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REVIEW: Looking at the Stars by Jo Cotterill

Title: Looking at the Stars
Author: Jo Cotterill
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers
Date of Release: February 6th 2014
Pages: 384
Source: Won  ARC in Goodreads First Reads Giveaway from Random House Children's UK

Amina's homeland has been ravaged by war for many months, but so far she and her family are safe, together. When a so-called liberating force arrives in the country, the family think their prayers for peace will soon be answered, but they are horribly wrong . . . The country is thrown into yet further turmoil and Amina's family is devastated . . .

Through it all, Amina has her imagination to fall back on - of a better place and time. But can her stories get her through this?
A heart-wrenching and emotional story that will likely pull at your heartstrings and make you think about the events occurring in the world around us. The cover is lovely, it highlights the aspects of this story that you will truly remember: the strong and loving bond between two sisters and beautiful stories of the stars.

War has fallen upon Amina's homeland. So far her family has been safe however, when new laws are pronounced, things turn upside down. As they travel across the country to find hope and help, they venture into a place that is different in ways from their own, they are alone and searching.

Amina and Jena are two sisters whom have a very strong bond, they constantly supporting and looking out for one another. They are both driven by love and hope, to help others and to make people smile and be happy again. Amina tells imaginative stories that uplift the emotion within everyone who listens, she consistently tries to remain positive to make sure everyone is okay and always thinks of others; I loved the idea of allowing some of the children they each meet to pick their own star.

I turned to Lemo. "Have you decided on a star?"
He pointed. I leaned across, trying to follow the line of his arm. "That bright one?" I asked. He nodded. I couldn't be sure I was looking at the same star he was, but it didn't matter. "Good choice," I told him. "This one's a lovely story. That warrior is called Clemus, and he grew up in the countryside. "
Page 229 (ARC edition)

This is a gripping and an emotional story, which is undoubtedly worth the read. It was beautifully written, engaging you immediately in a different country and events. This story will definitely make you sit back and think, gripping you in the story of two young girls fighting for survival and the importance of being with, and helping others.

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