Title: Starbird Murphy and the World Outside
Author: Karen Finneyfrock
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: June 12, 2014
I had no expectations for this book as I only picked it up because it was a new release. I was taken in by the great font choice and the great font choice only yet again. Starbird Murphy and the World Outside is probably the most surprising book I’ve read so far this summer, though, in terms of what it was about and in terms of how much I enjoyed it.
A brief summary from the author’s website:
In her sixteen years of life, Starbird has never touched a dollar bill. She’s never been in a car. She’s never used a cell phone. That’s because Starbird has always lived on the Free Family Farm, a commune in the woods of Washington state. But all that is about to change. When Starbird gets her “Calling” to be a waitress at the Free Family’s restaurant in Seattle, she decides to leave behind the only home she’s ever known. Nothing could have prepared Starbird for the World Outside, or for what it would teach her about the Family—and herself.
What I loved about this book was its rare take on communal life. Starbird’s feelings for and loyalty to the Family are what drove this book for me. The heart of the book is what she experiences while at home and then when she ventures to the outside world for the first time. She has to face how the world views her family, and decide whether its worth defending – making some revelations about herself along the way. Starbird Murphy and the World Outside does a great job about looking at one issue from multiple perspectives and allowing the reader to draw their own conclusions and opinions.
There’s a bit of mystery included in the story when Starbird starts to look over the finances of their restaurant and stumbles across some surprising findings, and when she continues to search for her older brother who disappeared in the outside world years ago. Also, there’s a few interesting takes on romance and love, and I thought the love story aspect of the story was adorable.
All of the characters were multi-faceted and thoroughly engaging to read about. Starbird was likeable and relatable and everything you’d want in a main character. I was rooting for her the whole time, and I had a great time doing so. Overall, this is a new and exciting contemporary YA book that you should definitely give a shot if you are tired of reading about the same thing over and over.
5 out of 5 stars.