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Extended Audio Sample Light from a Distant Star: A Novel Audiobook, by Mary McGarry Morris Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (504 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary McGarry Morris Narrator: Amy Rubinate Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781470804565
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A gripping coming-of-age novel with a murder at its heart and a heroine as unforgettable as Harper Lee’s Scout

Light from a Distant Star is the moving and powerful story of innocence and betrayal told in the endearingly wise voice of thirteen-year-old Nellie Peck. It is early summer, and her beloved father’s business is failing. Her mother has to go back to work, and Nellie’s older half sister has launched a troubling search for her birth father. Forced to take care of her shy younger brother, Nellie is determined to make him—and herself—toughen up. Three strangers enter Nellie’s protected life: mysterious and brutish Max Devaney works in her grandfather’s junkyard, the thieving Bucky Saltonstall has just arrived from New York City, and Dolly Bedelia, a young stripper who rents the small apartment in the back of the Pecks’ house, becomes the titillating focus of Nellie’s eavesdropping.

Nellie is justly proud of her own infallible lie detector until violence erupts in her young life and she is silenced by fear and scandal. The truth as she believes it is shocking and unthinkable, and with everyone’s eyes riveted on her in the courtroom, Nellie finds herself compromised by moral confusion. No one will listen, no one believes her, and a man’s life hangs in the balance.

A stunning evocation of innocence lost, Light from a Distant Star stands as one of the most engaging novels yet from the bestselling author of Songs in Ordinary Time.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Mary McGarry Morris doesn’t so much tell a story as spin a delicate and powerful web. With her elegant prose, beautifully drawn characters, and perfect pitch dialog, she lured me in. And with her intense and gripping plot, she had me ensnared. I was in love with the sensitive, smart, and plucky Nellie from the very first moment I met her, and I’ll be thinking of her for a good long time. Light from a Distant Star is a wonderful, powerful novel not to be missed.”

    Lisa Unger, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Offers a timeless and timely look at small-town life, as seen by wise, verbose, and intensely naïve thirteen-year-old heroine Nellie Peck…Morris’ page-turner, (which evokes To Kill a Mockingbird) will satisfy her fans and send new readers searching for her earlier titles.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “While the story is seen through Nellie’s eyes as she struggles to find her voice in the world, Rubinate also does a wonderful job of making the supporting characters come to life, including the breathy and bubbly Dolly and the gruff but likable Max, two characters whose voices reflect their dual natures.”

    AudioFile

  • “An engaging coming-of-age story and a dark tale of murder and its aftermath in a small, sleepy town…Morris skillfully traces Nellie’s gradual realization that reputations are not always what they seem and that the truth must come out no matter the cost.”

    Booklist

  • “Teens will readily identify with the true awkwardness of age 13, the time when one is alternately ‘old enough to know better,’ and ‘too young to understand’…Morris possesses the ability to speak for those who struggle to find a voice in greater society while creating an intriguing plot to keep the pages rolling.”

    School Library Journal

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 1/26/2014

    " This book was painful--many raw emotions from the 10-year-old brother to his 13- and 16-year old sisters, to their parents, friends, and neighbors. Thirteen-year-old Nellie, the main character was likable, lovable, infuriating, annoying, and unforgettable. The one I wanted more developed was the mother--I'd like to know more about her past. Will definitely look for more of this author's books. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Heaether | 1/24/2014

    " Well I did like this book but it was about 7-10 chapters to long. I mean you know who did it and why from the beginning, so why need to drag on the story??? "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Gina | 1/20/2014

    " After about 80 pages I started skipping ahead to see if it might pick up when it hit the major plot point. It didn't. It read like someone's diary of everything single thing that happened to them every day, without feeling like there was direction or movement. I gave up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sophia Musgrave | 1/4/2014

    " This author does a great job of getting into the mindset of her characters, such amazing writing, very descriptive and it does a wonderful job of creating this setting. She makes me remember what it was like to be a young teen and not understand everything around you, be at the mercy of the adults in your world who make all the rules. She shows how parents can be loving but due to life circumstances are also still human with frailties and can mess up sometimes. I loved the main character, Nellie, a girl who continues to stand up for what she believes in, despite obstacles put in her way. The other people in her family, the characters have so much depth. This a book that is slightly depressing and is not a read if you want fluff. It is a deep book, well worth some thought. It is something that I think will stay with me for a long time. There were parts where you want to just tell the other characters to grow up or where you yearn to wish things could be different for the poor family, but it does a great job of being true to life, very realistic and makes you long for childhood again too. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steena | 12/28/2013

    " Lots of subplots that never reach relevancy. Also, the book is dragged out and pretty dull. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Harriet | 11/30/2013

    " I could not get into this book so I did not read it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica fein | 11/29/2013

    " It's Refreshing to read a book that finally depicts a capable, thoughtful, and smart 13 year old. There are some out there...it was nice to read from her perspective and not through flashbacks. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer Anderson | 11/15/2013

    " Very satisfying. As always, MMM delivers. Vanished is still my favorite (and most disturbing) but I really like Nellie, our narrator, and wanting to stay with her was very easy. I always come away from MMM feeling like I just took an art walk. Each book is a masterful creation. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 11/13/2013

    " Another engaging novel from this award winning author, about a 13 year old who wants to tell the truth about what she saw and the misguided adults who keep thwarting her. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sherri Mchugh | 11/12/2013

    " Absolutely wonderful book. Morris never misses the mark. The voice of Nellie is so true to that of a thirteen year old. Highly recommend this absorbing read!!! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cindy | 9/27/2013

    " I enjoyed reading this book. It made me realize that as a parent I should pay more attention to what my children are trying to tell me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 8/14/2013

    " Coming of age story with a murder thrown in. Although I knew who was going to be murdered and who did it and who was going to be accused early on, I still liked it. A young 11 yr old, Nellie, is smart and tries to do the right thing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Donna | 7/9/2013

    " Drew me in and kept me there. I'll be checking out other books by this author. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jill | 6/21/2013

    " While I liked the lead character Nelly and her younger brother Henry Peck, The plot moved at a slow pace and the ending left me wanting. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Sharon Plett | 1/29/2013

    " The ending did not in anyway reward me for the time I invested in this book. The main character had the potential to be endearing but was mostly just annoying to her family and to the reader. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Melanie | 10/22/2012

    " This book was okay. Kind of a To Kill a Mockingbird type story, but just not as good. I just don't think the author had a good grip on thirteen year old behavior. Unless this was supposed to take place years ago when middle school kids acted like elementary school kids. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 shirley | 10/17/2012

    " Great story of courage from a 13 year old girl in an adult world. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amber | 6/4/2012

    " Not so bad I didn't want to finish it. But, deeply convoluted and very dark. Took a long time getting to the point of the story... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 10/23/2011

    " I loved this book. Nellie grabbed my heart and never let go. The adults were very frustrating but my emotional reaction to them just emphasises how good this book reads. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kate | 10/18/2011

    " Another engaging novel from this award winning author, about a 13 year old who wants to tell the truth about what she saw and the misguided adults who keep thwarting her. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bj | 7/27/2011

    " This was a listless book. Seemed to lack a tight enough plot to make me want to keep reading although I did finish it. The ending was hohum, like ok, what do I write to end it? "

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About the Author

Mary McGarry Morris is the author of several highly acclaimed novels. Entertainment Weekly included Fiona Range on its list of the best books of 2000, Vanished was nominated for both the National Book Award and the Pen/Faulkner Award, A Dangerous Woman was made into a feature film starring Debra Winger in 1993, and Songs in Ordinary Time was a 1997 Oprah’s Book Club Selection.

About the Narrator

Amy Rubinate has narrated over 250 audiobooks and won multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards. Her books have been selected for AudioFile’s Best Romance of 2016 list; Booklist’s Top 10 Romance, Top 10 Historical Fiction, Editor’s Choice Media; and YALSA’s Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults. She has a degree in oral interpretation of literature and won state and national awards for poetry reading. A voice actor and singer for over a decade, Amy has narrated many interactive children’s books and provided character voices for toys and video games. Amy’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, AudioFile magazine, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal.