Reviewed by Miss Dewey at Orenda
Five paw prints. Tess has a problem. Actually she has a few problems. Her brother is deaf and her mother has decided to move from Texas to Schenectady, NY in the middle of winter to open an ice-cream shop. Her mother says there are a lot of good opportunities to start a business in Schenectady, and there are better schools for the deaf. Tess wouldn't mind all of this except for the biggest problem--her mother gets "shooting stars". When her mother is coping with the world well (the stars are up) then the family is fine, but when she can't cope (the stars are falling) then she losses her job, her apartment, and Tess has to skip school to take care of her mother and little brother. It's a lot of work for a middle school student. But Schenectady is going to be "better". They already have a furnished apartment (in a retirement community), she has been introduced to the mayor (her mother hit his car on their way into the city), and the family soon owns an old ice-cream shop (with no place for ice-cream because the chiller is broken beyond repair). I really enjoyed this book. I loved the cast of characters from the kids at school, the merchants in Schenectady, and I really loved the characters living at the retirement community. I especially liked how accurately Schenectady was described. I grew up in Schenectady County and I could picture everything that was being described in the story. I also liked that this was a story about a teenage girl who has more problems than your typical girl, but the story would be enjoyed and appropriate for girls as young as 4th grade. If you want to learn more about Rose Kent and her books then visit, http://www.rosekent.com/ or if you would like to learn about the real Schenectady then visit, http://www.dailygazette.com/news/2010/jul/10/0710_summernite/.