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Chasing Orion

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  197 ratings  ·  46 reviews
When a beautiful teen with polio enters their lives, a girl and her older brother find themselves drawn into a web of lies in this compelling novel by a best-selling author.

Eleven-year-old Georgie loves science-fiction movies, but she won’t be going to the theater anytime soon. It’s a hot Indiana summer in 1952, and public places from pools to camps are closing to slow the
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published May 11th 2010 by Candlewick (first published September 11th 2007)
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Community Reviews

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Margo Tanenbaum
Kathryn Lasky's newest novel is set in Indiana during a polio epidemic in the summer of 1952. The story is narrated by 11-year-old Georgie, who has just moved cross-town to a new neighborhood, where she knows no one. Georgie is bored out of her mind, since she's not allowed to swim in public pools, go to camp or to the movies because of the all-pervasive fear of contracting polio. Georgie has a strange obsession with the disease, tracking the number of new cases daily in the newspaper and memori ...more
This YA book had many different interwoven layers. The main story was set in the 50's during the time before the polio vaccine. Pools and movie theaters were closing to stop the disease from spreading. Georgie's teenage next-door-neighbor fell victim to this terrible disease is no longer able to breathe on her own. Actually meeting a polio surviver who lives in an iron lung is fascinating to Georgie who is a little bit obsessed with reading the daily stats on polio cases in the newspaper every d ...more
Chasing Orion is a wholly different sort of fictional perspective on the time of the major U.S. polio outbreak in the early 1950s. Before Jonas Salk developed his polio vaccine in 1955, the epidemic of this fearsome and frightening disease ravaged the middle of our country for a span of a few years, littering cities big and small with dead and disfigured citizens as plentifully as discarded candy wrappers, and understandably causing much fear and some degree of panic in people who were afraid t ...more
Author Kathryn Lasky was prompted to write Chasing Orion, by her own childhood experiences growing up in the 1950s. As a child Lasky read newspaper stories about polio cases, then checked herself obsessively for symptoms, and then – due to the hot Indiana summers – begged to go swimming, since “it was so hard to imagine that I might actually die from it.”

In Chasing Orion, 11-year-old Georgie becomes obsessed with the 1952 polio epidemic spreading rapidly across her home state of Indiana as the
This book offers an insightful look into life during the polio scare of the early 1950s. The story is almost more of a journal, with the main character sharing all of her conflicting hopes, emotions, and dreams. I liked the sincere voice of a preteen, with the angst of wanting to grow up, fit in, and make friends.

Our oldest has been a big fan of Kathryn Lasky's books; she's read all of the Wolves of the Beyond series and is still working her way through the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She was
Set in the 1950s during the polio epidemics, this is a many layered story. I am not sure how students today would handle this book. I think it would best be left to girls to find it on their own.
Quick Review: I enjoyed this story about life during the summer of 1952, when the fear of polio had public places (like theaters and swimming pools) closing one after another. Georgia, our 11-year-old narrator, is fed-up. Not only has her family just moved all the way across their Indiana town (meaning she'll have to switch schools and never sees her old friends), but because of polio, all her favorite summer activities have been canceled. She and her teenage brother, Emmett, are stuck at home. ...more
I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and flowed smoothly. A very quick read. I learned a lot that I didn't know and also enjoyed getting to know the characters. I gave four stars instead of five because I would have liked to see a but more wrap up between Georgie, Emmett and Phyllis. Their relationship ended very abruptly and I would have liked to see a bit more. Other than that a great read that brought the horrors of the polio epidemic to life.
Dana C.
Lasky is a master at weaving an interest in science into a fictional story. I am sad after having read this book. Although the main character is resilient in the face of a sinister foil, the climax was a bit abrupt. Loose ends dangle and I may have to dream new endings until I put this story to rest.
Bvlmc Buchanan Verplanck Elementary School
In the summer of 1952, a polio outbreak shuts down public spaces in a small Indiana town. New to the neighborhood, eleven year old Georgie and her seventeen year old brother Emmett meet their seventeen year old neighbor Phyllis who is encased in an iron lung. Through summer evenings star gazing, both siblings form a relationship with Phyllis. However, Georgie soon becomes uneasy with Phyllis' manipulation of those around her and in particular her hold over Emmett. As Georgie struggles to make se ...more
Elizabeth Turner
I really liked this book. It didn't hit me as much as I read it, but after reading it the book stayed on my mind. It gave me some insight into life during in a different era, and insight into the world that existed when polio was an active threat.
My weird obsession with fictional works with polio plot lines led me a little astray here--too "spooky" for me, may have worked when I was in 4th grade (which is the target audience, after all.) The search continues...
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This is a great book about a girl who just moved to a new home (Georgie) and her new neighbor (Phyllis) who has polio and an iron lung,and how they eventually become friends.
If the first 250 pages had been tightened to 150 pages I might have loved this book. The story of living during the time when uncontrolled Polio destroyed lives, tugged at my heart. Georgie's love and concern for her brother Emmett who thinks he's in love with Phyllis who lives in an Iron Lung are a great plot. But the author spends so much time wallowing in Georgie's thoughts which are not always relevant to the story or accurate for the 1950's, seems to go on forever. Then the climax is told i ...more
A precocious and lonely 11 year old girl moves in next door to a teenager in an iron lung, victim to the polio outbreak in the 1950's. It's an interesting and emotional story, told by a very emotionally deep 11 year old (kind of surprised the author didn't make her older). It's a well written book and I learned something about what it would be like to have polio, but I didn't like that the tone of the book was so negative. It focused nearly completely on what the girl lost, not on what she had o ...more
Susan P
I bought this for J Fiction and one of my coworkers read it and thought it might be better in YA. Need to read it to find out.

Now that I've read it, I kind of agree. My coworker lived during this time of polio paranoia, and that part of the book really could be kind of scary for kids. Georgie's family moves to a new neighborhood, and the next door neighbor - a beautiful high school girl - is in an iron lung due to polio. She seduces Georgie's shy older brother over the course of several months,
This book was an interesting historical fiction about the time when polio was a real threat to young people around the world. Chasing Orion follows a young lady desperate to be normal and to be involved in group activities in their new town (like swimming) but instead having to be shielded and sheltered for her own health. She and her older brother befriend their neighbor, Phyllis, a 17-year old in an iron lung. Phyllis is very manipulative and soon entraps them in a dangerous scheme. Interestin ...more
Scott Williams
We liked the setting (Indianapolis) and subject (polio epidemic) but the pacing was slow and the book was long - felt like we were reading it forever! Georgie's fascination with her neighbor Phyllis' condition (in an iron long) is easily relate-able but we had trouble sustaining interest. Georgie reflects and speculates and the plot itself doesn't go far. We liked all the astronomy - this book had so much going for it but it just wasn't a good fit as a read aloud for a young boy (however, he ins ...more
great book
In 1952, eleven-year-old Georgie moves to a new house, where her new neighbor, teenager Phyllis, is trapped in an iron lung as a result of polio. Lasky creates a gripping look at the effects of polio on everyday life and the tragedy of its destruction of young lives, presented through Georgie's eyes. Phyllis becomes Georgie's brother's first girlfriend, and the contrast between her beauty and former life and her trapped status is presented clearly. Not suitable for religious readers due to roman ...more
I've got mixed feelings on this one. I love Georgie's character. And Evelyn, too. I really don't know what I think about Phyllis, though. Also, I'm not so sure that an 11-year-old girl in 1952 would be thinking about sex quite so often. The story was well done, but I don't know who to recommend it to. The character would be most interesting to older elementary age girls, but I don't know that the subject matter would appeal to the same group.
Kitty Jay
This book was fantastic. The last Kathryn Lasky book I read was one of the Camp Princess books, so I was a little hesitant to read this, thinking it would be a light fluffy book. I was surprised to find it packed with emotion, suspense, and fear. The main character, Georgie, is someone we can all relate to, as she adjusts to the life of an 11 year old. I recommend this book to anyone who is in for a heart wrenching story.
dumb book. I don't know why I kept reading, but I did. It was set in the time of the 1950's poilio outbreak, which was interesting to read about (and think about mow my parents were both toddlers during that time). But still, it was more of a coming of age book for an 11yo girl. You know the kind. And I really get irked big time when there's stuff about sex in a junior fiction book. It's really annoying.
Loved the time period, sympathized with narrator as I'm sure I would have been fascinated by polio in the day as well. Hated the girl with polio, found the brother to be static and spineless, and felt it jumped around a lot with little tying it together. If pressed to talk about theme, I think a middle schooler would struggle to find the point on his own.
Apr 20, 2013 Ali rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: te-348
The beginning of the book started off too slow for me. I understand that the book is told from the perspective of an 11 year old, but it seemed a bit superficial at first. However, as the book goes on, it gets better and more interesting. I enjoyed Georgia's intuitiveness to figure out underlining things Phyllis would say.
It's 1952 and summer is both scary and boring for Georgie since polio has broken out in Indiana and many public places are closed. Georgie reads the paper to learn about the latest cases but never expects to come close to one, until she discovers her next door neighbor lives in an iron lung.
Debbie McNeil
I admire Ms. Lasky, but I do think she needs advice on her audience. I would have been so much more comfortable with recommending this book, if the character was a couple years older. As with some of her other books, the sexual-awareness, coming-of-age aspect limits the universal appeal.
I found this book thought provoking and well written. Besides shedding light on an interesting period in time I knew little about, I found the characters and their feelings to be true to life. It is shelved in our Tween section, which I think is appropriate.
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her latest book, Guardians of Ga'Hoole Book 15: The War of the Ember, was released on November 1, 2008. Guardians of Gahoo ...more
More about Kathryn Lasky...
The Capture (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #1) The Journey (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #2) The Rescue (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #3) The Siege (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #4) The Burning (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #6)

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