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- author Jackie French

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Review: Aster's Good Right Things

Eleven year-old Aster is different. She goes to a school for gifted children, something she denies being. She is small, unattractive in people’s eyes, and tends to become invisible in others’ presence. Aster believes her insignificance to be the reason her mother left.

Dad and Aunt Noni are the only people who believe she is special and understand the monsters of anxiety, insecurity and self-doubt that plague her.

She always accommodates others in her life, never asking for what she really wants because it’s the good, right thing to do. This mantra dictates her daily rituals, which must include one good, right thing for someone or else her world will shatter, a situation with which Aster is intimately acquainted.

A brown notebook, always with her, keeps record of all the things Aster does, wants and never gets.

School is a struggle each day due to the venomous Indigo, who projects her own internal anger, hatred and frustration onto Aster who refuses to retaliate.

It is at the bottom of the school-ground one solitary lunchtime, that Aster finds the rabbit and meets Xavier, a boy who wars against the black dog that controls his life. Different and home schooled, he enters her life bringing hope and friendship with him.

This new beginning heralds more unexpected and miraculous shifts in Aster’s life.

Through intriguing and expressive thoughts, Aster opens up her internal world to us. We come away humbled by the lessons learnt, but also bruised by the reminder that degrading words to children by children, can be as destructive a force as words by adults to children, if not more.

This emotive and person-centred novel has many layers. It addresses family breakups and its effect on children, the magic influence of friendship, that being different shouldn’t be a stigma, and the life-saving value of books.

Title: Aster's Good Right Things
Author: Kate Gordon
Publisher: Rivited Press, $14.99
Publication Date: 1 November 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9780648492573
For ages: 11+
Type: Junior Fiction