Snail Mail No More Booktalk

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Scholastic Booktalk

Life in eighth grade isn’t ever easy, but thank goodness Tara*Starr and Elizabeth don’t have to deal with snail mail anymore to help each other through parent problems, school problems, and friendship problems. And when their lives fall apart at almost the same time, they realize how much they need each other.

Tara*Starr and Elizabeth may be as different as night and day, but that doesn’t keep them from being best friends, even thought they’re thousands of miles apart. They’ve made do with snail mail for 44 weeks, but all that’s in the past. Both of them have computers now, and that means email and instant messages. And best of all, Elizabeth has come to stay with Tara*Starr for a whole week. They can make up for lost time, and get to be really best friends again. It’s a good thing too, because both their lives are going to get really complicated, really fast, and they’re gonna need each other’s support.

Just as Elizabeth and her little sister are getting used to living in an apartment instead of a huge house, and living with just their mother and not their father, he starts calling and making promises. But he’s always drunk when he does, and those promises are never kept.

Tara*Starr is discovering she isn’t all that pleased about the prospect of being a big sister in the near future, and when she’s grounded for the first time, she also realizes that having parents who suddenly act like adults instead of teenagers has its drawbacks as well.

But parents aren’t the only people complicating their lives. They have to figure out how to stay best friends with each other and with the kids they see every day. They have to learn to cope with the pressures of being in the eighth grade, with boys and crushes, and poetry clubs, school plays, and not always being able to fit in. Not to mention the fact that they’re turning thirteen, and high school is only one year away!

Just the same, it’s the changes in their families that are the scariest. Elizabeth’s dad won’t even tell them where he’s living or what his phone number is. Her mother starts dating Howie’s father, and he’s one of Elizabeth’s best friends, which is really strange. Tara*Starr starts babysitting, and begins to feel that perhaps the DS (Dreaded Sibling) won’t be so bad after all. But she’s worried about Elizabeth and how angry she is with her father.

But life seems to be going along as well as can be expected, when the lives of both families are torn apart in ways Elizabeth and Tara*Starr never expected or could prepare for. They have to stick together even more just to survive and figure out how to begin to pick up the pieces.

This Booktalk was written by librarian and booktalking expert Joni R. Bodart


  • Subjects:
    Friends and Friendship