Confession time, here’s what I got (Hamilton references are always appropriate, just go with it) At one point as a middle school student I loved Lurlene McDaniel books. To the point that I may have written some fanfiction that may still be in my mother’s attic. So as I was looking for holiday books to review and I stumbled across Starry, Starry Night I was struck with a sense of nostalgia and downloaded without reading the blurb.
I was not expecting a holiday book to be this rife with sickness and death. I really shouldn’t have been surprised. It isn’t as if I hadn’t read all of her books before. Did any of them have more to them than being tragically terminally ill? Now that I am thinking about it I can answer this with, no.
So much melodrama. And while 12-year-old me was down with that adult me is not. Or at least I am not when there is no real plot or character development. The did issue seems to be that this is a book with three separate stories in it. Maybe 50 pages a story. There just isn’t time for anything to happen or for the character to do any changing. An extra 200 pages a story might have helped. Maybe. Therefore, it reads like an afterschool special.
I was also not impressed with the characterization. The characters are cardboard cutouts. All three of the MC could be swapped around and the stories would have been exactly the same. I would have liked to see some connection between the stories. Other than being set at Christmas there is very little thematically that links the story.
Christmas Child: A fifteen-year-old girl is about to have a baby sister and is super excited. But things turn out horribly. This was the most upsetting story. I don’t’ want to give spoilers but it left me feeling hopeless and that life is pointless.
Last Dance: A pretty 15-year-old girl is sort of pressured into becoming friends with a terminally will boy. Le tragedy. Probably the best of the lot. I think that the idea could have been decent with more space. I was annoyed by the whole “he likes her from afar because she is pretty thing.” I do think that she managed to end it at the right place in the story which left you feeling sad but in kind of a good way.
Kathy’s Life: My least favorite. It tried to explore sexual pressure and rape culture and teen pregnancybut was so PG fluffy about it that I was just rubbed wrong. Also, I pretty much knew the secret immediately which just made me all judgy about the MC because she takes FOREVER to figure it out. Or at least it felt like it. When a story is only 50 pages long drag is not something that should be a problem.
Bottom line: This is not a book for adult-me and honestly there are other books that would have been better for twelve-year-old me.
The star that led the three wise men could be the same star wished upon by those longing for a wish to come true. In the opening novella, "Christmas Child," 15-year-old Melanie feels cheated when her baby sister, born at Christmastime, lives only a few days. But the brief life of her sister shows Melanie the lasting value of love. Brenda struggles between noble intentions and real desires when she becomes the last chance for happiness for a dying boy in "Last Dance." The final story, "Kathy's Life," describes a girl who appears to have it all. Kathy is beautiful, intelligent, and has the perfect job as a live-in caregiver for a couple's baby boy. But not everything is as perfect as it seems: Should Kathy give up the one person she loves most in the world?