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The Whole Sky Full of Stars

3.16  ·  Rating Details  ·  115 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Barry can punch anyone hard enough to make them see a whole sky full of stars, though that's not really his style. Barry and Alby have been friends since the first grade. They've always protected one another.

When Barry's pop dies, times are tough and the only thing Barry has of value is his dad's 1964 Ford Galaxie. Meanwhile Alby's got himself into big trouble with a cards
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published March 13th 2007 by Wendy Lamb Books
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Silvestre Rodriguez
Dec 30, 2014 Silvestre Rodriguez rated it it was amazing
***SPOILER ALERT*** Have you ever read a book that just had you wondering what would happen next, so you just keep on reading the book page after page? If not this is the book for you. The genre of this book is realistic fiction. This book is just an amazing book, you and your best friend should read, because it gives great lessons on best friends and stuff. This is probably the best book I have read yet.

Barry and Alby have been best friends since 1st grade, when Barry peed his pants and everyo
Bill Ibarra
Dec 30, 2014 Bill Ibarra rated it really liked it
Do you like stories about friendship if so read The Whole Sky Full of Stars.The genre of this book is fiction.This book is about the strength of two boys friendship.For example whatever the situation they would never turn their backs on one another.

This story took place in multiple settings from school to a boxing gym.Alby had gambling issues and lost lots of money in a poker hand so now he owes another kid a lot of money that Alby does not have.So Alby asks his best friend Barry to join a box
Carmen Lopez
Mar 03, 2015 Carmen Lopez rated it it was ok
The book The Whole Sky Gull of Stars started out with two friends just talking in a yard. Alby and Barry have been best friends since the first grade. Alby confronted Barry about overhearing some guys at school speaking poorly about Barry's mother. All the sudden Alby feels a harsh fist smash upon his face. To his surprise it was his best friend Barry. Shortly after Barry hit his friend he realized he had done it for no reason. This is where Alby gets the bright idea that Barry should become a b ...more
Feb 04, 2016 Josh rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this book! It started out a little confusing, trying to figure out what was going on. However, as the book went on, I started to see why the Barry was doing what he was doing. He had some serious financial problems, and so did his best friend Alby. As they learned to work together you start to learn more about the characters, and see that they didn't always make the best choice.

I started to not like Alby as much. He started to be a poor friend, and let Barry down. I ca
Sara Daw
May 27, 2014 Sara Daw rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
I didn't expect to like a book about wrestling so much, but I did. Alby is a born hustler who played poker with some neighborhood thugs and has found himself in a tight spot. Barry is his best friend, has recently lost his father, and has spent a lot of time training in wrestling. Alby sees a way to make some quick money off of Barry's wrestling skills, but he can't tell Barry about the tight spot he's in, so he decides to manipulate Barry into participating in a non-professional wrestling match ...more
What's appealing about this book is the depiction of true friendship and love between two best friends who are boys. These are "guy guys" who would never say aloud "I love you" but they genuinely have each other's backs and appreciate that about each other. Barry is rightfully angry that Alby has used him in a boxing/gambling scheme but both find a way to redeem the friendship they need so much. A great book for guys that expresses the emotions they feel for a close friend but don't have the wor ...more
Nov 26, 2009 Margo rated it liked it
Shelves: english-420
Genre: Teen Gambling/Friendship/Boxing/Fiction (Rene Saldana Requirement)

Alby and Bary have been best friends ever since Alby stood up for Bary in grade school when he was new in town. When Alby runs up a debt from gambling, the only solution is to ask Bary to compete in an amateur boxing tournament with a prize. Bary is convinced that his share of the prize money will help his impoverished family. When Alby finds out the prize money is one hundred dollars, a t-shirt, and a trophy, he decides to
Allie Randall
Dec 08, 2009 Allie Randall rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daniel Asay
Nov 08, 2009 Daniel Asay rated it liked it
Alby and and Barry have been friends since grade school, but when Barry's father dies, Alby gets himself into gambling debts, and money runs tight for both families, that friendship will be tested to its limits. In a move that blurs the line between friendship and self-interested manipulation, Alby convinces Barry to use his boxing talents in a fighting competition with a cash prize. But the details are largely uncertain and Alby still hasn't learned to control his passions.

Though not a particul
Alondra Aguilar
May 26, 2013 Alondra Aguilar rated it liked it
This book was a pretty good book for someone who likes the intensity and toughness in a book. Barry, the main character, and his best friends named Alby, have been the best of friends since they were little boys on the block. Barry is a boxer that likes people to feel his pain when they go around and start talking like they know who he is. Having skills like Barry, and feeling like always wanting to be silent by the way he lives after his dad died, it was time to make a change for his own life. ...more
Emily Townsley
Dec 06, 2009 Emily Townsley rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-420

The Whole Sky Full of Stars is about two friends, Alby and Barry. Barry has recently lost his father to cancer and is still dealing with the loss. Alby is gambler and smooth talker who continually finds his way into trouble. Alby convinces Barry, who is a trained boxer, to fight in a competition that will yield money for Barry's mother and for Alby's gambling debt. The story takes place over a few days and talks about standing up for what you believe in and the value of
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for

THE WHOLE SKY FULL OF STARS is a story about the strong bonds of friendship. Through the experience of the main characters readers will learn that true friendship can survive.

Barry and Alby have been friends against all odds. Barry's father's recent death from cancer has put a huge financial strain on life for him and his mother. They never had much before and now that is stretched even thinner. Alby, on the other hand, doesn't ne
Sep 25, 2007 Christina rated it liked it
Recommends it for: boys, boxing fans
Shelves: realistic
Excellently written, just not my type of book. Two young men, best friends since childhood, decide to enter a boxing competition. They both need the prize money--the boxer's going to use it to help out his mother, who works two jobs to support them since her husband died. His friend, however, has a wealthy father, but he refuses to ask him for money to bail him out of a bad gambling debt. Most of the book is the nonboxing friend trying to talk his pal into entering the fight; the rest of it is t ...more
Oct 11, 2015 Abigail rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was a mix between a drama and a boy conflicting life. The main thing i love is that they say what they want and feel, just because someone isn't okay with you doing something does not mean that you don't do it; if it makes you happy, do what you gotta do. Don't let anyone tell you your not good enough or that you can't do something because I promise you, you can do anything that you put your mind to, no matter what anybody around you is saying.
Dec 08, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it
So this book is a little frustrating, but it does have a lot of action and entertainment value. We are reading about teen friendship and things that can often complicate it. Barry's dad dies and leaves their family with very little but a car. Barry has been friends with Alby for a really long time. Alby, whose family is better off, uses Barry to make up for gambling with a thug from school. Without telling Barry the truth, Alby convinces Barry that he should participate in some kind of fighting ...more
Elyse Bradley
Dec 08, 2009 Elyse Bradley rated it really liked it
Shelves: english-420
Genre: Drama/Boxing/Betrayal/Gambling

I was pleasantly surprised by what I found in this book. The Whole Sky Full of stars tells of best friends Alby and Barry. Barry's father recently died, so Ably convinces Barry to fight in a boxing match for money. Alby has ulterior motives of his own and does not tell Barry. The cost of the match and the money may be more than both Alby and Barry realize. I thought Saldana told a very compelling story in a short number of pages. The characters were real, and
Stephanie Kenner
Dec 09, 2009 Stephanie Kenner rated it liked it

Barry and Alby have been best friends since grade school and have seen each other through everything. Their friendship is challenged when Alby gets himself into some gambling trouble. He feeds off of Barry's concern for his family's well being and convinces him to enter a boxing match with a cash prize. Barry is more than capable of winning because he trained diligently with his father growing up before his father died, but when he discovers that Alby has ulteri
Dec 09, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
Genres/Categories: coming of age story, friendship, boxing, gambling

Sometimes your best friend can be the person that hurts you the most and betrays your trust. That's the stuggle Barry has with his best friend Alby. Barry has lost his father recently and is now struggling to find a way to help his mom support the two of them, while Alby has everything, and yet Alby only suggests Barry enter a boxing tournament so that Alby can pay off his debt to another person. Saldana tells a story every pers
Jun 19, 2013 Shannonmde rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
"Oh, and what gives me the right to dig my fat nose in your stupid business is the same thing that gave you the right to keep bugging me to come hang out with you after Pop died and I wasn't up for company.You kept it up day in, day out: 'Barry let's go do this, let's go do that; get your mind off things for awhile.' Remember?" Barry turned away and this time didn't look back. To himself he said, "It's called friendship, idiot."50

Spanish speaking characters, but they took a bus overnight to Sout
Dec 10, 2009 Kara rated it liked it
Latin/coming of age/violence

In many ways I liked this book, but in others I was so frustrated with it. It is about two friends who have been friends for a very long time. Barry's father just recently died of cancer, and barry is still dealing with his death, while Alby has a gambling problem. Alby convinces Barry to fight in this match for money because they both need it. I really liked how Saldana showed what it is like to have a gambling problem. It was so frustrating for me to listen to the t
Nov 28, 2009 Terry rated it liked it
This book is about two teen boys, one who is in over his head due to gambling losses and the other whose family is suffering financially since his father died. The gambling teen comes up with a plan: they are going to solve both of their financial problems by entering the other teen (who just happens to have a wicked punch) in a boxing competition. Of course, there are the necessary secrets and betrayal that give the story some "umph." Unfortunately, the writing isn't as smooth as it could be, a ...more
Oct 09, 2009 Charlotte rated it really liked it

Barry and Alby have been best friends since the first grade, and when Alby gets himself into a bit of trouble, he uses Barry's natural boxing talent to advantage; but in the process of doing so, Alby hurts their friendship and finds himself in a different, but more damaging kind of trouble. I thought this book was pretty good, especially for how short it was. You see the story from both Alby's and Barry's points of view, and in such a short book, the character deve
Dec 09, 2009 Katie rated it did not like it
Shelves: ya-lit
Barry and his mother are struggling financially in suburban Texas, so Alby (Barry's friend who is deep in debt) doesn't have a hard time convincing talented boxer, Barry, to enter a sketchy competition. Although winning (and earning only a small amount of money), Alby gains a greater sum by betting. Barry refuses any of the money, and turns back to his previous life focused on supporting his mother. Alby's father arranges a process for Alby to redeem himself. This novel seemed to have so much po ...more
Eliza Blank
May 18, 2013 Eliza Blank rated it it was ok
Shelves: eng420
Required Category: Rene Saldana Jr.
This was an okay book. It was about a young kid whose father dies and whose mother is working really really hard to make ends meet. He has a friend, Alby, who gets into debt with some punks who threaten to beat him up if he doesnt pay up, so he convinces Barry to sign up for a fight to earn some cash. Alby bets a lot on the side and makes some money, but Barry wont take it cause he sees it as money unearned. The book talks about issues of friendship, violence,
Aug 03, 2007 Trevor rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teen guys who've read Lipsyte
Shelves: teen-lit-read
Saldaña, Jr. has written a story about two guys who are good, genuine, young men navigating the ethics of friendship in this quick and satisfying read. Even if readers may feel like they have the ending all figured out, they won’t have all of it sewn up. Saldana conveys the deep emotional experiences of Alby’s and Barry’s working through the hurt of misused friendship especially well. It definitely took me by surprise and I felt the eyes swelling as the book headed toward its close. Add this to ...more
Maggie V
This book is multicultural only for the fact that the main characters are Hispanic and the dad occasionally says things "in Spanish" (written in English but using the words 'He said in Spanish, "..."'). This book focused much more on friendship, doing what's right, and being a good person. It was a very short book, but had some tough issues (Father dying, illegal gambling, teenage loansharks). However, I felt the end was a bit contrived and too tidy, but I'm not sure a teen will notice (or possi ...more
Dec 10, 2009 Abigail rated it liked it
Shelves: engl-420
The companionship of Alby and Barry is touching as they grow to depend on each other and no one else. After the death of Barry's pop he is left with nothing except his dad's car. We watch as Alby's personality gets Barry and himself into trouble when he gets tied up with a card shark. They need money and fast. It seems that Alby's scheming can end up hurting his friend more deeply than he had anticipated. I really enjoyed this novel because i think companionship between boys is so wonderful. I w ...more
Dec 06, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok
Shelves: eng-420
This is the story of friendship between two teenage boys who are each dealing with different personal issues and have to learn how to adjust their friendship to help one another. One is dealing with his father's death and poverty, while the other feels distant from his parents and is struggling with some serious gambling debts he got himself into. It tells a story about loyalty and forgiveness. It was a quick read, and although I didn't find anything spectacular in the novel, I would recommend i ...more
Brittany Christensen
Dec 09, 2009 Brittany Christensen rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-420
Genre: Coming of Age / Friendship
When best friends Alby and Barry team up to relieve Alby's debts they learn the true limits of their friendship. Alby convinces Barry to box for money for his destitute family and Alby tries to bet on him to repay earlier gambling debts. As Alby forces Barry into the fight, their friendship strains and Barry learns of Alby's lying ways. It's a simple story of trust and friendship and growing up that is a fine read, but nothing truly spectacular. The writing is de
Lissa Chandler
Dec 10, 2009 Lissa Chandler rated it really liked it
Shelves: friendship, we-own
Barry and Alby have been friends for virtually as long as they can remember. Now in high school, Barry’s father is dead and Alby is slipping into dangerous habits. Wanting to get out of debts, Alby convinces Barry to participate in a boxing match. Though he does not tell Barry his motives, Alby continuously pushes Barry. Though he becomes suspicious, Barry still fights but at the end of the night, the pair hit a rough patch that they may never heal from. This is an easy read with a very moral c ...more
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René Saldaña Jr. graduated from Georgia State University (Ph.D.) with degrees in English and creative writing. He and his family live in south Texas, where he teaches English and writing at the university level. He is the author of "The Jumping Tree "and "Finding Our Way."
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