The Healing Star posits a world in which a dying grandmother, who is protagonist Julia's 'cosmic twin', may be healed by a particular kind of magic if Julia can find an old falling star with special stardust properties. Her goal is in keeping with those in her town who would catch such a star either for resale profit or to make their deepest wishes come true.
Julia sets out with a plan; but like most plans, it's subject to change and life circumstances. Guided by her ailing grandmother, who she calls Grammu, she must be stronger and braver than she's ever been before to confront the "magic in the sky" that her grandmother has warned her about.
As advanced elementary to middle school readers traverse Julia's world, they receive a fine combination of a magical journey and a coming-of-age story as Julia evolves to realize her own powers and how she can be more effective in her own life and that of her grandmother.
During a series of confrontations with a lost girl and other characters who also pursue a different kind of goal for winning, Julia finds herself in a situation where she might be trapped forever as her beloved grandmother fades away. Can she defeat the One-Eyed Thief and develop a rare brand of heroism while staying true to her goals and heart?
A. Kidd cultivates a special sense of magic in chronicling Julia's struggles against the odds. To call it a fantasy alone would be to do it an injustice: The Healing Star is as much a story of a young girl's efforts to achieve the impossible as it is the tale of a town steeped in the magic and legend of stardust and the potentials and consequences of seemingly unreachable dreams.
Ultimately, it's a story about living and dying. Julia's efforts and choices lead to a surprising conclusion that will leave all ages with much food for thought and a warm feeling about the powers of The Healing Star and its true impact.