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The Forest of Stars: 09/12/20
The Forest of Stars by Heather Kassner is a middle grade fantasy about a girl trying to find her father after her mother's death. It reads like a blend of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (2011) and Spell & Spindle by Michelle Schusterman (2018), set in a world that resembles the changeability of the film, Mirror Mask.
Louisa LaRoche needs somewhere safe to live after her mother dies, her broken heart eaten away by love-bugs. Like her father, who she only knows by name, she can float in the air. The wind can carry her away if she's not careful.
When there's nowhere else to turn, Louisa is given an invitation to the Carnival Beneath the Stars. It's a place where magic is real and a home to other magical orphans. The carnival offers a home and a place to learn how to use her magic. It might also be the way to find her father.
Heather Kassner paints a world that works on the logic of wordplay. The world is different than ours but it's internally consistent. It's poetic and sometimes dark but there is hope.
Louisa's journey also fits on the road narrative spectrum. Although she starts the journey alone, she is following in her father's footsteps. She and he, unknown to each other, are family travelers (33). Her destination is home — a new home for the one she lost with the death of her mother (66). The route is offroad, through the forest and through the air (66), the same one her father took. Altogether The Forest of Stars is about a family reuniting in a new home after an offroad journey (336666).