Annie Logan is trying to understand her life so far and the summer after sixth grade will bring her closer to understanding. THESE UNLUCKY STARS is a quiet story with first person narration by Annie. Her most painful thought is that she’s the reason her mother left the family eight years ago. Older brother and Dad don’t talk about this much. Instead, they’re like two peas in a pod, enjoying all the same things. Annie assumes Dad isn’t proud of her in any way. She feels unlucky in everything she does.

Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Annie loves to sit on the roof outside her bedroom window and draw. She doesn’t have any real friends until striking up a friendship with another girl near her age. It leads to Annie being challenged to do a prank. It goes terribly wrong when elderly Gloria Crumb takes a bad fall. Annie feels awful and agrees to help out the grouchy lady and her dog Otto during the summer.

Forty-two chapters include a lot of reflection and I found Annie a bit unlikable at first. This all changes as you watch Annie transform into a girl more ready for the world.

A gentle tale sure to please young readers looking for a contemporary family drama.

BOOK BIRTHDAY: March 2, 2021 PAGE COUNT: 288


  1. Small town life is wonderfully portrayed—from the hardware store Annie’s dad owns to the many residents who make it unique and special.
  2. An enjoyable set of scenes when Annie realizes the old lady she helps has a story all her own. First impressions are almost never correct.
  3. Annie seems so real. She’s a soon to be seventh grader who talks and acts in a way young readers will believe. Full of flaws and insecurities.
  4. The change in Annie is heartwarming as she begins to focus on other people in the town instead of wallowing in her own despair.
  5. Who wouldn’t want to read about the Rosy Maple Moth Festival? It brings the town together working on a common goal. Support and appreciation at every turn.


GILLIAN McDUNN is the author of the middle-grade novels CATERPILLAR SUMMER (Bloomsbury, 2019) and THE QUEEN BEE AND ME (Bloomsbury, 2020). She has lived in California, Missouri, and North Carolina. Her favorite thing is spending time with her family. She also loves traveling, board games, and learning about the world we live in. She lives near Raleigh, North Carolina, with her family. (See more at her website)


Comments can be left below. Be sure to visit all the other bloggers as we celebrate another Marvelous Middle Grade Monday.

About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...always striving to reach the next peak in my life and career.
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  1. I like small town settings, especially in the mountains. I don’t always like quiet books, but I’m curious to see the transformation in Annie. Thanks for sharing it this week.

  2. Thanks for this great review. I read Gilliam McDunn’s other books and this one sounds just as good. Annie sounds like an interesting character that will appeal to MG readers.

  3. Completely Full Bookshelf says:

    This sounds like a wonderful story! It’s interesting that Annie develops and becomes more likable as the story goes on. I’m also intrigued by Gloria Crumb and how Annie connects with her. Thanks so much for the great review and the MMGM round-up!

  4. What a great share today. I’m very curious about Annie’s relationship with Gloria Crumb. Sounds like a fun summer read! Thanks for sharing.

  5. I wonder why kids always feel like it’s their fault when their parents make lousy decision. But I think that’s what makes this such a reasonable premise. This sounds like a lovely book with real character growth and a town full of support. I’ll look for a copy. Thanks for the review.

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