It’s a special sort of delight to open a review and discover that the reader really got everything the author had hoped they would. In that vein, we are thrilled to share this lovely STARRED review from Kirkus for Erin Moulton’s second middle-grade novel, TRACING STARS, which will be out from Philomel in May:
Most kids can pucker up a fish face, but Indie Lee Chickory can make specific ones like wounded mackerel, flat haddock and trout pout, earning her the label of fish freak of Plumtown.
When her Coke-loving pet golden lobster (yes, they exist, one in 30 million) escapes into the ocean, recovering Lobster Monty Cola becomes the crux (and crustacean) of the story. With the help of oddball loser Owen, whose father shipped him out for the summer to his aunt, who builds sets for the town musical, she aims to get Monty back. The two hoist the front and back ends of a splintered rowboat up into a tree-house platform to rebuild it so they can scout for Monty’s return. Their efforts are complicated by the love/hate interaction between Indie and her older sister Bebe (who’s in the play), an overzealous police officer, shooting stars and the constellation Pisces, Owen’s Book of Logic and Reason: Observation Log IV, peer pressure and a cast of community characters in this tourist fishing town. The seaside setting is awash with details—theatre terms, fish names, Indie’s Carhartt pants—that define the community and Indie’s family in it and also salts the action.
This improbable plot and spunky protagonist are appealing bait for a heartfelt, memorable story. (Fiction. 8-13)