Ten-year-old Miranda Stevens is sent to live with her grandparents and when she accepts a dare, the consequences begin a chain of events that tests her courage and spawns some unexpected friendships.
My Ranking: 9 out of 10
Ages: 9 & up
Miranda and Starlight was a favorite series of mine when I was younger, so now coming into possession of them is a thrill! When I was about 10, I would read these books over and over again - I loved them. So, today, having not read the first book in nearly 6 years, I sat down and read the whole book through in a matter of hours. The first book was just as good as I remembered! Once again, I was instantly drawn into this children's book and was captured right away, immediately feeling myself being whisked away into Miranda's life.
Miranda is a like able character. She cares more about a certain horse than anything else, though often the way she takes out her admiration gets her into huge trouble. Miranda does learn lessons, finally after many attempts at doing things her own way and getting herself into trouble and hurting others. It is hard to review this book alone, as it is one in a series, as I can frown upon Miranda's behavior in this book yet know she learns many valuable lessons in the following stories. Suffice to say that even though she was a little rotten, I really liked Miranda. She was a bit mean and violent towards a bully of hers, but learned her lesson when she became friends with the boy. Lets just say Miranda learns a lot of lessons throughout the book - something all of us do, especially at her age(10)! One thing I can say for Miranda is that she loves her friends and family a lot. And though she lies a lot through the book, by the end she has learned a great lesson in honesty.
Laurie is my favorite character in the book. She is so sweet and kind - I even remember liking her the most when I read them when I was ten. She's very gracious and just a bubbly, fun character. You don't get to know her very well just by reading the first book, but by the end of the series you will have fallen in love with this charming young girl.
Chris was such a funny character to me. In the beginning, one might feel that he was a little wimpy...but as you start to get to know him and his personality, you begin to like him more and realize he's just a kid who wants to please everyone and doesn't want to let his parents down. While he was a bit of a bully in the beginning and often loses his temper, I still really loved his character and found his downfalls simply made him look more realistic. This book definitely wouldn't be the same without Chris. His and Miranda's arguments often made me chuckle - they were quite the funny twosome!
As for content, there was nothing major to be pointed out. Laurie mentions Chris loving Miranda, which is why he bullied her. Miranda's scoffs at this and that is the end of it, though. Also, Miranda is somewhat violent at the beginning of the book and actually gives Christopher a bloody nose(this made me laugh). She also sneaks around and disobeys an adult's orders to stay off of his property. She does this repeatedly. Miranda also lets her grandparents, whom she lives with, believe that she is somewhere or with someone when she isn't. When she is found out, she does get in trouble, though.
Miranda lies quite a bit and is very sneaky. While the owner of the stables, Cash Taylor, was gone(the guy who told her to stay off of his property) Miranda calls a vet to look after a horse who Cash had ordered to be euthanized, and dragged two people into it, too. In the end, she is found out and has learned her lesson after Starlight nearly dies and Cash is injured. When her grandparents find out, they put her on probation, and while I would say that that is far from an appropriate punishment, I was simply glad that she had learned from her mistakes. Chris also kept a secret from his parents, but later he came completely clean. While it may seem like a lot, the rottenness of the children had no effect on me at age ten, and they did learn their lessons. I actually recognized it when they were bad when I was younger and told myself that's how not to behave. lol
All around, this is a wonderful book that I recommend to young girls, around ages 9-13 or so. I look forward to reading the next book - Starlight's Courage. Review to come soon! :)
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