Strong characters, complex relationships, and believable dialogue combine to create a touching story of loss and redemption.
Pamela Jean (a.k.a. Star) is sixteen when her mother dies of breast cancer. Star is angry that her mother has died and left her, and nothing seems to make her feel better: Not talking to her shrink. Not playing rock music with her best friend Dooley. Not even listening to her mother’s old familiar Beatles albums.
It is not until Star finds an unsent letter addressed to John Lennon and a broken-down vintage Gibson guitar that she begins to find a way out of her grief…and maybe even a way to take care of some unfinished business left by her mother.
Written as homage to the Beatles and the healing power of music, Mark Delaney’s unforgettable novel offers a realistic and poignant look at a difficult period in a teenager’s life and the process of finding one’s self.
“Delaney’s sensitive style and his development of realistic, multidimensional lead characters combine to create an absorbing story set in the early ’80s… The author shows how a love of art can help one cope with difficulties as he deftly balances the dual themes of dealing with tragic loss and with being different.” ―School Library Journal
“Delaney’s novel tells a quiet, moving story about a smart, capable teen learning to cope with a parent’s death… What works best is Star’s believable, gradual healing, described in vivid details and memorable scenes, as she finds ways to stay connected to her mother through their shared passion for music.” ―Booklist
“Delaney’s book will resonate with readers long after they put it down… High school teacher Delaney is able to make Star and Dooley, her best friend, true-to-life people whom readers will recognize and care about… Star’s pain and healing sends a strong message, and Delaney is the perfect conduit.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)
“Pepperland is the tender story of one young woman’s journey through the grief of losing her mother to ultimately finding herself. The cast of characters is small but runs deep, and readers root for Star to deliver the letter at an upcoming concert, to recognize how her feelings for Dooley have changed, and to find the Gibson’s chords and her own words immortalizing her mother in a song.” ―Kliatt
Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association, 2004
Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Senior High) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2005
KSRA Young Adult Book Award (Nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association, 2005
Teens’ Top Ten (Nominee) ―YALSA/ALA, 2005
AR Level: 4.9
F&P: Z, Gr 7 & up, Genre RF
Themes: Family, Grief, Music, Relationships
BISAC 1: YAF058050 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Death & Dying
BISAC 2: YAF018060 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Family / Parents
BISAC 3: YAF058110 YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings