Stargazing for Beginners
Stargazing for Beginners is the fifth novel by teen fiction author Jenny McLachlan. In her latest work 15-year-old space enthusiast Meg likes her life ordered, in contrast to her free-spirited mother Alice. Things take a chaotic turn when Alice decides to unexpectedly hop a plane to Myanmar on one of her ‘save the world’ missions, leaving Meg for ten days to fend for herself while taking care of her infant sister Elsa.
McLachlan displays empathy for both teenage angst and the challenges of single parent families, specifically the extra responsibility foisted on older siblings. The story shows a sympathetic perspective on social anxiety and the potential difficulty of making new friends at school. Meg, an aspiring astronaut, longs for the escapism of the quiet, logical, solitary confines of space. However, through necessity (and Biscuit Club), she comes to realise the importance of friends and family in her life.
There are flashes of humour throughout, particularly thanks to Annie, a feisty new friend from Biscuit Club, and the eccentric Grandad, who provide a comic contrast to Meg’s deadpan humour. Meg shows an inspirational amount of courage and determination, while still managing to have a crush on a boy at school. This book will delight young female readers, particularly those with a passion for interstellar travel or a penchant for all things science.