Book Review: The Star That Always Stays

One of my new favorite books is The Star That Always Stays by Anna Rose Johnson. She is a young author who based the book on her family history! The book just came out on July twelfth, and I had the privilege of being a part of Anna Rose’s street team.

The Star That Always Stays is historical fiction. I don’t usually read a lot of books in this genre, but I am so glad I read this one. It is a sweet story, and the historical details are well researched. The book is about fourteen-year-old Norvia, whose mother marries a wealthy man and her family moves into his home. When Norvia is given the opportunity to attend high school, she is thrilled at the idea of more learning, as well as making friends and being popular like the heroines in the books she reads. Throughout the book, there are family times, school events, and lessons learned.

Norvia is a sweet character and very well written. Throughout the course of the story, she tries to figure out how to fit in and be liked by those at her school. She learns that you don’t have to try to be someone you’re not just so people will like you. By the end of the story, Norvia decides to just be herself and not worry about being popular.

Something I noticed about The Star That Always Stays is how Norvia reads lots of books and compares herself to the characters. Anne from Anne of Green Gables. Patty from Patty Fairfield. Sara Crewe from The Little Princess. I used to do this too, and I thought it was interesting how Norvia learns one or two things by doing so.

The Star That Always Stays is written in a way similar to Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. If you like either of those, I know you’ll enjoy this book! Some of the themes are family, being a good friend, and learning to find joy in difficult times. That’s not always easy to do, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about lately. Even if things are hard, there’s usually something to be joyful about, and I think Anna Rose did a wonderful job portraying that.

The Star That Always Stays is a lovely book for a family read aloud or sitting on the porch swing on a summer day, reading with your kitty.

A Road Trip, a New Book, and Some Writing Encouragement // July 2022

Summer is nearly over! My family has had a busy summer, and school starts in just two weeks! July was different than I expected, but I enjoyed it and made some wonderful memories.

Life

  • Helped at VBS

My church hosts VBS (Vacation Bible School) every year, along with three other churches in the community. This year, the theme was the sanctity of life, and the country was Australia.

The VBS coordinator had asked me to plan the 2-4 year olds class. It was the first time I had planned something that big, and it was a little stressful, yet I had a lot of fun. The little ones loved the rice and playdough we had for sensory play, and another favorite activity was burying the little Australian animals in the sand outside.

The first day, I was a little nervous and unsure how it would go. But it went great, the kids had such a fun time, and I had amazing helpers who were wonderful with the children! 

  • Went to Florida 

My family traveled back down to Florida when we got the call that my grandfather was in the hospital. My parents and uncle spent most of their days at the hospital, while my sister and I stayed at the house with my grandmother. We helped her with dishes and things, but a lot of our time was spent reading, writing, or watching movies. While we were there, the temperature was typically in the nineties with high humidity, so we didn’t spend a lot of time outside.

One morning, though, before Mom left for the hospital, we went for a walk on a little side road in the development where my grandparents live. Something I noticed about the wildflowers I saw were that they were vibrant reds, yellows, andpink. Where I live, the wildflowers are often soft pastel colors, so it was different seeing bright ones along the road!

  • Went to Knoebels with family

Every year, my family goes to Knoebels together. Knoebels is an amusement park I’ve been going to as long as I can remember. Usually when we go, it’s a hot summer day and the children get hot and tired quickly. But not this time! It was a beautiful clear day with a refreshing breeze blowing all afternoon. It was one of the coolest days we’ve had this summer.

My favorite ride has always been the Italian swings, but for the last four years they’ve been closed for construction. I was hoping they would be open this year, but unfortunately, they weren’t. Instead, I went on the train, antique cars, and the carousel with my cousins, nieces, and nephews. We had a lovely time and got a group selfie where everyone was looking! With so many little ones, that can be hard to do. But it turned out great and it’s my new favorite family photo.

Reading

  • The Penderwicks at Point Mouette

My friend loaned me the Penderwicks series, and I just finished the second book. The Penderwicks at Point Mouette is my favorite so far. I enjoyed reading about the things the children did on the beach and around their beach house. I’m super excited for the next book, The Penderwicks in Spring!

  • Cascade

Cascade is the second book in Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time series. I first found it at the church library, and immediately fell in love with the series. My favorite characters are definitely the Betarrini sisters, and as a person who has always been fascinated with time travel, their adventures in the fourteenth century are intriguing. 

  • The Star That Always Stays

Y’all, if you haven’t read this book yet, you really should! The Star That Always Stays just came out on July twelfth, and it is such a sweet historical fiction about a girl named Norvia who learns about faith, family, and fitting in. I’ve already read it three times, and I’m positive I’ll read it more before the month is over.

Writing

  • Started planning my NaNoWriMo project

I attempted NaNoWriMo last year for the first time, and while I didn’t win, I learned a lot and gained experience for the next time. This year, I’ve started planning my project in advance and already have the basic plot done! Hopefully soon I’ll be ready to move on to outlining, my favorite part.

  • Wrote a motivational statement 

As part of an event my friend Pearl hosted, I wrote a writing motivation statement for myself for when I’m feeling discouraged about writing: “You are a writer. When it gets hard, don’t give up. You don’t have to write the next bestseller or have a huge platform, just write with the passion and joy God has given you for words. On the days when it takes an hour to write 200 words, and on the days when you write 3,000 words or more, thank Him for that. It’s not always going to be easy. Nothing ever is. But keep going. Climb that mountain. The view on top will be so worthwhile.”

How was your July? Did you get to do any family activities? If you took a vacation, where did you go?

Happy Friendship Day!

Saturday, July 20, is International Friendship Day! Friends are such an important part of our lives, and I’m thrilled to be doing a blog collab with Pearl for this special holiday! You can read her post here.

I wrote this letter to all of my friends, who have been there for me my whole life.

Dear Friend,

Happy Friendship Day! On this day set aside to celebrate friendship and being there for one another, I want to take some time to celebrate you, and all that we’ve been through.

The biggest thing I love about you, and one I hope I never take for granted, is that you’re always there for me. When I feel discouraged, when I’m sick. When I’ve lost friends and when I miss how things used to be, you’re ready with a listening ear, a hug, and encouragement. Thank you for that. I want to be the kind of friend for you that you have been for me.

We have lots of memories, you and I.Like when we used to meet in the library after church and talk about anything and everything. We still do so, and I enjoy it even more now that we’re older. Or spending the afternoon at your house after Youtheatre, eating jellybeans and listening to the music and practicing the choreography. Oh, and looking for crayfish in the creek! There are so many memories, like stars. Some are bright and shining, and others are darker and more sorrowful. But through it all, I’ve seen our friendship grow and strengthen, and I can’t tell you how much I cherish it.

Remember the first time we did a Zoom call? I was so nervous and worried that there would be awkward silences. But it wasn’t like that at all. You didn’t seem nervous at all and started the conversation right away, and we talked about all sorts of things, from the weather (who knew best friends would talk about the weather like that!) to blog plans. When it was time to say goodbye, I wasn’t ready. I could have talked to you all day and not get tired of listening to your stories, laughing together, and telling you about my life.

Remember that long car ride on the youth group trip? We spent the entire six and a half hours talking about books, writing, music, and life. That trip made me see that we aren’t children playing anymore, we’re growing up, discovering who we are and stepping out of our comfort zones to help others in need.

Speaking of writing, without you, I wouldn’t be where I am today as a writer. You were the one who told me about the Young Writer’s Workshop; joining was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far. You’ve answered my questions, gave me advice, and brainstormed ideas. When I lost motivation during NaNoWriMo, you kept cheering me on and wouldn’t let me give up. You’ve been a wonderful coauthor, and I’ve learned so much by working with you on our project. And I can’t forget blogging! You’ve been there every step of the way, reading and commenting on posts, doing collabs and interviews, and offering advice to make it better.

You’ve been through a lot. But friend, never give up, okay? God has a plan for your life, and He’s going to work everything out. I’m here for you, friend ❤ Happy Friendship Day.

What about you? What’s something you a[ppreciate about your friends? Are you doing anything special to celebrate International Friendship Day? I’d love to hear about it!