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Stars in the Grass

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  599 ratings  ·  151 reviews
“The summer before I turned ten was idyllic—until August 3, 1970.  It perfectly describes a time when I thought the world was safe and good things lasted forever..."

Nine-year-old Abby McAndrews has just experienced her greatest loss, and in its wake, her family is unraveling with guilt, grief, and anger. Her father, Reverend McAndrews, cannot return to the pulpit beca
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 1st 2017 by Shiloh Run Press
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Ann Stewart Fascinating question. I had never thought of a followup for Miss Patti --- but she IS my favorite character and a close friend of mine! I will have to…moreFascinating question. I had never thought of a followup for Miss Patti --- but she IS my favorite character and a close friend of mine! I will have to think about that. What do you think could have happened?

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"Daddy! Daddy! Look!"
"Stars in the grass!"

Oh my. This book was incredible!

The Characters:
Abby - aww, I could completely relate to her. I loved her! <3 I love how she learns all these big words from her mom!! Big words that mean other small words!
Matt - I had to like him! I couldn't help it! He's a sweet older brother! I loved that one driving scene, even if it was rather tense!
Joel - Adorable! ;(
Dad - *cries* I felt so bad for him! It's easy to understand his difficulties and questions t
Julie Carpenter
First off I'm going to warn you this is an emotional read. It's moving, it's raw, it's heartbreaking. I loved it! I loved the emotions and the heartbreaking honesty of it all. Abby is our narrator, she's young and full of life, until tragedy strikes. Something that shakes her whole world. Her whole family's world. It shakes them all to the core and yet the world keeps spinning on and everyone else seems to be unaffected by their deep grief and loss. Abby is very perceptive and is stuck in this s ...more
Man oh man, this novel pierced my heart and made me bleed tears. I can not fathom the pain a family goes through with the loss of a young child. How does one breathe through the pain? Ann Marie Stewart certainly pulled back the curtain on the depths of such grief and gave us a bittersweet story from the perspective of a fictional family that leapt off the pages with a palatable reality.

Bittersweet, painful, and raw at times - yet essentially hopeful and achingly beautiful. This story will stay
Angie Thompson
Hoo boy. No offense to anyone who loves this book; it just was not my style. I knew going in that it was going to make me cry, but I hoped that with the tragedy in the beginning, I'd be able to move past that and become happy again as the characters gradually healed.

Unfortunately, the healing didn't feel gradual. Everything stayed dark and sad for such a long time, getting worse and worse through most of the book. At several places, it seemed like a certain incident should trigger some kind of c
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
If you are looking for a light and uplifting novel, this isn't it. If you enjoy reading about how everyday people work through the muck of losing an immediate family member, Stars in the Grass is for you.

In this debut, the main character is middle child Abigail. The setting is 1970s Ohio. The author does a nice job of speaking through the perspective of a nine year old. My favorite character though was Matthew, Abigail's older brother. He was a bit like a diamond in the rough.

This journey back t
Oh my goodness. I needed to read this book when I did. Talk about so many emotions!!

Five stars because....

-This author writes so much like Ann Tatlock. Little details are made fun and interesting, and sometimes the writing style almost is lyrical. Love it!

-The younger POV. That just makes it even more interesting seeing inside head of a nine year old, and although she's young, her feelings were so real and I could understand exactly how she felt about things.

-The progress. Most of the book is li
Debra Slonek
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
The McAndrews family was enjoying their first family vacation. Life's simple pleasures and carefree time spent together were all that they needed. Then, the unthinkable happened and they endured a horrible tragedy and loss. The story is told through Abby's nine-year-old, perceptive, observant and compassionate voice.

I loved the friendship that Abby and Rita shared. They weren't just playmates, but true best friends. They shared a perceptive, forgiving and accepting friendship.

I enjoyed the chara

I wasn't sure what to expect when I was approached to read this book. It is a very heart-wrenching look at how grief can affect a family when tragedy strikes. It had a unique point of view, and felt very realistic, but I was ultimately for
Madalyn Mathis
Jan 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful emotional book that captured my heart.
Stars in the grass is a remarkable book with characters that draw you in to their life as if you were there. The book is told in the setting of 1970 in a small town. The handling of tragedy by a family in the words of a nine year old touched my heart. It was good to know about the many questions that come up in life and to know that not having answers is just a step on the journey of faith. This book definitely made an impact on my life. I gave i
Cyndi Beane-Henry
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Christians
Stewart tells a compelling story of a nine year old little girl and her family who must walk through a dark time in their life, and the struggles that comes with. The story is told through the eyes of nine-year-old Abby. And Stewart puts you right in little Abby's shoes. This is where a good storyteller, and a great storyteller are made.

Stewart is GREAT storyteller. You become little Abby. You feel her grief and pain, her heartache.

This is a wonderful book that allows you to discover with sensi
Sep 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
On a family vacation (their first) Pastor McAndrews, wife Renee and children Matt (15) Abby (9) and Joel (4) are having a fantastic time until a car runs into the group and Joel is killed. The remainder of the book tells in excruciating detail how the family members deal with their guilt and grief. The driver of the car is never mentioned again. Did McAndrews lose his faith? Did he ever regain it? I'm not sure. Stewart originally wrote this as a short story for a creative writing class. Maybe it ...more
Patricia Bradley
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a story that will stay with you long after "the end". While it's about the loss of a child, and how a family deals with the aftermath...or rather the way they don't deal with it for a long time, it's also a story of hope.

I got so caught up in the story that I stayed up much later than I meant to. I really identified with Abby. Ann Marie Stewart really captured the thoughts and feelings of an eleven-year-old. In fact, she captured each member of the family perfectly. Sometimes, watching t
Linda Klager
This was a very short book. It is very important to tell your loved ones that you love them and treat them kindly. One never knows how quickly life passes and in an instant tragedy can strike. The characters in this book are still dealing with the results of an unforgettable event.
Diane Perry
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This is raw, moving and stunning tale from the perspective of Abby. A bright young girl with a broken heart and broken family. After a tragic accident, this family tries to put the pieces back together, but can't seem to find their way. The writing in this story is excellent. It will make you view matters in your own life differently.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One idyllic summer ends in tragedy for the McAndrews family. Will they allow God to heal the painful places to make them whole again?

Being the first ever book I’ve read by this author, I wasn’t familiar with her work. She quickly took me by surprise by how well-written this is! Told by the viewpoint of nine year old Abby, it was quite different but yet perfect for the feel of this novel. Her views of life are those from that awkward middle stage between no longer being a kid, but yet not quite
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have never had a book have me in tears from the first chapters, but I was only half an hour into the book and already I was crying. In some respects I was angry with the author, but as I read on, I understood there was no other way to tell the story, but honestly, killing a three-year-old boy off in the first chapters was beyond the pale.

Now that my rant is out of the way, Stars in the Grass is one of the most masterfully told tales I've read in a while. Ann Marie Stewart takes a tragedy that
Brandi (Rambles of a SAHM)
In a word I would say that Stars in the Grass is riveting. If you were to only read the prologue and the epilogue you would think that the book contains a lovely story about an ordinary family. You would think that life was an easy thing for them, full of funny scenarios and beautiful moments that made for an unbreakable family bond.

What is contained on the pages between those two portions is more realistic. Life is unpredictable. One moment you think things couldn't be more perfect and then out
Jan 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc-reviewer
I did something I don't normally do before reading a book I'm to review. I read other reviews first and to be quite honest it made me unsure if I wanted to read the book. Why? Well, the reviews made the book seems depressing and sad and I don't like to read books that fall into those two categories. Since I had agreed to read and review the book for the publisher I put aside my thoughts and started reading.

The premise of this book is quite simple: the struggles of a family to move on after trag
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When you close the last chapter of this book it will leave you wondering. What if this happened in my family? How would I deal with such a tragic loss? Would I run from God or would I run to God?

This book is told from a nine-year-old Abby McAndrews view point. Her family seemed like the perfect family. She is a preacher's kid. What family doesn't seem perfect at that age? Until the day her little brother is taken from them. Then her family unravels. Her oldest brother rebels, her father runs, an
Jennifer Lara
Feb 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Stars in the Grass by Ann Marie Stewart is the story of nine year old Abby McAndrews and her family. While on vacation in the summer of 1970, the family suffers a devastating loss which lives the family scrambling to learn to live in this new life. Her mother, Renee, seems determine to grieve and move on. Her father, John, seems stuck in that moment and refuses to return to his life and job as before. Her older brother, Matt, begins down a destructive path. And Abby is trying to makes sense of e ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book is a plus for me because it's told in 1st person and that would be 9 year old Abby.
This book is very emotional and will have you crying in most places of the book as the family struggles through the death of a loved one.
Abby and Matt took it the hardest especially Abby. I felt like they left her out of everything as each one tried to grieve on their own.
I can relate to Abby in many ways. Grief strikes each person differently and grief has no time.
Like Abbys dad says there is a place
Sharon Paavola
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stars in the Grass is a tender story of one family's journey after a tremendous loss. Told by the nine year old daughter, Abby McAndrews, each member handles the tragedy with different emotions, actions, and faith in God. Abby's curious mind, growing vocabulary, and sense of humor makes this book poignant, insightful, and moving.

Abby's dad, John is the minister of a Presbyterian church which adds to the dynamics of their upheaval as a family. The turmoil in their home is heightened by Abby's br
Feb 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
My first thought upon finishing this book, was "man, that was a sad book." But don't let that stop you from reading the book...... it is worth reading.

It isn't giving any spoilers away to say this: There is a death of a small child at the start of the book, and the rest of the book is about the remaining family dealing with that death. Though the book is fictional, I feel the author did a great job of presenting how different family members might deal with such a tragedy.

I did find the book sa
Pam Mooney
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story steals your heart right from the beginning. I loved that it was told through the eyes of a young girl as this is the most innocent of perspectives. While the loss of a child is such a sad thing what is heartening in this story is how family and friends kept coming back baring their souls to help support the family and bring them back to faith. They shared their stories and losses and perspectives which required them to relive it. It rings so true that it is hard to review as a fiction ...more
lisa butler
Sep 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Seems so real!

I enjoyed this book immensely! I could relate to so many issues in this book making it seem so real. It was easy for me to picture the scenarios with familiar descriptions. A very moving story!
Gail Welborn
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
***an emotional tale of 'before and after' wrapped with touches of realism & humor***

Ann Marie Stewart’s debut novel captures readers with a sensitive portrayal of how one family survived and coped with loss, anger and grief. The unique first-person account is narrated from the captivating viewpoint of nine-year-old daughter Abigail McAndrews who shares the family's cascading emotions with moving insight, nostalgic remembrances and subtle touches of humor.

Each one struggles with tragedy differ
Beckie Burnham
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Ann Marie Stewart’s novel, Stars in The Grass, won the 2017 Christy Award for Debut Novel, and after reading it I can understand just what wowed the judges. Moving, insightful, and full of heart and heartache, this novel grabbed my imagination from the beginning. I would not characterized it as an easy read by any means, but would call it a must-read. A grieving family is the at the center with all facing a new reality with differing responses. The journey is painful, but with a whisper of hope ...more
Joy  Cagil
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not too crazy about the theme of grief, but I took a look at Amazon’s excerpt pages and the strong voice of the main character--surprise, surprise the nine-year-old Abby McAndrews—captured me. So I read the book. My first impression, aside from Abby’s voice, was the strength of the insistence of the author on the theme, and as the result, she created a superb novel.

In the story, while the McAndrews family—Mom, Dad, Matt, Abby, and the three-year-old Joel—are on a family vacation in a beach
Debbie Chatley
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Amazing drama of a Christian family and how they deal with loss through the perspective of the 9 year old daughter. There are so many things I loved about this book. First of all, the author through use of this family reveals the various ways people deal with loss as we each grieve in our own ways. I love how during different points in the story, the focus is on a particular family member and how they are responding to grief. Additionally, there are key lessons mingled throughout this story to g ...more
Anne Rightler
Jan 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stars in the Grass by Ann Marie Stewart is an amazing journey of a family through the valley of the shadow of death. Abby and her family had gone on vacation for a wedding but were coming home for a funeral. When tragedy strikes a family, how do they react? Stewart writes a gut-wrenching account of what death can do to a family, a family that believes in God, even teaches about God to others. What happens when there are no answers, only questions? Is faith gone? Will running away help? Will ther ...more
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I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t writing stories, putting on plays, or belting songs. Ever since grade school when my dad substituted me in for his turn at the Toastmaster podium and I held a captive audience with my speech, I’ve loved making people laugh and cry.

I originated AMG’s Preparing My Heart series, write the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register and blog for Mentoring M

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