March 15, 2017
       New Release: Author Note, Book Giveaway, and More



Dear Readers, 
In this issue, you'll meet Maddie, a star student, passionate reader, and cast as Romeo in a school play in Barbara Dee's sweet and funny look at the complicated nature of middle school romance, STAR-CROSSED. 
Happy reading!          
Judy Gelman and Vicki Levy Krupp

Ages 9 - 13 / Middle-Grade Fiction / Aladdin/Simon & Schuster
Win a copy of STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee for your book club. Enter to win by emailing the author
(write "KidsBookclubbing" in the subject line). 
Dear Reader,

Here's Gail Carson Levine (ELLA ENCHANTED) on STAR-CROSSED: "STAR-CROSSED delighted me! Barbara Dee has a light touch and a pitch-perfect middle school voice." And Donna Gephart (LILY AND DUNKIN): "STAR-CROSSED takes...ROMEO AND JULIET and transforms (it) perfectly to the middle school stage."

I passionately believe that middle graders need all sorts of characters -- including kids beginning to question their sexual orientation.

STAR-CROSSED is a gentle, wholesome comedy about Mattie, a book-loving girl playing Romeo in the eighth grade production of Romeo and Juliet. Just recovering from a crush on a boy, Mattie discovers she now has a crush on Gemma, the girl playing Juliet -- as well as a deep love for Shakespeare's play.

STAR-CROSSED is a gentle comedy about a girl crushing on the girl playing Juliet. Kirkus Reviews calls STAR-CROSSED "a sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics."

Happy reading,

Barbara Dee

Book reviews:  

"STAR-CROSSED delighted me! Barbara Dee has a light touch and a pitch-perfect middle school voice. This book will have you laughing and groaning in sympathy with crush-addled Mattie and eagerly turning pages. Mattie and her classmates charmed me with their kindness, their humor, their uncertainty, their devotion to one another and to -- Shakespeare! Barbara masterfully sprinkles the bard's words over the narration and stirs the troubles of Romeo and Juliet into the plot. And those Shakespeare insults! Be sure to read STAR-CROSSED or you'll miss out!"
-Gail Carson Levine, author of ELLA ENCHANTED 
"A sweet story of young love amid middle school theatrics. Readers cannot help but root for Mattie as she discovers bravery she never gave herself credit for, both onstage and in life."
- Kirkus Reviews

"A sweet coming-out story for junior high readers. The clever Shakespeare content is a bonus...VERDICT: A fine choice for middle school libraries in need of accessible LGBTQ stories and a great option for students reading or performing ROMEO AND JULIET."
-School Library Journal
"Barbara Dee's STAR-CROSSED is a love story, a rallying cry for girl-power, and a Shakespeare lover's dream come true. When I finished reading, I had a huge smile on my face and a lightness in my heart." 
-Nora Raleigh Baskin, author of NINE,TEN
"STAR-CROSSED takes the drama, humor, friendships, misunderstandings, and romance of ROMEO AND JULIET and transforms them perfectly to the middle school stage. One word about this honest, heartfelt middle-grade novel for the theater geek in each of us? 'Encore!'"
-Donna Gephart, author of LILY AND DUNKIN
"STAR-CROSSED by Barbara Dee cleverly draws from ROMEO AND JULIET, providing readers with an insightful introduction to Shakespeare while exploring the complexities of young love. Readers will root for this relationship."
-Ami Polonsky, author of GRACEFULLY GRAYSON

"A sweet look at unexpected first love. Recommended."
-School Library Connection 
Discussion questions:  
  1. Many of Shakespeare's comedies end with a dance. After the "big, messy" dance of celebration at the end of STAR-CROSSED, what do you think will happen? What will happen when Mattie talks to her mom about Gemma? When she talks to her dad?
  2. Liam criticizes Romeo for not confiding his feelings about Juliet to his friends. Do you think Mattie was right to keep her feelings secret from Lucy? Tessa? What about the other kids at school? Do you agree with Mattie's worry that even when kids claim to be tolerant, "knowing that an actual girl in middle school had a crush on another actual girl" would cause teasing, or worse?  
  3. Look at the people who support Mattie -- Lucy, Tessa, Cara, Mr. Torres. How do they support her? Who else might in the future?
  4. Reading and performing ROMEO AND JULIET helps Mattie find the words for her own feelings. What book (or song, or movie, or work of art) has done the same for you?
To keep up with Barbara Dee via social media as well as find out news about STAR-CROSSED and her other books, visit her website.

Author call-in information
: Barbara Dee is available to email, call-in and Skype with your book club. She'll also meet in person with clubs in the New York City/Westchester area. Please email the author to submit your request.

  • A maximum of 10 books is available for each book club giveaway.
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