Wednesday 22 January 2020

A Pocketful of Stars Book Review

In the past year or so I've really begun to love the genre which is classed as MG - middle grade. I think I like it more because I can easily share them with my children and it's like having our own mini book club.

A Pocketful of Stars was a book that popped up on my social media feeds quite frequently at the end of last year. The front cover alone really appealed to me and I popped it on my Christmas wish-list without even reading the blurb.


Safiya and her mum have never seen eye to eye. Her mum doesn’t understand Safiya’s love of gaming and Safiya doesn't think they have anything in common. As Safiya struggles to fit in at school she wonders if her mum wishes she was more like her confident best friend Elle. But then her mum falls into a coma and, when Safiya waits by her bedside, she finds herself in a strange alternative world that looks a bit like one of her games. And there’s a rebellious teenage girl, with a secret, who looks suspiciously familiar . . . 

Sometimes I think it's best to go into a book almost blind. 

It makes what happens all the more enjoyable as it is unexpected and the surprises are then actually surprises.

Safiya is the protagonist in this tale and she is a girl who I could sort of relate to. My parents are divorced and when I was her age I had a struggling relationship with my own mother. I remember the arguments ending with the words 'I hate you', words that I always regretted saying.

When Safiya's mum falls into a coma, there are massive feelings of regret because days before the mother and daughter pairing had fallen out. Strong and upsetting were spoken and now this teenager sees this unfortunate situation as being all her fault.

From the beginning this tale is deeply moving.

When I next open my eyes, I’m back . . . in front of the house again.
It’s night time. The stars wave hello, like they’ve been expecting me.
The door of the house, Mum’s house, is wide open, like it expects me too.
This time, I go inside . . .

Now what makes this story special and spectacular is its use of the paranormal.

With each visit Safiya makes to her mum in the hospital she appears to be taken on a magical journey, which leads her through her mums past, a past that seems rather familiar to her own childhood.

It's like a game, one that she is determined to win!

Alternating between present day in contemporary London and her mum's forgotten teenage years in Kuwait, there is a lot of tension and emotions run high. It's a book that has a different take on the 'growing up' side of life.

This place is magic ... but it's not the sort of magic that comes from wands and spells...

A beautiful piece of writing.

A story filled with family, friendship and feuds. 

For once I think you really can judge a book by its cover because what it holds within its pages is just as stunning as the imagery that invites you in in the first place.


  1. I read more middle grade than anything else at the moment, there are so many amazing middle grade books being published right now. This sounds like a great story, I'm adding it to my wishlist.


  2. Sounds good but what age is middle grade aimed at? I thought it was 9-12, but Safiya is in her teens. Or is there an overlap between MG and YA?

  3. This sounds really good and just the sort of book my daughter would probably enjoy. She reads very few YA books, and tends to read either MG books or books for adults which aren't too traumatic.


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