Gus and the Starlight

Victoria Carless

Gus and the Starlight
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Gus and the Starlight

Victoria Carless

A spine-tingling and heart-warming story about friendship and finding your special place in the world.       

Gus doesn’t want to make friends. She also doesn’t want to be intrigued by the cat-lady teacher at her new school, or the Riley’s Comet project that she and her seaweed-eating science partner are working on together.   

And she definitely doesn’t want to fall in love with her job as the projectionist at the Starlight, a drive-in movie theatre that her family is reviving.   

Because, knowing Gus’s luck, she and her family could be moving on in a day, or a week, or a month. When the ghosts that haunt Mum catch up with them. Or if the Starlight doesn’t succeed.     Then she’ll have to say goodbye. Again.     And saying goodbye is too hard.       


‘A magical middle-grade book with a feather-light fantastical touch that wonderfully helps the young protagonist figure out their complex and confusing family; the hope they have in their heart for a fresh start, and the ways that the past can haunt and help us. Just - stunning!’    - Danielle Binks, award-winning author of The Year the Maps Changed   

‘An utterly captivating tale of family, friends and a haunted drive-in cinema, told with gentle humour and poignant moments that tug on the heart-strings.’    - Kate Forsyth, best-selling and award-winning author of The Chain of Charms series  


Eleven-year-old Gus has learned over the years not to get too attached to her home, friends or community as her family, for various reasons, is always on the move. But when they finally settle into a small country town and find themselves running the Starlight Drive-In Movie Theatre, Gus sees reason to hope for a more stable future. She throws herself into her new role as projectionist and ‘marketer extraordinaire’ only to be thwarted by a fiendish plot and a mystery of supernatural proportions. Will she resist the temptation to retreat to the patterns of the past and withdraw from her new life or overcome her challenges to embrace new friendships and opportunities?

Like Gus, I was fully invested in the Able family’s success and their search for a home, belonging and community. This wonderfully compelling story told with a poignant gentle humour, quirky characters and a light deft touch of the fantastical makes Victoria Carless’ debut novel a must. Highly recommended for upper primary and lower secondary readers.

Athina Clarke is the children’s book buyer from Readings Malvern

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