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Book clubs  •  26 April 2021


A Glasshouse of Stars book club notes

An exquisite, heartbreakingly beautiful gem of a novel for anyone who loved Wonder, Lenny's Book of Everything, A Monster Calls or When You Reach Me.

Meixing Lim and her family have arrived at the New House in the New Land. Everything is vast and unknown to Meixing – and not in a good way, including the house she names Big Scary. She is embarrassed by her second-hand shoes, has trouble understanding the language at school, and is finding it hard to make friends.

Meixing’s only solace is a glasshouse in the garden, which inexplicably holds the sun and the moon and the secrets of her memory and imagination.

When her fragile universe is rocked by tragedy, it will take all of Meixing’s resilience and bravery to find her place of belonging in this new world.

An exquisite, heartbreakingly beautiful gem of a novel for anyone who loved Wonder, Lenny's Book of Everything, A Monster Calls or When You Reach Me.



1. This book is written with an unusual second-person point of view, addressing the reader as ‘you’. Did this affect how you read the story?

2. Did you have a favourite quote or scene?

3. Which scenes did you find most moving?

4. Were you worried for Meixing and her Ma Ma? What most worried you? Was that worry resolved in the story?

5. Which characters would you most like to meet in real life?

6. Based on Shirley Marr’s own experiences of coming to Australia as a young child, A Glasshouse of Stars is a novel depicting the immigration experience – but it is also a universal story about not fitting in. Were there moments you could relate to, or that reminded you of a time when you had similar feelings of not fitting in to a group or place?

7. If you were in the magical glasshouse, and you could plant a seed that would grow and blossom into a flower, plant or tree, what would your plant be, and why?

8. Shirley Marr says, ‘Families move to new countries all the time and they are not always treated with kindness. I believe if I can make people see what it is like to be an immigrant – how it feels to walk in their shoes – then maybe this is the way I can help change the world.’ What other stories have you read, seen or listened to that helped you to walk in someone else’s shoes? What did you learn?

9. If you could ask author Shirley Marr a question about the story, what would it be?

10. Have you read any other stories with elements of magical realism? How did the glasshouse, Big Scary and the cat take you further into Meixing’s world? Do you think they were real, or did Meixing imagine them?

11. A Glasshouse of Stars is a book ‘bursting with big feelings’, as Nevermoor author Jessica Townsend said about it. What are some of those big feelings? What are some of the things that helped characters to understand their emotions and to feel more positive about their situation or feel more resilient?

12. What is your version of Meixing’s ‘glasshouse of stars’ – the place that makes you feel happy and calm, where you can go to think and contemplate and dream?

A Glasshouse of Stars Shirley Marr

An exquisite, heartbreakingly beautiful gem of a novel for anyone who loved Wonder, Lenny's Book of Everything, A Monster Calls or When You Reach Me.

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