Cover image for Superstar / Mandy Davis.
Superstar / Mandy Davis.
First paperback edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2019.
Physical Description:
320 pages ; 20 cm
Space-obsessed Lester Musselbaum experiences the challenges of his first days of public school: making friends, facing bullies, finding his "thing," and accidentally learning of his autism-spectrum diagnosis. Adapted from Amazon description.
Audience/Reading Level:
Interest age level: 8-12.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
DAV Paperback Junior Paperback Fiction

On Order



A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year!

"Lester's first-person narrative is honest and pure." --Kirkus (starred review)

Perfect for fans of Fish in a Tree and Wonder, this uplifting debut novel from Mandy Davis follows space-obsessed Lester Musselbaum as he experiences the challenges of his first days of public school: making friends, facing bullies, finding his "thing," and accidentally learning of his autism-spectrum diagnosis.

Lester's first days as a fifth grader at Quarry Elementary School are not even a little bit like he thought they would be--the cafeteria is too loud for Lester's ears, there are too many kids, and then there's the bully.

Lester was always home-schooled, and now he's shocked to be stuck in a school where everything just seems wrong. That's until he hears about the science fair, which goes really well for Lester! This is it. The moment where I find out for 100 percent sure that I won.

But then things go a bit sideways, and Lester has to find his way back. A touching peek into the life of a sensitive autism-spectrum boy facing the everydayness of elementary school, Superstar testifies that what you can do isn't nearly as important as who you are.

"A lovely, heartfelt narrative about the things we've lost, and the things we've found again." --Gary D. Schmidt, Newbery Honor winner for The Wednesday Wars

"I LOVE LESTER." --Linda Urban, author of Milo Speck, Accidental Agent and A Crooked Kind of Perfect

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In an excellent first novel, Davis channels the idiosyncratic perspective and voice of Lester, a 10-year-old stargazer, as he makes the difficult transition from homeschooling to fifth grade. Layers of unspoken grief for Lester's astronaut father, who died five years earlier, loom large, especially because Lester's mother resists her son's avid interest in space. When she takes a job at the library and Lester starts school, Davis strongly sketches how his personality and quirks make for a difficult adjustment: Lester struggles with a bully, can't stand the cacophony of the cafeteria, lacks tact and social skills, calls out in class, and doesn't handle schedule changes well. Lester is an immensely sympathetic narrator as he navigates a friendship with a fashion-forward classmate, competes in the science fair, and participates in a kickball game. When he opens an official letter addressed to his mother, he discovers that he's been diagnosed with "autism spectrum disorder" and works to understand what that means. This unsentimental portrait of an endearing and memorable protagonist offers powerful insight into living with autism. Ages 8-12. Agent: Jennifer Laughran, Andrea Brown Literary. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

Flight trajectories consume autistic ten-year-old Lesters thoughts: those of meteors, planes, even kickballs. Up till now Lester has led a sheltered, home-schooled life, but Lesters astronaut father has died, the familys savings have dwindled, and his mother takes a full-time job. Suddenly, Lester finds that his own trajectory is about to change: hell now have to attend public school, with a realistically portrayed about-to-retire teacher who is not thrilled to have him in her class, no less. Fortunately, Lester finds a friend in classmate Abby--that is, until a new student joins the class and steals Abby away. If readers accept the fact that Lester has never heard of autism (despite his mother being a librarian), there is plenty to enjoy in this story of friendship, bullying, education, and community. Lesters literal perceptions are often different from what the adults (and readers) understand, providing insight into his character, especially surrounding his relationship with Abby and his ideas of what a friend should be. And thats a superstar message for all readers. ed spicer (c) Copyright 2017. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.