This title was on a few "best novels of 2008" lists, and because I am on a committee to help choose the BPL's selection for best novel of 2008 I read it. I've had Earley's Jim The Boy on my bookshelf for a cuople of years, but find the cover (very similar to this cover)a bit offputting ... it's very retro in a flannel shirt wearing John Boy Walton kind of way. Fortunately I think that The Blue Star is beautifully written, it sets a complex setting without seeming the slightest bit complicated. The author takes you to this time and place in US history and lets you observe what it was like by telling the story of a teenage boy's life in a small Appalachian village in the years just before the US entered WW2. I believe that history textbooks and historical nonfiction are rarely uncompromised by opinion and/or human ignorance, so I've come to really enjoy learning about history through beautifully written fiction.