Cage of Stars by Jacquelyn Mitchard

312 pages

Published 2006

USA Publisher: Warner Books (Right)

UK Publisher: John Murray (Left)

Twelve-year-old Veronica Swan comes from a loving Mormon family. Living in Utah she adores taking care of her two little sisters. Witnessing their murder is an event that forever changes Veronica, her family and the entire community.

As ‘Ronnie’ grows up and processes the grief whilst welcoming the birth of a new sibling, she looks to her faith for guidance. As her life begins to regain normality, she plans her future with best friend Clare and falls in love with the tough neighbour boy Miko. Everything she knows and trusts is tested when her parents choose to publicly forgive their daughter’s murderer, Scott Early. Unable to accept what her parents have done, Ronnie carves a path that will shape her life than more she ever expected.

Mitchard is able to capture the true voice of a teen in tragedy whilst able to blend the complex Mormon faith for readers to understand. Although not directly considered a YA novel, I believe due to the age of Ronnie throughout most of the book that it can be placed in this category. Blending adult issues and themes with teenage angst of true love that’s dampened by different faiths, Cage of Stars is a complex story of forgiveness.

Capturing grace and honestly, Mitchard is able to portray intense tragedy and how people move on. At the same time she’s able to keep Ronnie’s voice true. The tone and language used never falters from the teenage context, even as she becomes a young adult. Slow paced but powerful, Cage of Stars is a great novel to nurse the heart through a difficult time. Ronnie’s strength will inspire, whereas her daring will provide an open channel to process those ‘what if’s?’ we all feel when tragedy hits home. Lastly, her resolve creates peace and sets an example that no mater bad things are, it’s important to hang on for just a little longer.

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