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These Unlucky Stars: 03/27/21
These Unlucky Stars by Gillian McDunn is about a girl believing she's unlucky and her unlikely friendship with an elderly woman. Annie believes she was "born under an unlucky star" which explains why things so consistently go wrong for her. She also believes she's the reason her mother left all those years ago.
After a failed attempt at playing ding dong ditch leaves neighbor Gloria with a broken arm, Annie commits to helping her and taking her dog for walks. Gloria is a bit of a hoarder and she's becoming forgetful. Annie and later her brother are able to help her and she in turn helps them by sharing her life lessons.
In the background of Annie and Gloria's friendship is the town planning for their first festival dedicated to the rosy maple moth (Dryocampa rubicunda). The festival involves a parade and Annie finds ways to use her artistic skills on two different floats.
The glue that holds this novel together is its strong sense of place. I especially loved the restaurant that was a fusion of two competing barbecue styles. At it's most literal, it made me hungry for barbecue! But it also thematically serves to show Annie's growth and how she learns to compromise without being untrue to herself.