Cover Image: Dog Star

Dog Star

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Member Reviews

DOG STAR was a good middle grade book based around the true events of what happened during the space race. This book is a great way to introduce middle grade readers to that time in history while making it relatable to them. The story wasn't exactly fast paced but it flowed well enough I didn't feel like I was getting bored either. Though I will say I found I liked the dogs point of view best. This is definitely a book I would recommend to anyone who loves dogs, history or even space.
I will say this book can be triggering in some instances as it does keep the true ending so please be aware of that.
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Laika, a lonely dog snatched off the streets, and Nina, a lonely Russian girl whose best friend’s family has fled to the United States for political reasons, find solace and friendship when Nina volunteers in her father’s lab where Laika is training to be the Soviet Union’s first dog in space. It’s a lovely story about the bond between a dog and a girl braving challenging times.  The chapters voiced by the dog are particularly effective. While the ending, based on actual events, is sad and may be a trigger for some middle-schoolers, this short and sweet historical fantasy is a creative way to introduce young people to the 1950’s space race.
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DOG STAR is the kind of book that will stay with you for a long time. It grabs you with Nina's story of her lonely childhood and her father's secrets, then grabs you even more when Laika comes into her life. And the two of them together...who can resist a girl and her dog on heartstopping adventures, leading to tense, brave, and loving moments. There are also heartbreaking moments, but the ending is truly beautiful. 5 stars.
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DOG STAR is a lovely tale that manages to be both heart-wrenching and inspirational. We cheer for our two main characters to find each other - Laika, the soon-to-be cosmonaut dog, and Nina, a young girl who begins to be aware of what it really means to live in Soviet Russia during the late 1950s. Their need for each other and what they gain from each other transcends the ever-approaching separation. I cried my eyes out! But my heart was so full, too, that I forgive Shepherd for breaking it in the first place. Five (dog)stars for this stunning novel. <3
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I loved Dog Star! Having read a lot about the Space Race, I was intrigued to read this book, with its historical fiction aspect. Based on what was known about Laika, the dog sent into orbit, this story alternates POV between Laika, and a young Russian girl who is the daughter of the scientist in charge of this orbit. She feels torn between her desire to uphold her family’s patriotic image (lest they be punished), and her doubts as to what will actually happen to Laika. A riveting, intriguing story.
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I'm going to start off with the positives of this novel. Even though it is middle grade the author chose to keep the true ending of Laika's story. Laika was a real dog shot into space on a death mission. I found "Dog Star" to be a quick and easy read. It won't necessarily grip you but it doesn't drag on and on. And here are the things I didn't like. The writing was not the greatest. There are pages where every sentence is stared with 'she' or 'the'. It's very redundant and quite frankly annoying. The author does not paint the picture she just tells you what's happening. The plot was also very slow. Stuff was technically happening but it was for the most part not that interesting. The characters were also written in an unnatural way. The dialogue felt forced and the relationships felt fake.. I think this would be good for the younger range of middle grade ages. I usually can appreciate middle grade but this just wasn't it for me.
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Free book from Netgalley for review ~ 

I liked this book!  I think it’ll be good for middlegrade readers to see what that era of history was like in a very different culture.  Although I found Laika’s sections more compelling than Nina’s both were important to tell the story the writer had in mind.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this story, especially the parts that were written from the dog's point of view. I would recommend this story to kids who like dogs, history, or both!
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