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The Silver Star

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  48,418 Ratings  ·  5,866 Reviews
It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle T ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published June 3rd 2014 by Scribner (first published June 11th 2013)
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Je Antonuccio I think it represents them...the fact that they are an oddity, but still are beautiful. Being misplaced, but trying to fit in.
Lisa No, it's not, but it's good. You'll especially like it if you were a teenager in the 70's. I think she captured the times really well.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jaki
May 10, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jeannette Walls wrote two fabulous memoirs – The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses. I devoured them both in a couple of days. Half Broke Horses is the tale of her incredible grandmother, and The Glass Castle is the tale of Walls’ own life, growing up with her “eccentric” mother and alcoholic father. Both books were extremely well-written and fantastic reads, despite the sad and unnerving stories of the emotional abuse. So I was quite excited to be reading an advanced copy of her new book, a fic ...more
Missy
Jun 15, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am huge fan of Jeannette Walls (hence the generous three stars), but this book fell flat. It seemed contrived and predictable. From the characters, to the plot, the entire book read like a symphony composed of only one note. There was nothing special, surprising or unique about this book. I still love JW and will read her next book. If you read this one, borrow it from a friend or check it out at the library.
Stephanie
I’m a fan of Jeanette Walls. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, is a book that keeps popping up into my consciousness every now and then at very odd times. I think that is a mark of a really great book. Though I really enjoyed The Silver Star, I don’t foresee the same thing happening.

Sisters, Bean and Liz Holladay have the misfortune of being the daughters of a supremely flakey mother, Charlotte, who doesn’t see a problem leaving a 12 and 15 year old home alone for weeks at a time. She has to find he
...more
Marialyce
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: june-2013
After having read Ms Walls' first two novels, this one was a disappointment. The writing and the story telling was simplistic and probably makes for an ok YA novel. This author does seem quite focused on someone being a bad parent and one would guess after the experiences she and her siblings went through that that makes sense.

This was certainly an easy quick read, however, it was not very inspiring. On the plus side, it did show the resiliency of sisters and one of family ties that oftentimes s
...more
Sparrow
Jun 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kathryn Stockett
It’s been a weird year, you guys. I bleached my hair blonde again, and if I haven’t mentioned it before, people say the most ridiculous stuff to blondes. It’s crazy. It’s like people are standing in line to make idiots out of themselves if you have blonde hair. Blondes, you guys have to dye your hair brown for a while. Just do it to see what life is like on the other side. It’s real different. You can go places and not have people be asses to you. Samples of some of the weird things people have ...more
Leigh
Jun 13, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read the book in a day and was left longing to know more about the sisters lives as they grew older. Mrs Walls has again given me a book that keeps me thinking about the people you meet in life and their story. I had the great opportunity of hearing Mrs. Walls speak a couple of years ago, she encouraged everyone to write their story.....what an inspiration she is!
Kimberly Schlarman
Poorly written. There was very little character development and I ultimately couldn't decide what this novel was supposed to be about. An unreliable mother? A grumpy uncle? Rape? Racism? Small town justice? A family's attempt to heal itself? A girl's coming-of-age? Emus? The story was just all over the place and the author didn't really delve into any one subject thoroughly enough to tie it all together. It was the same with the characters. The author never really explored the motivations of any ...more
Alena
Jan 29, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars. A good story by a gifted writer, but I expected much better. I liked Bean a lot but the rest of the characters seem pale by comparison and the story feels almost too easy.
Diane S ☔
Jan 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: roadrallyteamb
If ever an author is able to write a wonderfully poignant novel about two young girls and an unstable mother, Wallis is the one. She has a such a fluent way of storytelling and a compassionate treatment of her characters. Bean is twelve, her sister fifteen and though it is usually her older sister who takes care of her, circumstances will later dictate that it is Bean who will become the fighter. Bean has a big mouth, she believe in justice and she does not believe in letting things go. She rem ...more
Caitlin
Jul 16, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-books, 2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Steven Belanger
For the first time in recent memory, I find myself not giving four or five stars to a book that I read very quickly, in a couple of days. Which is not to say that I disliked it. In fact, I did like it, sometimes a lot, sometimes just in an okay kind of way. But the book ultimately is a letdown from Walls's The Glass Castle, as all of her future works are probably destined to be. How can you match the excellence of a book that still maintains a solid perch on many national and worldwide bestselle ...more
Joe
Jul 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is a strong undercurrent of To Kill A Mockingbird lurking in The Silver Star. I wonder how many people who have read TKAM understand how the title relates to the work. While there are no mockingbirds in this novel there are emus and a silver star and their symbolism is as strong as the mockingbird. I found the novel powerful in many ways. Like Scout, the narrator of TKAM, Bean is a twelve year old girl with a strong personality. It is Bean that provides an anchor and a moral compass to the ...more
Erica
Oh, this started out so well. I was mesmerized for the first two or three CDs. We've got the tough older sister watching out for the thoughtful younger sister because the mom can't really do the mothering thing. We've got a trip cross-country to see a barely-known uncle. We've got smart moves and new towns and a big, bad villian!
And then it all fell apart.
I hate feeling preached-at, I absolutely hate it. I felt preached-at for a good quarter of this book. It was like little 12-year-old Bean went
...more
Sidna
Aug 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! I loved this book. Glancing at the other reviews, I liked it a lot more than most of the other reviewers.

I'm a big fan of Jeannette Walls' writing and as soon as I saw she had a new book out, I had to read it. This one is definitely a novel and not based on her life or any of her relatives.

The book opens with two sisters (they are really half sisters who share the same mother, but have different fathers), Liz who is 15 and Bean who is 12. The year is 1970 and they live in a small town in Ca
...more
Judy
Jean (Bean) Holladay narrates the story of her and her sister, Liz's, maturation during a year of tumult and turmoil. Daughters of an aspiring actress/musician who never seems to make it, the girls are often left alone to fend for themselves while their Mother searches for work or takes weeks trying to "find herself". When Bean comes home to espy police sniffing around their home, the sisters hop on a bus and head for their Mother's birthplace and the hope of shelter and safety of their Uncle. W ...more
Jen
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me preface by saying I adored Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, so I have been looking forward to this novel for a long time. I may have built it up in my mind a bit too much. If Goodreads allowed it, I would have given it 2.5 stars instead of 2 stars as it was a sweet story. My problem with the book was that I felt like the characters were pretty cardboard and unoriginal. The precocious, spunky female tween protagonist, the mother who was a larger than life, flaky, aspiring superst ...more
Connie
3.5 stars

Like Jeanette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, this novel features a self-centered, unstable parent neglecting the children. Fifteen-year-old Liz and twelve-year-old Bean are abandoned in California with some money for chicken pot pies when their mother goes off to "find the magic again." When she does not return, they board a bus for rural Virginia where their Uncle Tinsley lives. It's a big adjustment to be living in a 1970s Southern mill town during the first year of school integrati
...more
Amy
I really enjoyed this dark, gothic book! I loved the narration and that the main character was a young, spunky child. This choice added depth and voice to the tale, helping me truly feel for the characters. At times this book was filled with the lightness of childhood and others extreme darkness. I also was swept away by the setting, truly feeling the south and craving summer days. The characters in this book were so varied! From captivating, frustrating horrifying and endearing, they all had st ...more
Amy
Jun 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No one does dysfunction quite as well as Jeanette Walls. She once again probes the ins and outs of family dysfunction in her latest novel, The Silver Star. The novel, set in 1970, opens in California, where Liz, age fifteen, and her sister Bean, age twelve are living with their artistic and unconventional mother Charlotte. Liz, the strong older sister is often the voice of reason in the family, while Bean is still attempting to discover herself. When Charlotte leaves them along for longer than h ...more
Paul
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hope, fiction, favorites
Author Jeannette Walls spun a stunning account of a heart-wrenching, dysfunctional family. In this character-driven tale, she left no stones unturned with clear, concise writing that had adhered to the storyline. Adequate time had been devoted to the reader with the introduction of the cast as they were presented, one by one, and in turn invoked a level of comfort and familiarity with each character. The sometimes dreaded belly of the book, in this case, was not filled with useless digressions f ...more
Kala
Jul 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: coming-of-age
"Don't be afraid of your dark places. If you can shine a light on them, you'll find treasure there."
Sandy
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Twelve-year-old Bean (nickname for Jean) and her older sister Liz have been abandoned by their mother. She’s often left before, but this time, the girls don’t know when she might return and the officials are starting to snoop around, getting tipped off that the children are unsupervised. This dysfunctional single-parent family is surviving because of the resilience of the children. They take it upon themselves to head to the only family they know exists – their uncle who lives on the other side ...more
Taylor
Oct 09, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the audiobook version, read by the author, so my response is as much about the performance as about the story. Overall it seems like Walls was trying to hard to force a story, using bits and pieces from other successful books that deal with the same topic- children abandoned by their parents, either literally or emotionally. The sisters seem like promising characters, but they (and the rest of the characters) are made more of cliches than of lifelike, compelling complexity. The peo ...more
Marschel Paul
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Jeannette Walls! I loved The Glass Castle especially and heard her speak about her life and the memoir recently. She is on a book tour for The Silver Star but interestingly did not read from the new book. Talk about a teaser presentation! But she was inspiring and incredibly honest about everything she touched upon.

I had fun with The Silver Star. I wanted to love it love it love it at the 5 star level but couldn't quite get there. I think Walls may have been struggling a little bit with j
...more
Jennifer
this was such a quick read!

After loving The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (it may be my favorite book ever), I was really looking forward to this one. I was a bit disappointed, but I was also not expecting to love this book as I knew my expectations were too high going into it.

In many aspects, it was very similar to The Glass Castle. Similar themes were discussed, and Bean was very similar to Jeannette. The mothers in both books were also both very similar in their parenting styles, or lack th
...more
Betsy
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Let me disclaim that it was pretty impossible that The Silver Star was ever going to reach the expectations I had set for it in advance.
I loved the Glass Castle so much that when a pre-press copy of The Silver Star came through my office, I snatched it up before anyone had a chance to lay their eyes on it. The premise was good enough, but I just kept waiting for it to get good. I liked the characters and story enough, but it was lacking in the "can't put this down" writing I came to expect from
...more
Thomas W.
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Silver Star was an easy read. Like all three Wall's books, a look at dysfunctional family relationships (whose family isn't) with an off-kilter mom. While this was another insightful look into mother - daughter complexities, it lacked some of the character depth that was so compelling in the previous two. It was somewhat predictable, a little disappointing, but I still love her writing. She can do no wrong in IMHO.
Laurie Larson-Doornbos
Readers of Jeanette Walls' memoir The Glass Castle will immediately recognize the family dynamics in her new novel The Silver Star. Liz, a high school freshman, and Bean, age twelve, pretty much raise themselves. Mom, a beautiful singer-songwriter-actress, is sometimes away more than she is home--but the girls are fine, as long as they have chicken pot pies stockpiled. Money is always on their minds because Mom has never actually acted in anything, and singing gigs were few and far between. The ...more
Kathy
May 21, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I don't read as many galleys as some of my coworkers, I was excited to learn that I could read the galley of Jeannette Walls' new book. For a book group I had read her true-life novel Half Broke Horses, which I really enjoyed and many people have recommended her memoir, The Glass Castle.

Her new novel, The Silver Star, is set in 1970 and is the story of the two Holladay sisters--12 year-old Bean, practical yet idealistic, and 15-year-old Liz, artistic and non-conformist. Because their ch
...more
Dana
Jun 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. This is the first Walls book I have read.

In 1970, Charlotte and her two girls, Liz and "Bean," are making it on their own. When Bean was just a baby, they fled the family compound (Mayfield) in Byler, Virginia, where Charlotte grew up as one of the Holladays, the backbone of the community. But the family ties are too tight for Charlotte, who wants a more free and easy existence. She is a star. A musician. With big dreams.

Unfortunately for the girls, Charlotte leaves them ofte
...more
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Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist.

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, she graduated with honors from Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University. She published a bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, in 2005. The book is being adapted into a film coming to theaters this August 11th.
More about Jeannette Walls...

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“Don’t be afraid of your dark places,” Mom told her. “If you can shine a light on them, you’ll find treasure there.” 16 likes
“What I do know is that wondering why you survived don’t help you survive.” 9 likes
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