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Reviewed by Sarah Scheele for Readers' Favorite
Ollie and the Starchaser by Tanya Southey takes children’s adventure into outer space in a delightful novel. Shy young Ollie lives in Australia with his loving, but busy parents and unfriendly, teasing sister. School is hard and lonely, and he’s often picked on. Ollie’s greatest treasure is his grandmother, a pioneering and eccentric woman with a strong personality and a passion for astronomy. Nanoo has overcome every obstacle to chase her dream of exploring the stars. When she disappears and a glowing blonde boy who could be his doppelganger falls from the sky, Ollie discovers that the planet of Terenza Nanoo keeps telling him about is going to become a big part of his life.
Tanya Southey really pulled me into the story world. The hot, rugged landscape of Australia sprang up before my eyes vividly, surrounding nuanced characters, each one of whom gets just the right amount of space. A real little boy with typical, everyday needs that any kid can relate to, Ollie struggles to accept his grandmother’s absence. The story deals out a good message about parting from someone you love, developed in an effortless way that keeps the story rolling and growing naturally out of it. With the help of two faithful dogs—one made of pliable jelly crystals, one much more earth-like—and a marvelous boy named Starchaser who can fly on meteorites and isn’t afraid of anything except loss, Ollie faces a situation that’s not only an aspect of this world but transcends it into Terenza too. Ollie and the Starchaser is a very enjoyable book.