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What to expect

Sarah is forced to take a summer poetry class as penance for trashing the home of a famous poet, in this fresh novel about finding your own voice.

Sarah has had her happy ending: she is at the party of the year with the most popular boy in school. But when that boy turns out to be a troublemaker who decided to throw a party at a cottage museum dedicated to renowned poet Rufus Baylor, everything changes. By the end of the party, the whole cottage is trashed—curtains up in flames, walls damaged, mementos smashed—and when the partygoers are caught, they’re all sentenced to take a summer class studying Rufus Baylor’s poetry—with Baylor as their teacher.

For Sarah, Baylor is a revelation. Unlike her mother, who is obsessed with keeping up appearances, and her estranged father, for whom she can’t do anything right, Rufus Baylor listens to what she has to say and appreciates her ear for language. Through his classes, Sarah starts to see her relationships and the world in a new light and finds that maybe her happy ending is really only part of a much more interesting beginning.

The Language of Stars is a gorgeous celebration of poetry, language, and love from celebrated author Louise Hawes.

Critics Review

  • “[Sarah’s] struggle with the decision to be true to herself is one that many teens will recognize.”

    School Library Journal
  • “A story about a girl learning to love the possibilities that come with independence: the chance to discover one’s true self and desires, while forging a path forward that might fulfill them.”

    Publishers Weekly
  • “Hawes excels in crafting rounded characters with varied home situations teens can relate to…A tale of self-discovery well suited for art-inclined readers who feel themselves on the fringe.”

    Kirkus Reviews
  • “A rewarding character study [about] the power of creative expression. This is a tale of forgiveness, listening to the world, and looking beyond the surface.”

  • “Readers will find much to savor in this book, an inspiring redemption story and an ode to the transformative power of verse.”

    Horn Book
  • “Narrator Katie Schorr’s voice is soft as she begins Sarah Wheeler’s first-person story. This gentleness conveys the meekness of a girl who is cowed by her boorish father, controlling mother, and domineering boyfriend…Schorr captures Baylor’s melodic Southern tones, disarming charm, and growing tenderness toward Sarah..Schorr’s excellent portrayals are crucial to a this character-driven novel.”


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