Stargazing

Jen Wang, 1984-

Book - 2019

Growing up in the same Chinese-American suburb, perfectionist Christine and artistic, confident, impulsive Moon become unlikely best friends, whose friendship is tested by jealousy, social expectations, and illness.

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Subjects
Genres
Comics (Graphic works)
Graphic novels
Published
New York : First Second 2019.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
Chiefly illustrations.
Physical Description
208 pages : color illustrations ; 21 cm
ISBN
9781250183873
1250183871
9781250183880
125018388X
Main Author
Jen Wang, 1984- (author)
Other Authors
Lark Pien (colorist)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* The author-artist behind the award-winning Prince and the Dressmaker (2018) turns to middle grade in this exceptional friendship story. Initially, Christine isn't so sure about Moon and her mother, who just moved into the extra unit at Christine's family's house. Moon is loud, artistic, and confident, and she doesn't live under the same kind of rules as Christine does in her own Chinese American family. But despite these differences, they're soon spending nearly all their time together. Then trouble arises: Christine feels pressure from her baba to spend more time on her schoolwork than with her new friend, and Moon's popularity with their classmates starts to make Christine feel jealous. But when Moon's artistic thinking turns out to be more than just freewheeling creativity, Christine realizes how important Moon is to her. Wang masterfully communicates the majority of these emotional turns with marvelously expressive faces and body language, rendered in just a few careful brushstrokes. Pien's warm colors add great dimension to Wang's figures, which are refreshingly varied in terms of body shape and size, and Moon and Christine's lively doodles and drawings add playful insight into their characters. Wang tells a story that will ring true to just about any middle-schooler who's dealt with shifting friendships, but her additional insights into navigating differences within the Chinese American community will be a balm to readers in similar situations. Grades 3-6. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

This contemporary graphic novel from Wang (The Prince and the Dressmaker) thrums with the quiet dramas of friendship and family, and showcases the diversity of the Chinese-American experience. When single mother YuWen Lin and her brash daughter Moon move into the Hongs' extra unit, Christine Hong isn't sure what to make of the new girl, a Buddhist vegetarian who loves to dance to K-pop, settles conflicts with her fists, and even confides that she belongs among the stars. Despite initially dismissing Moon as "not Asian," Christine swiftly discovers a best friend in the girl, who expands her horizons beyond violin, Chinese lessons, American pop, and her more traditional Chinese household. When calamity hurtles into their lives, Christine must scrutinize her conflicted feelings about navigating tensions friendly and familial. Wang's art is as expressive and fluid as ever, ripe with playful detail—from a Jeremy Lin simulacrum named Joseph Chu to generation-bridging references such as Sailor Moon and Pokémon—and the muted color palette, contributed by colorist Lark Pien, casts the book in a nostalgic glow. Plumbing the depths of Wang's childhood for inspiration, this rich, heart-filled narrative will resonate with any reader who has ever felt different within their community. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Agent: Judy Hansen, Hansen Literary Agency. (Sept.) Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 3–6—With her surreal drawings, her penchant for bright nail polish, her lax study habits, and her inability to speak Chinese, Moon Li is nothing like the other kids in her Chinese American community. And she couldn't be more different from perfectionist Christine Hong. But when Christine's parents rent a property to Moon and her mother, who are having trouble making ends meet, it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Free-spirited Moon fascinates Christine. However, when Moon tells Christine that she has visions of celestial beings who will one day take her with them to the skies, where she'll finally fit in, Christine realizes that her new pal's confidence masks pain. And when Moon starts to connect with other classmates, Christine's own insecurities threaten their bond. Relying on a muted palette and careful linework, Eisner Award nominee Wang has crafted an understated, poignant tale of the joy and turmoil of budding friendship. She artfully laces her narrative with questions about identity as Christine and Moon quietly wonder about what it means to belong to a community. Though Wang doesn't provide pat answers, her characters do manage to carve out a place for themselves. VERDICT With this spot-on glimpse into the emotional landscape of tweens, Wang joins the ranks of middle grade masters Shannon Hale, Raina Telgemeier, and Cece Bell.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal Copyright 2019 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

Chinese-American student Christine is devastated when her artistic best friend, Moon, falls dangerously ill amid revelations that she has been having visions about celestial beings telling her she does not really belong on Earth. Simultaneous. Illustrations.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Stargazing is a heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel in the spirit of Real Friends and El Deafo, from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Jen Wang.A 2019 New York Public Library Best Books for Kids SelectionOne of FORBES Best Graphic Novels of 2019 One of NPR's Best Books of 2019Booklist 2019 Editors' ChoiceMoon is everything Christine isn't. She’s confident, impulsive, artistic . . . and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. But after Moon moves in next door, these unlikely friends are soon best friends, sharing their favorite music videos and painting their toenails when Christine's strict parents aren't around. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she has visions, sometimes, of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn't where she really belongs. Moon's visions have an all-too-earthly root, however, and soon Christine's best friend is in the hospital, fighting for her life. Can Christine be the friend Moon needs, now, when the sky is falling?Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that’s at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope.