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Stargazing for Beginners

Written by Jenny McLachlan

Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 13+ readers General Fiction Recommended Children's eBooks

LoveReading View on Stargazing for Beginners

In a Nutshell: Reaching for the stars |   Astronomically uplifting treat in which witty, loveable, space buff Meg works to realise an out-of-this-world ambition.

Meg has a burning desire to become an astronaut, and is in the running to win a place on a trip to the NASA space station in Houston, if only she can overcome her gargantuan fear of public speaking. Then, when her free spirited mum jets off to Thailand on a volunteer project, Meg is left with the additional stress of looking after her baby sister. “Houston, we have a problem”, she tells her endearingly scatty physicist granddad, and she’s not wrong.

Inspirationally plucky, with a great big dream and a heart to match, what a role model Meg is for girls wanting to work in science, and an adorably shining example of how being yourself and standing out is far more enriching than compromising yourself to fit in. Feel-good funny, and radiant with the glow of true friendship, this comes highly recommended for fans of Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy. ~ Joanne Owen

A message from the author, Jenny McLachlan


A few years ago, my dad said, ‘Jenny, have you ever thought of writing a book about a girl who wants to be an astrophysicist?’ I snorted – derisively – then pushed his ridiculous idea to the back of my mind. It was ridiculous because:

a) I wasn’t entirely sure what an astrophysicist did.

b) Despite Dad having asked me how many miles it was to the sun (every single day of my childhood), I’d somehow grown into an adult who knew nothing about space … except for how many miles it was to the sun (ninety-three million, give or take a few).

So how could I ever write about a girl who wants to be an astrophysicist? Well, I can’t resist a challenge, particularly one thrown down by my dad, and slowly the idea grew in my mind. The girl became Meg and her dream got bigger: she didn’t just want to be an astrophysicist, she wanted to be an astronaut. She wanted to leave planet Earth and float in space. If I was going to understand how Meg’s mind worked, I had to learn about the things she loved. I discovered that when we look at stars we’re gazing into the past, that our sun is just one of over one billion trillion stars in the universe, and that on Mars you can jump three times higher than you can on Earth. I looked into one of the largest refracting telescopes in the world and saw further than I’d ever seen before in my life.Thanks to Meg (and Dad!), my world has got bigger. About forty-six billion light years bigger. If you want to join Meg as she reaches for the stars, or just need a little space in your life, then turn the page. Her mission is about to begin! 

Jenny x                          

Stargazing for Beginners Synopsis

Science geek Meg is left to look after her little sister for ten days after her free-spirited mum leaves suddenly to follow up yet another of her Big Important Causes. But while Meg may understand how the universe was formed, baby Elsa is a complete mystery to her. And Mum's disappearance has come at the worst time: Meg is desperate to win a competition to get the chance to visit NASA headquarters, but to do this she has to beat close rival Ed. Can Meg pull off this double life of caring for Elsa and following her own dreams? She'll need a miracle of cosmic proportions...

Fans fell in love with the warmth, wit, romance and fierce friendships in Flirty Dancing, Love Bomb, Sunkissed and Star Struck, and Stargazing for Beginners has all that and galaxies more. This is the best kind of real-life fiction - with big themes and irresistible characters, it goes straight to your heart.

Stargazing for Beginners Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to the review by one of the Lovereading4kids editorial experts some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel members were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Alexander Bisland, age 11 - 'I give it 5*...From the title, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it but in the end, I couldn’t put it down and it has become one of my favourite books!'
  • Eloise Mae Clarkson, age 14 - 'I loved how each of the characters had their own individual personality and were unique. The story line wasn't too predictable and there were definitely points which were surprising. It was a very enjoyable read.'
  • Georgie Docwra, age 11 - 'I would give this book 5 stars as it was fantastic! I can't wait to see if there are any more in the series.'
  • Sidney Greenslade, age 13 - 'Once I picked it up, I couldn't stop, and I read late into the night desperate to find out how it ended!.. A wonderful book, which made me truly feel and believe I'm made out of stardust.'
  • Jenna, age 14 - 'This is a heart-warming book with the characters so real you feel like you’re there in the book...I would give this book 10/10 as every word was placed accurately pulling at your heart strings.'
  • Rose Spear, age 12 - 'I would recommend this book to girls over the age of ten. This is a very good book full of excitement and it is one of the best books I have ever read.'
  • Emily Kirby, age 12- 'an amazing book. Definitely one of the best I have ever read.'
  • Ella O'Gorman - 'I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy an easy read, with an uncomplicated plot.'

Stargazing for Beginners Press Reviews

‘Stargazing for Beginners cements Jenny McLachlan's place as one of the best British contemporary writers out there. Warm, funny, moving and inspiring, this book has it all and at its heart is a brilliant YA heroine in Meg who is smart, kind and unapologetically ambitious’ Anna James

Praise for Love Bomb:

'Superbly observed ... the sort of series you want your about-to-be-teenage daughter to read' The Teacher

'McLachlan has an assured, comic touch ... perfect' School Librarian

'Laugh-out-loud' Elli Rhodes The Teacher

Praise for Flirty Dancing:

‘I was rooting for Bea all the way and cheered when she began to emerge from her shell. Hurray for Bea!’ Jo Cotterill (author of Star Crossed)

‘Hilarious’ Sunday Times

‘Perfect for girls in years seven, eight and nine’ Guardian 

‘I absolutely loved this warm, funny tale of jiving, mean girls and love on the dancefloor. Great jacket and an irresistible title too. Perfect for the Geek Girl/Louise Rennison younger end of teen’ Fiona Noble, The Bookseller

‘Sure to draw in an army of fans’ Ink Pellet

‘This book is funny, sad, confusing and full of tension all at the same time’ First News

‘Smart, funny writing, engagingly balancing the serious stuff - bullying, first love, friendship - with the joy of lindy hop and aerial moves’ Booktrust 

‘Read this book if: you love dancing, your BFFs, boys, musicals, and annoying little sisters (my favourite character was Emma, Bea’s three-year-old sister, whose inappropriate comments made me laugh out loud!)’ We Love This Book

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781408879757
Publication date: 06/04/2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781408879757
Publication date: 6th April 2017
Author: Jenny McLachlan
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 352 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 13+ readers
Genres: General Fiction
Recommendations: eBooks
Other Categories: Reviewed by Children

About Jenny McLachlan

Jenny McLachlan spent thirteen years of her life teaching English: a job that combined her passion for the written word with her passion for showing off. It also provided her with the inspiration for her books. In the summer of 2014 she became a fulltime writer.   Jenny lives by the seaside with her husband and two small but fierce girls. In addition to writing, she enjoys exploring the South Downs, running and, if it will embarrass her husband enough, jiving in any vaguely suitable situation.

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