Family Book Club: Stargazing
Reading level: middle grade
Synopsis: Christine has her life pretty much figured out—or so she thinks. It isn't until a new girl, Moon, and her mom move in next door to Christine's family that Christine starts to think she might be missing something. Moon isn't like all the other kids in their predominantly Asian-American school: she doesn't speak Chinese, doesn't play an instrument, and is a Buddhist. Moon is also obsessed with K-Pop and dancing, and as she and Christine grow closer, Christine realizes she truly enjoys those things as well, even though she's afraid her parents won't approve of them. Over time, what made Moon seem weird makes her cool instead, and as Moon starts making friends with the popular crowd, Christine has an uncomfortable realization: she's jealous.
There is one thing about Moon that only Christine knows, though. Moon believes her real family are celestial beings. Sometimes she spaces out, and afterward, she swears she was talking to her other friends—the ones from space. Christine doesn't really believe this, but she thinks it's pretty harmless. Until a birthday party gone wrong, when Christine purposefully embarrasses Moon and Moon hits another girl before collapsing. It turns out, those moments of spacing out weren't harmless at all: they were seizures caused by a brain tumor, and Moon needs to undergo brain surgery. In the days leading up to the procedure, Christine has to figure out how to fight through her guilt in order to be the friend Moon needs.
Categories: friendship, multicultural, illness
- Even though Christine and Moon are still close, Christine starts to feel jealous when Moon bonds over K-Pop with another girl. Have you ever felt a friendship was coming apart because your friend started hanging out with someone else? What are ways you could talk to them about how you're feeling?
- Part of the reason Moon and Christine grow so close is that they introduce each other to new interests. What have your friends introduced you to? What are interests you could share with them? What sorts of activities could you try for the first time together?
- Moon feels out of place sometimes because she doesn't feel she fits in with the norms of her fellow Asian-American peers. Have there been times you've felt out of place because of stereotyping? Have you ever accidentally stereotyped someone else?
- It's really scary for Christine when she find out Moon has a tumor and needs surgery. Have you ever felt afraid for a friend or family member who's gotten sick or hurt? What's made you feel better when that happens?
- Christine feels so bad about embarrassing Moon, that she has trouble figuring out how to be a good friend once Moon is in the hospital. Christine felt she needed to do something major, when all Moon really wanted was for her to visit. Do you have a friend who's going through something difficult? What are ways you could support them and show you care?
Activity: Christine was always a bit reserved and didn't really break out of her shell until Moon taught her some dance moves. They really bonded over learning a K-Pop routine together, and you and your friends (or family) can do the same! Fashion up with your loudest outfits, read through this list of the 10 best K-Pop dances to learn at home, and take the stage.