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The International Writers Magazine: Young Fiction

Seeing Stars by Christina Jones,
ISBN 0749936215
Stephanie Vile

I picked up this book because I'm fascinated by astrology and love wondering "what else is out there." I think it's because that the stars that we see in the sky no longer exist by the time they reach our eyes.

Amber goes to live in the little town of Fiddlesticks. She is in her mid-twenties and doesn't really want to go on this holiday. Most of the villagers are elderly and at the beginning of the book Amber misses the comforts of home and her friends. It's a difficult decision when she is staying in a with only one plug socket, how would she deal with plugging one thing in at once, what if she wanted to watch TV whilst straightening her hair! She feels slightly alienated from her new world. However, it's a pretty village with a close community. Amber soon realises that it's not quite what she imagined…

All of the villagers strongly believe in the power of the moon and the stars. They organise their live around the astral calendar and make wishes on the moon, Amber is totally and completely out of her depth on this one. She arrives in the village just in time for their annual St Bedric night, who they celebrate because years ago people thought that the moon was green and had evil powers. St Bedric was the person who discovered that in fact the moon is not green and does not have evil powers! They celebrate this by wearing green and by making a wish on the moon. Amber’s initial reaction to this was to laugh.

In our world today, so many things are taken for granted, on a daily basis and of the bigger picture of the world that we live in. It does occur to us that "we may not be alone in the universe," but it's just an idea. Some people do believe it but the majority of people don't. Many of us couldn't even imagine what it might be like to go into space. I think that's why Amber finds wishing on the moon so hard to believe. She thinks the village people are crazy and doesn't believe what she's doing when she wishes on the moon!

Looking at the moon, I think it's amazing, especially big bright full moon and I’d love to learn more about it.
Society today worries so much about the most trivial things and get caught up in things that, in the long-run don't matter, that a lot of us don't notice or appreciate the most fascinating ideas and things like the moon and global warming. We know that it's happening, but we're not really doing anything about it.

Seeing Stars opens our eyes to the outside world and it made me think about astrology. It also reminded me how close and warm communities like Fiddlesticks can be. We don't have that today. The book is full of dreams and suggests that "if you wish upon a star, your dream will come true" which it does for Amber. She gets together with the boy who she fancies. Of course I'm not suggesting that we should wish on the moon, but if we believe in something enough, it might happen, obviously it couldn't be something random, it would have to be achievable.

This book is a funny, thought-provoking easy-read that gets us thinking about community and the world around us. The thoughts and ideas about the moon never cease to amaze me and I urge anyone who is interested in astrology to start Seeing Stars.
© Stephanie Vile November 2007

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