BOOK Reviews & Summary

Inspired by a true story, Chasing North Star is a bittersweet tale looking back at a time when four free-range siblings, cigarettes in hand, roamed the streets ’til sunrise and hid from a gun-toting mentally ill mother who couldn’t help herself. Stingray bicycles, runaway horses, and monsters in the cemetery—just another day in Alamo. ­ That is, until the youngest sibling stumbles upon her mother’s story.

Chasing North Star has heart and is packed with nostalgic cultural references from the “Wonder Years” era. Inspired by a true story, Heidi McCrary’s novel is no one’s fantasy of the perfect childhood.  Part horror story/part love story, Chasing North Star keeps the reader engaged, and lays bare what it’s like to grow up with a mentally ill mother who broke her children’s 45’s but couldn’t break their spirit.

—Lori Moore, TV/Radio Personality and Actress

Chasing North Star explores universal themes of abandonment, isolation, grief, mental illness, and forgiveness in an authentic and engaging manner. The narrative is familiar, like a close friend sharing a secret. Heidi McCrary’s novel sheds light on the ways we are taught to hide or ignore the pain we see in others and just how much one person’s kindness can make all the difference to a person in their life journey.

—J. Dylan Yates, author of The Belief in Angels and Szaja’s Story

Heidi McCrary’s debut novel, Chasing North Star, is a moving story about secrets and survival and enduring sibling ties, bound by a mother’s mental illness. This heartfelt tale lingers long after the final page.

—Linda Kass, author of Tasa’s Song and A Ritchie Boy

Chasing North Star is a poignant novel that beautifully captures the small town childhood of four siblings trying to survive their mother’s frightening mental illness. The author sharply renders the generational impact of trauma by including shifts to the mother’s difficult past in wartime Germany.

—Elise Schiller, author of Watermark: The Broken Bell

Heidi McCrary delivers an unforgettable and unflinching coming-of-age novel about the ties that bind siblings in their complicated family struggles. Chasing North Star examines the pain—often terror—of growing up with a narcissistic, mentally ill mother and the fact that the love we all crave has to ultimately be found in ourselves.

—Diana Y. Paul, author of Things Unsaid