Silly is used to feeling left out. Her three older sisters think she’s too little for most things—especially when it comes to dealing with their mother’s unpredictable moods and outbursts. But for Silly, that’s normal. She hardly remembers a time when Mom wasn’t drinking.
This summer, Silly is more alone than ever, and it feels like everyone around her is keeping secrets. Mom is sick all the time, Dad acts like everything’s fine when clearly it isn’t, and Silly’s sisters keep whispering and sneaking away to their rooms together, returning with signs that something mysterious is afoot, and giggling about jokes that Silly doesn’t understand.
When Silly is brought into her sisters’ world, the truth is more exciting than she ever imagined. The sisters have discovered a magical place that gives them what they truly need: an escape from the complications of their home life. But there are dark truths there, too. Silly hopes the magic will be the secret to saving their family, but she’s soon forced to wonder if it just might tear them apart.
-Katherine Applegate, Newbery-award winning author of The One and Only Ivan
“Silly and her sisters are flesh-and-bone characters; they gripped me by my very heart and pulled me into their tense and mysterious family story. With beguiling moments of magical realism and engaging turns of phrase, Corey Ann Haydu has crafted a glowing middle grade debut.”
-Leslie Connor, Award-wining author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch
“A gorgeous, profound, deeply felt book that lovingly explores intricate sibling relationships, the crushing weight of family secrets, and the delicate magic of hope. RULES FOR STEALING STARS is sublime.”
-Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs and The Real Boy
* One of Bank Street Children’s Book Committee’s Best Children’s Book of the Year
* “This lyrical story of love and loss–realistic but interwoven with light fantasy–beautifully captures the unbreakable bond between 11-year-old Silly and her family….The way the sisters fight and love in equal measure, as well as their basic need for one another, rings poignantly true in this touching and heartwarming story, which contains a ‘tiny bit of magic, right here in the real world.'”
-Booklist, STARRED REVIEW
* “tenderly and subtly drawn…the fairy-tale overlay on a serious story of family dysfunction allows a vein of horror to interweave with the threads of love and magic that connect the sisters; readers will thus find their own level of understanding in this deeply affecting tale.”
-Bulletin of the Center for Children Books, STARRED REVIEW
“Haydu masterfully portrays the stress of living with an alcoholic parent…..A well-crafted blend of realism and fantasy. Give to fans of Holly Goldberg Sloan’s Counting By 7s and Sarah Weeks’s So B It.”
-School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
“The siblings’ relationships are complex and believable, and their pain at their fractured family life is raw and real. Haydu makes skilled use of her story’s fantastical overlay to create a haunting narrative about the ways family members can fail—but also support—each other.”
“There are many lessons here: that magic exists in both the mysterious and the mundane, that the same magic can heal or hurt, and that it is precisely when trouble and grief make us want to isolate ourselves that we most need to seek the comfort and the strength of those who care about us. The plot is… compelling and the sisters are distinctive and interesting characters.”