Release date: July 7, 2009
Pages: 352 (hardcover/paperback)
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater. She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents. She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own. That is, until now...Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known...Read more of this summary at Goodreads.
Review: Eyes Like Stars is completely and utterly enchanting - I wish I could spend a day in the Theatre Illuminata, because it sounds truly magical.
Told in a third person narration, after causing much ruckus her whole life at the Theatre, Bertie has to figure out her what her place is there (since she isn't a part of cast)...and soon, or else she's going to be kicked to curb. I loved her attitude completely (although she could be a tad immature at times), and the fairies were equally amusing -- Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Moth and Mustardseed are always at Bertie's side, helping her stir up trouble and providing constant entertainment for the reader. Nate (the dashing pirate) and Ariel were intriging characters, but it's Bertie herself that shines the brightest of all the cast.
Mantchev's writing is so addictive and balanced -- all of the descriptions never felt like too much, and the pacing seemed just right, so that I never wanted to stop reading. I felt like the story could almost jump out of the pages. Being an ex-stage crew member (high school extracurricular), I know how incredible the backstage experience can be. The sets in Mantchev's novel were elegantly described, and it showed how truly amazing being on set is.
If you love stories that appeal to the imagination and cool characters that stand out, then Eyes Like Stars is definitely for you.
Highlights: I loved every second of reading this novel (it's just one of those books that you can't help but to enjoy). The characters were fresh and alive. Mantchev knows how to make her stars fly off the pages, and take the spotlight. My imagination was running wild, and all of the characters were truly well described. Oh, and blue hair is a definite highlight.
Lowlights: There were a few points in the story where it lost a dash of it's momentum and slowed down (and the beginning was admittedly a bit slow), but it always seemed to pick up the pace again.
Rating: 4 out of 5