The year is 1948. Young Nova Tierney’s life is not perfect, but fairly close. She has a caring mother (Catherine) and aunt (Dortha), a 14-year-old brother Dewey whom she adores, and Josef their boarder, who is a father figure to her. School is out for the summer, and she and Dewey study the night sky and the stars. Dewey dreams of some day being able to walk on the moon, even though people tell him it’s impossible.
Then polio moves through the town, and Dewey is one of its victims. He is hospitalized, and Nova vows to watch the moon for him until he is well again. This is the first fictionalized book I have come across that gives a picture of what it’s like to have polio. Until I read this story, I did not fully comprehend how terrified people were of polio. We just take our vaccine, and don’t give the disease a second thought.
In addition to the interesting storyline, the book does a good job of exploring the relationships between the main characters – Catherine and her children, Aunt Dortha and Catherine, Nova and Josef, and of course Nova and her brother Dewey. If you’re looking for action and suspense, this is not the book. But if you’re in the mood for a book about a family that cares about each other, and gets through a crisis together, this is a fine one.