The Silver Star

The Silver Star

A Novel

Book - 2013
Average Rating:
Rate this:
The Silver Star, Jeannette Walls has written a heartbreaking and redemptive novel about an intrepid girl who challenges the injustice of the adult world-a triumph of imagination and storytelling.

It is 1970 in a small town in California. "Bean" Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, a woman who "found something wrong with every place she ever lived," takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that's been in Charlotte's family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears many stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Because money is tight, Liz and Bean start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town-a big man who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Bean adores her whip-smart older sister-inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it's Bean who easily adjusts and makes friends, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz.

Jeannette Walls, supremely alert to abuse of adult power, has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Scribner, 2013.
Edition: 1st Scribner hardcover ed. --
ISBN: 9781451661507
Characteristics: 269 p.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Jan 15, 2017

Very disappointed with this book. I loved her The Glass Castle and Half Broke Horses, but this book has no substance. None of the characters are believable. I cannot recommend this book.

Oct 25, 2016

While her first autobiographical novel was her finest writing to date, I enjoyed Silver Star. A good book for teens and young adults. So many kids today are homeless, in foster care, or have dysfunctional parents; I think many can relate to this story and find they are kindred spirits with the two half-sisters. Bean & Liz show courage and ingenuity in dealing with their problems. Without fathers or a mentally healthy mother, these two girls connect with other family members and successfully create a home and life for themselves. I also liked all of the other quirky and even dangerous characters in the book. An easy and fun read with life lessons for all.

Jun 25, 2016

Trite, predictable and blessedly short.

Jun 06, 2016

I felt that the plot was engaging and the character development of Liz & Bean was excellent. Parts of the story were not quite as engaging as her previous books, however, it still kept my interest and I enjoyed how it ended. Jeannette is an excellent writer who really knows how to use dialogue well to keep the story interesting and moving along.

Dec 13, 2015

A real true to life story of the "regular folk" even though some may look at the parenting skills of the parents in this book as dysfunctional at best. The story teller was innocent, yet aware and carries the reader along with her observations and innocence. The dysfunctional family was funny, and relative-- showing how one incident can be viewed from different perspectives and mean so much to a child by the way it is told to them. I liked the way the protagonist was introduced and portrayed, because from the very beginning of his introduction you knew he was up to no good and so you read his scenes with a side-eye view. I didn't like however how it ended because it was just like the writer just got tired.

Nov 11, 2015

I had high expectations for this book based on my enjoyment of the author's previous extraordinary books The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses. This book was extremely disappointing to me; many times I was tempted to give up but kept plugging away thinking that it would inevitably get better - it had to! Alas, it did not. I cannot recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed this author's previous works.

Jun 01, 2015

The Silver Star echoed many themes found in Walls' previous works; however, this one did not quite carry as much emotional weight and felt cliche at times.

Mar 09, 2015

I am so disappointed in this book. Walls is an excellent author - what happened.

Dec 07, 2014

“The Silver Star” is about two sisters and their absentee mother. Liz and Bean are only young girls, and when their ‘artistic’ mother once again leaves them to their own device. In their mother’s absence the girls decide to hop on a bus and travel across the United States in order to visit their Uncle Tinsley. The girls arrive safely, and while their uncle is a little less than thrilled to see them, he allows them to live with him until their mother returns. As the novel progresses, Liz and Bean head off to work for a commanding man who ultimately causes more than a few, too many disastrous problems for the girl.

This novel is an endearing, heartwarming read. The characters of the novel are well-rounded, interesting, and believable. Readers will find their hearts go out to Bean, the main character, as she must deal with issues that would normally fall to people much, much older than her. The setting of the novel adds to the story, as it helps to bring the plot alive (the setting is a small town where racism is alive and people side with the villains, giving the novel a ‘man vs society’ feel that is all too realistic). The plot is intelligent and entertaining, and has no dull moments.

Overall, the author of this
review highly recommends “The Silver Star”. It is a unique, lovable novel that will charm readers while keeping them on the edge of their seats. This novel is suitable for ages twelve and up, and is a better pleasure read novel than it is an ‘essay novel’ or ‘book talk’.

Aug 06, 2014

I agree, not as good as the glass castle. Still it's a nice light summer read. Finished in a day

View All Comments

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

ser_library Nov 22, 2013

ser_library thinks this title is suitable for 22 years and under


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at OPL

To Top