere in t ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Disney-Hyperion (first published July 20th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Sep 25, 2010 Debbie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-recommended
This is one of those books that I want to give a no-star rating to because it is so flawed!

It opens with a drunk Indian man who freezes to death in an unlikely physical position. I doubt most readers would pause at that, because in that position, the corpse holds out a bear claw necklace... And in holding out that necklace, the book is framed in that mystical-Indian-story that way too many Americans like to read...

There's a lot wrong with the book. I've given it a close read, and make extensiv
Dec 01, 2016 Raine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
This was one of those books I had an immediate connection to when I saw it in the store, even without reading the synopsis. I was surprised to see that it's ratings aren't the greatest. Many people said it's historically inaccurate. Maybe I am unlearned in the area of native Americans and that's why I didn't notice those particular flaws. I absolutely loved this book. I fell in love with the characters and their story and sympathized with their cruel situation. This book has a great lesson and d ...more
Jan 16, 2012 Alice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'd be generous if I gave this book two stars. Let me put it plain and simple for you...this book was extremely boring.

That's all you really need to know but I feel like a need to give a more detailed review. Like I said this book is boring, it really had potential to be good, two Native American children on their own for the first time, on the run from the government, living off the land. But really it was boring. There was no plot, because there was no problem. They ran away from their governm
Molly (Conan the Librarian) Crumbley
Orphaned Blackfeet Indian siblings Lionel and Beatrice are on the run, forced to leave their oppressive boarding school behind after an unfortunate turn of events. With only a stolen horse and their very basic knowledge of survival skills, the children ride straight into the cold Montana wilderness to escape the men who are after them.

Proud defiant Beatrice can move through the trees like a silent shadow, protecting her little brother as best as she can as they make the trek to their grandfathe
Feb 04, 2011 Ricki rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing this book is a tricky task. The novel reads well and is very engaging. It is best directed toward the tween audience. The problem lies in the fact that the Blackfoot traditions don't appear to be accurately portrayed. So, I am not sure how to rate the book.

I am not a Blackfoot Indian, and my tribe is very different from theirs, so I won't speak directly toward traditions. But, we can start with the name of the tribe. One of my friends is 100% Blackfoot (and grew up on the reservation),
Jan 11, 2011 Tracie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-school
I liked the characters of Lionel and his sister, Beatrice. I loved the scenes when they escape and live on their own in the wilderness - what kid hasn't dreamed of that at one time or another? The opening scenes of the story were difficult to read - for the arrogance and the violence that is portrayed. The ending seemed surreal - as if it all had to be wrapped up quickly.
I don't know enough about Native American cultures to comment on the historical accuracy of this story, but here's a link t
Oct 07, 2015 Vanessa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Addison Children
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chapter-books
This is a historical novel, set in the early 1900s at a Blackfeet Indian Reservation boarding school. This was not a good time to be an Indian. Following an altercation, Lionel and his sister Beatrice steal a prized horse and run away from the school. They manage to eke out a living for several months before the past catches up with them. I was expecting a much sadder ending. This book reminded me of "When My Name was Keoko"� and "Someone Named Eva,"� books set in completely different times and ...more
Dec 03, 2010 Anthony rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found reading the novel to be a great reading experience. It is a beautiful story about a brother and sister that led me to keep referencing and thinking about my relationships with my own younger siblings as I was reading it. James Crowley's words jump off the page to provide a vivid landscape that is so detailed it comes right to life in the mind's eye. The story shows the importance of things such as family, friendship, nature, and remembering where you come from. I would recommend this nov ...more
Hunter Blues
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 04, 2011 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I usually pick up a children's book now and then to see what is new and exciting in children's literature. I was disappointed with this one. It starts with the stereo-typed drucken indian, I thought we were past this. There ia a story line about a government school for homeless indians and how the children escape to find their grandfather. I was hoping for more of a historical fiction type book, but it never made it. In today's world, having a child read is hard enough, but their needs to be bet ...more
Aug 15, 2015 Lydia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This wasn't a bad book, honestly, I probably could have finished it if I'd have pushed myself. I liked Beatrice and the general concept of the book was solid. However, the narration of the book fell flat. It was third person limited, but at a certain point, it went from third person limited to feeling detached all together. He didn't feel like he was apart of the action even though he was. It made it really hard for me to want to back the novel as a whole. That being said, this one is going to g ...more
Rod Winters
Nov 30, 2010 Rod Winters rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a great little piece of work. I recently went to Montana, and took this book with me. I had no idea what it was about, and was quite intrigued by the writing skill. It helped being in a part of America close to the Native American place of interest in the book. I really enjoyed this book, and I'm 41 years old! Look forward to more from this young author. --Rod Winters in Buffalo, New York
Aug 24, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
Overall I liked the book. There were a few spots that I felt like were...hmm...not right. There were points where I felt like something was missing or was handled wrong, but I couldn't think exactly why...probably some inner instinctive biases or something. :)
The storyline is nice and it's a lovely gentle introduction into some Blackfoot traditions. I'm planning on passing the book along to my nieces and nephews to see if they'd enjoy reading it.
Jan 25, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Native American brother and sister flee the school on their reservation when horrible living conditions and treatment push them past the point of tolerance.

Great story about siblings, grandparents, Blackfeet Indians, and so much more.
Mar 08, 2011 Glenn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
The book follows Lionel and his sister Beatrice as they escape from the government run school in the early 1900s. A great book for readers who are ready to tackle longer works but still need simple prose.
Nov 30, 2010 Monica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after seeing the author speak at the Texas Book Festival. It is a page turner, and as someone who doesn't love historical fiction (except for The Killer Angels), I was captivated by the children and their coming of age story.
Sep 22, 2012 Kevin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A captivating story of two native children escaping from the government-enforced boarding school and trying to survive on their own in the wilds of Montana. Some pacing issues and what felt like abrupt ending kept it from being a much better story.
May 19, 2015 Geneva rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tweens
James Crowley takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery and shows what it means to be true to one's culture in the face of others trying to wipe it out. I felt that the book effectively tackled some very difficult issues and is a great read for older kids and young teens.
Apr 13, 2011 Brandonbryer33 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i thought this was a strange book and a poorly written book. I didn't really like it and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I wouldn't waste your time on it.
May 02, 2011 Shauna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not a whole lot of children books have this side of the story. adds depth to the western movement era.
Aug 19, 2011 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-and-ya
Well-written and engaging...but contains some stereotypical portrayals.
Decent historical fiction.
Tracy Evans
Nov 24, 2012 Tracy Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good kids book, some language, sad
Edward Sullivan
I do not knowledgable enough to comment on the story's cultural authenticity, but the charcaters are appealing and the story touches upon some compelling themes.
Scarlet Nell June
Nov 18, 2011 Scarlet Nell June rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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Mary Ann
A sad comentary on the history of our country, yet accurate in so many ways.
Ernesto Hernandez
Ernesto Hernandez rated it did not like it
Nov 05, 2014
Elie rated it it was ok
Jan 25, 2013
Cassie rated it did not like it
Apr 12, 2015
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Crowley's depictions of Blackfeet culture... 2 5 Apr 12, 2015 08:08AM  

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