Catch a Falling Star

Meg McKinlay

Catch a Falling Star
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Catch a Falling Star

Meg McKinlay

This coming-of-age story by multiple-award-winner Meg McKinlay is about loss and grief, dealing with change and fighting to hold on to what you can, while letting go of what you can’t.

It’s 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world’s first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things twelve-year-old Frankie thought she’d forgotten. Things her mum won’t talk about, and which her little brother Newt never knew. Only … did he? Does he?

Because as Skylab circles closer, Newt starts acting strangely. And while the world watches the sky, Frankie keeps her own eyes on Newt. Because if anyone’s going to keep him safe, it’s her. It always has been. But maybe this is something bigger than splinters and spiders and sleepwalking. Maybe a space station isn’t the only thing heading straight for calamity.


Twelve-year-old Frankie Avery knows that sometimes things fall when they’re not supposed to. When the small plane that’s carrying her dad across Australia falls from the sky, Frankie loses her father and her hopes for the future with him. Carrying her grief close allows Frankie to navigate the days – school, friends, and keeping her little brother, Newt, safe. But when Skylab, one of the world’s first space stations, starts to fall towards the earth, towards Frankie’s home, it ignites something in Frankie and Newt that won’t go out.

In a book perfectly pitched for readers on the cusp of adolescence, Meg McKinlay explores the isolation of grief and the importance of having something to wish for. Frankie’s frustration at her mother, at Newt, and at her best friend, Kat, is so relatable – the feeling of not having your life truly seen is one that middle-grade readers will be so familiar with, as they occupy the space of being no longer a child but not quite a teenager. McKinlay, as always, brings an enormous amount of insight to a story without weighing it down and the result is a book that is tender, hopeful, and slightly surreal. For ages 11+.

Bec Kavanagh works as a bookseller at Readings Kids.

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