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The Silver Star: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 11 2013

51 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; American First edition (June 11 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451661509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451661507
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #100,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


Walls has written yet another gripping story of a courageous and sensible girl surviving the adults around her.” (Holly Silva St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“Walls writes with the paired-down incisiveness of a memoirist looking for the significance of every incident, but it’s the way she draws Bean, so strong even in the face of all the additional challenges that come with her age, gender, and innocence, that will make this book a hit with readers.” (Nicholas Mancusi The Daily Beast)

“At heart Walls is a wonderful yarn-spinner…This is a page-turner, built for hammock or beach reading.” (Karen Valby Entertainment Weekly)

“Walls is adept at steeping her characters in some intense, old-fashioned drama…The Silver Star is a lovely, moving novel with an appealing narrator in Bean.” (Carmela Ciuraru USA Today)

“Walls writes with easy assurance about Liz and Bean, proving in fiction as she did in her memoir, The Glass Castle, that she knows children’s hearts—as well as the evil that can lurk in the hearts of grown-ups.” (Parade)

“A polished work of fiction…Engaging…Fans will find echoes of her coruscating family chronicle that first struck a chord with readers in 2005, but The Silver Star is the novel of a more confident, mature and calculating writer…[an] atmospheric bildungsroman of adolescent passage, changing times and bent but unbroken family bonds.” (Jane Sumner Dallas Morning News)

“Great writing…An absorbing, unsentimental tale of childhood.” (Chelsea Cain The New York Times Book Review)

“A great spirit comes through The Silver Star…Jeannette Walls knows how to make characters pop off the page (and tear your heart out in the process.)” (Angela Mattano Campus Circle Magazine)

“With immense charm and warmth, Walls, the author of The Glass Castle, has created a lively account of kids finding a way to thrive in the absence of reliable parents.” (Real Simple)

“Jeannette Walls transports us with her powerful storytelling…Using Bean’s expertly crafted, naively stubborn voice, Walls contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away.” (Abbe Wright O, the Oprah magazine)

“Jeannette Walls is a master at her craft. In the same way she spoke candidly of her own parents’ shortcomings in The Glass Castle, in The Silver Star she lends this candid voice to Bean, and captures the inner workings of an adolescent’s mind perfectly….The Silver Star stands strong as its own story, wholly unique and wholly captivating.” (Kristin Fritz

“Walls’ writing is lively and her dialogue crips, and the girls’ struggles with their mother ring true.” (Margaret Quamme The Columbus Dispatch)

“[The Silver Star is] an examination of bad parenting and resilient children in a rich and complex setting. Bean is a compelling character, and it is fascinating to watch her ideas about both her mother and her sister change as the book progresses.” (Sarah Rachel Egelman

“Walls writes with equal tenderness for her most beloved characters and the least among them. It takes a compassionate soul to find the beauty in despair and that’s what Walls does best.” (Amy MacKinnon The Patriot Ledger)

“Jeannette Walls jumps off the memoir train and hitches a ride on the novel form with The Silver Star.” (Elissa Schappell Vanity Fair)

“[A] captivating, read-in-one-sitting, coming-of-age adventure.” (Booklist)

“When Bean reads To Kill a Mockingbird in school, she seems like a long-lost cousin to Scout…She makes for a strong and spunky protagonist.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Walls turns what could have been another sentimental girl-on-the-run-finds-home cliché into a fresh consideration of both adolescence and the South on the cusp of major social change.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“By turns witty, warm and provocative, this all ages read by the author of The Glass Castle is a perfect choice for your high school mother-daughter book club or to throw in your beach bag this summer.” (

About the Author

Jeannette Walls graduated from Barnard College and was a journalist in New York. Her memoir, The Glass Castle, has been a New York Times bestseller for more than six years. She is also the author of the instant New York Times bestsellers, The Silver Star and Half Broke Horses, which was named one of the ten best books of 2009 by the editors of The New York Times Book Review. Walls lives in rural Virginia with her husband, the writer John Taylor.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Aug. 14 2013
Format: Hardcover
Oh, I have to say right up front that I loved Jeanette Walls's latest book The Silver Star. Walls is a consummate raconteur, as evidenced by her best selling memoirs The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses.

Although The Silver Star is fiction, I could see pieces that may have been gleaned from Walls' past as well.

1970. California. Twelve year old Bean Holladay and her fifteen year old sister Liz are used to their mother Charlotte leaving them on them on their own for a few days. She always stocks up on chicken pot pies - enough to last them 'til she returns. But this time is different - she leaves them with money to last a month - or two if they're careful. When the money runs out and she still hasn't returned, the girls decide to make their way to their mother's hometown - to a place they don't know and to relatives they've never met.

I fell in love with Bean right from the get go. Her curiosity, her forthrightness, her loyalty to those she loves, her devotion to her sister Liz and her resilience all endeared her to me. To Kill a Mockingbird is referenced in the book and Scout was brought to mind when I thought of Bean. Liz is just as well drawn, but on a quieter scale. She's the one who ensures they go to school, that they have meals together, that protects Bean from realizing their plight is more desperate than she lets on.

I had been racing through the book, I was so caught up in the girls' story. But, their arrival in Virginia had me putting the book down and stepping away. I just knew 'something' was going to happen and I wasn't sure if I wanted to know what that was yet, although I had a pretty good idea.

I waited a few days and picked up the book again, when I knew I had time to read right through to the end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Diane Haskell on Sept. 10 2013
Format: Hardcover
I loved this book about two young girls during a summer of transition set in 1970. You first grow to love the characters, then have a cloud of dread hanging over you as you turn the pages on their activities with today's headlines in your adult mind. But the author goes for a more gentle approach to bring her lessons home. Lessons about human frailty, perseverance, humour and Silver Star courage. I read Jeannette Walls two previous auto/biographical novels but enjoyed this work of fiction more. It is the first book I have read in one sitting in years because I had no idea where the story was leading right up until the end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bonbon on Sept. 7 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I looked forward to reading this every chance I got. Definitely one of my favorite novelists. Read Half Broke Horses and became hooked.
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By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on July 23 2013
Format: Hardcover
Made famous by her memoir, "The Glass Castle" (2006), and to a lesser extent by her novelized biography, "Half Broke Horses" (2009), Jeanette Walls turns to fiction with "Silver Star," chronicling two young sisters who leave their unstable home in California for the small Virginia town their mother abandoned years prior.

Certainly, Walls draws from her own experience in describing the girls' peripatetic life. By the ages of 12 and 15 respectively, "Bean" and Liz Holladay have inured themselves to following their wannabe actress mother, Charlotte, around the country. But when Charlotte takes off to San Diego for longer than usual, leaving the girls with their usual stash of chicken pot pies, the authorities take interest in their house and Liz begins to fear the possibility of foster care. With Bean, she decides to head cross-country to Byler, VA, where the real drama of the book begins.

When the girls show up at their uncle Tinsley's, they discover an eccentric crank who lives in a decaying mansion that used to house the town's cotton mill. But, eventually, Tinsley emerges as a sensitive, conservative Southerner simply struggling to adjust to racial integration and the Vietnam war. Despite Charlotte's desire to take her daughters to NYC, they begin a school year at Byler High, where Bean joins the newly integrated school’s pep squad and thrives by assimilating and creative, sensitive Liz chafes under pressure to conform.

Caught between youth and adult fiction, the book suffers from an identity crisis as well as from a melodramatic courtroom episode but, ultimately, the novel beautifully captures the complexities of two young girls' shifting loyalties. What could have turned out as a runaways-find-home cliché emerges as a fresh look at social change.
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By Carole P. Roman TOP 500 REVIEWER on Dec 2 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I loved the Glass Castle. It was so well written, the details heart wrenching, that I couldn't put it down. The fact that it was based on the author's life, made an indelible mark on my memory. I didn't like Half Broke Horses, and while The Silver Star is more readable, I agree with another review who said it was a pale imitation of her first book. What shocked in The Glass Castle is theatrical and overly dramatic in this book. It does read like a YA book, and the characters and plot were stereotypical, like they were taken out of a movie of the week. Jeannette Walls is a terrific author. Read her first book and you'll see why.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story was good but not as good as her other 2 books. Her 'Glass Castle' is still the best of all three as it was quite a 'page turner' the story was so interesting. But I liked the sisters and their differences and how each one looked at life their own way. And, of course how with the one sister, it led to her being abused. Walls seems to have running through her books, a theme of absentee mothers and/or fathers and the problems it leads to.
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