Twelve-year-old amateur astronomer Liberty Johansen used to love watching the stars and making up new constellations with her dad. But since her parents decided to separate and her father moved out of the house, spending time with her father and the love shared between them have become relics of the past.
Now Liberty is angry all the time. She’s angry at her depressed father for living with a new girlfriend, at her former friend Leah and her classmates who have “excommunicated” her, at the pressure to find boyfriends and girlfriends and even at her steadfast mother (though Liberty isn’t sure why). The only one who seems to understand Liberty’s pain is a meteorite that fell from space when Liberty’s own sense of normalcy fell down around her, too.
In this searingly realistic novel, author Amy Sarig King explores mental illness, the trauma of divorce and their intertwined relationship. Mingled with Liberty’s anger is an overwhelming sense of loss, making her wonder whether she might be depressed or prone to depression like her father.
As spunky, resilient Liberty meets with counselors, talks (and listens!) to her meteorite and sets boundaries for herself, she learns that divorce is a kind of mourning, complete with its own stages of grief. While full acceptance might still be as far away as the cosmos, she begins to recognize her control, including how to chart her stars—and her new life—again. Through Liberty’s process, King gives young readers who are also struggling with these issues the hope to persevere.