Book reviews by kids, St Thomas' Primary School

Book review: Catch a Falling Star

Image: Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay

Students from St Thomas’ Primary (WA) recently read Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay. We are very pleased to share a book report by one of the students, and a selection of other students’ comments.

Catch a Falling Star by
Meg McKinlay,
Walker Books Australia
ISBN 9781925381207

Students reviewed their own copies of this book. 

Over to you, St Thomas’ Primary!

After I read the book, I felt really happy and relieved, it made me feel comforted, but in the middle of the book I felt excitement because there was lots of adventure. I think one of the morals of the story is that your family will always be there for you and even if someone has passed away they will always be there by your side when you are struggling, because it says, ‘It’s cloudy tonight when we go up the hill, the three of us. The four of us, in a way’. (p.234).
– Genevieve

Overall Catch a Falling Star is a great book for readers 10 years and above. It focuses around family, friends, discovery and coming of age. It has themes such as astronomy and space. I believe that this is a must read book.
– Annabel

It is a heart warming and good read for people who like sad, heart warming and confusing books. I really enjoyed reading and experiencing the book. It is a twisty and turning book that people who like adventure would enjoy. Overall, I really liked the book and wish there could be more books like this in the future!
– Ruby

Most of the time when I am reading, I lose myself and imagine that I am Frankie and with the use of a variety of words I start to feel the emotions that the characters are experiencing, and I forget that it is just a fictional story. The dialogue that Frankie uses is faultlessly executed in this book.
– Poppy

The story seems real, and really relatable. The reason why this is true is because this story is based off a historical event. People can relate to this story because if we lose someone we love, some people don’t really like the flashbacks that they keep having, like Frankie. For example, Frankie says, ‘Memories. I don’t say it, but sometimes they seem like the most dangerous thing of all.’  In this story, the theme is that you need to know when to hold on and when to let go when the time is right. And there are other themes and messages as well that are worth taking to heart.
– Aditi

Frankie is a bright person with an amazing future she has a special connection with a space station and her father. She gets constant flash backs about her father and Skylab, but when something happens it’s emotional for Frankie’s family. Overall I give this book 3.5 stars, it was a complex story that showed many sides of a protagonist.
– Lucas

From this novel you can learn what it was like for people during the tragedy of NASA’s SkyLab. You could also learn what it’s like to lose your father at such a young age. You could maybe fall for Frankie and learn what it is like to go home to your best friend’s house every day after school. Finally, you could learn how to deal with your brainiac brother.
– Aidan

Image: Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlayBook report by Isabel:

Catch a Falling Star is award winning author Meg McKinlay’s most recent book to hit the shelves. It is her latest junior fiction novel since A Single Stone in 2015. The main character is an observant twelve-year-old girl named Frankie. After losing her dad she becomes less and less like the bright and bubbly girl she was beforehand and makes it her mission to recover the person she was and the ambitions she had before the tragedy that turned her world upside down.

Frankie lives with her little brother Newt and her extremely busy mum in the country part of a remote town on the south coast of Western Australia. She knows her mum doesn’t want to work late, but the thing is that Frankie feels like she is way down the list of her mum’s priorities.

It’s just another usual afternoon at her school when one of her classmates Jeremy explains to the class that America’s first space station, Skylab, is falling.
“Skylab. It’s a massive satellite or something. It was supposed to stay up in space but there was some kind of problem.” (Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay pg. 10)
Frankie’s head starts to catapult back to a night several years ago, one that she remembers particularly faintly, but it’s enough. It’s enough to make her ask questions, remember even more moments and discover things she never knew could even be remotely possible.

Throughout the novel she starts to uncover secrets, things she never even knew about her own self. It all gets too much when her brother Newt starts acting strange. “There’s no way Newt could think that, not even for a second.” (Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay pg. 173.) Because Frankie couldn’t bear to lose her beloved brother after everything she’s been through, she becomes determined to figure out what he’s up to before anything worse happens.

I would recommend this book for 10-15 year olds. The book would still be suitable for younger ages but older children would get more out of this novel because they would be able to understand the hidden meanings and morals in the story. If you enjoy books by Michael Morpurgo or Jacqueline Wilson then this would be a valuable read for you, as all three authors write their books in similar styles.

This book is written in First Person which is why we are able to find out so much about Frankie and how she’s thinking and feeling throughout the book. Something that makes this novel unique is that there is a very balanced mixture of facts and fiction. The author carefully studied documentaries, newspapers and other historical documents to find out reliable information about Skylab that she could include when writing the novel. She also used her personal experiences as inspiration, and with the combination of Meg McKinlay’s imagination, this book makes for a truly magical read.

I believe that everyone can learn something from this novel. The two main messages in the story are: ‘the bad times don’t last forever’ and ‘you don’t always have to see the stars. Sometimes it’s enough to know that they’re there.’ (Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay pg. 236) Frankie learns that she shouldn’t be afraid to share her emotions with others and that once you do, everything can take a turn for the better. ‘Now we’re two people hugging doing all of those things and I’m crying so hard I wonder if I’ll ever be able to stop but at the same time, I feel better than I have in forever.’ (Catch a Falling Star by Meg McKinlay pg. 219.) The book teaches us several important lessons that can help us improve how we live our lives. The morals in the book are ones that everyone can relate to, even if you haven’t been through what Frankie has.

Catch a Falling Star is a magnificent novel that pre-teens and teenagers can enjoy. Personally, I’d give the book five stars because the mixture of factual and fictional information was something that I’d never seen before. Plus, the storyline and plot were cleverly thought out and it was clear that the author had put lots of effort into the construction of this book. Because of the amount of awards Meg McKinlay’s other novels had won, I was hoping Catch a Falling Star would live up to its expectations and it definitely didn’t disappoint.

You can read earlier work by St Thomas’ Primary students here. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!