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Nova Rocks! Star Sisterz, Book 1

Review

Nova Rocks! Star Sisterz, Book 1

What could be a better gift from an ATM than free money? A mysterious message that encourages you to take charge of your life, of course. When 14-year-old Nova Darling reads "Act like a rock star in front of a group of strangers" where the "Thank you for banking with us" message should have been, she's not sure whether she's losing her mind or finding encouragement in a most unexpected place. In NOVA ROCKS!, the first book in the Star Sisterz series by Mirrorstone (an imprint of Wizards of the Coast), both Nova and the reader are about to find out.

The summer before her first year of high school, Nova has a life spiraling out of control: an older sister so brilliant and beautiful that Nova can never live up to her, a crush that seems to be going nowhere, and worst of all, a mother who's determined that Nova will have the ballet career she herself never achieved. Ballet career?! Nova finds dance sweaty, boring and painful. Besides, she has her own dreams: learning to play the guitar and becoming a rock star. She even has an old guitar she rescued from a garage sale that she now hides under her bed. But unless she can find the courage to confront her mother, Nova will find herself heading off to full-time ballet school in September.

Inspired by the ATM message, Nova begins making small changes in her life. One of the strengths of NOVA ROCKS! is that it shows that big changes start small. By experimenting with courage in other areas of her life, Nova acquires the skills she needs to tackle larger, more complicated issues like her dreams and her mother.

Another strength is the writing style. Written in the first person point-of-view, Nova is endearing and honest with herself and the reader. The situations she finds herself in are often hilarious but always realistic. Tea Emesse walks a fine line in creating a believable 21st century teen who isn't so bogged down in contemporary fashion and slang that she'll be out-of-date as the series progresses.

The only awkward part of the book arose from the ATM message itself. While an interesting hook to open the story with, it gave the first chapter a supernatural spin that wasn't followed through in the rest of the book. Neither Nova nor the reader is ever completely sure what happened with that ATM, or why. NOVA ROCKS! is essentially a realistic story about a girl solving her problems, not a tale of science fiction or fantasy.

The underlying themes of this book are not new ones: "build self esteem" and "be yourself." These themes are always relevant, however, and the fun and engaging storyline ensures that NOVA ROCKS! is a book that preteens and teens will find hard to put down.

Reviewed by Paula Jolin on April 1, 2005

Nova Rocks! Star Sisterz, Book 1
by Tea Emesse

  • Publication Date: April 1, 2005
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Mirrorstone
  • ISBN-10: 0786936258
  • ISBN-13: 9780786936250