Stars in the Grass is the recipient of the Christy® Award for Best Debut Fiction!


“The summer before I turned ten was idyllic—until August 3, 1970. It perfectly describes a time when I thought the world was safe and good things lasted forever…”

Nine-year-old Abby McAndrews has just experienced her greatest loss, and in its wake, her family is unraveling with guilt, grief, and anger. Her father, Reverend McAndrews, cannot return to the pulpit because he has more questions than answers. Her older brother Matt’s actions speak louder than the words he needs to confess, as he acts out in dangerous ways. Her mother tries to hold her grieving family together, but when Abby’s dad refuses to move on, the family is at a crossroads.

Stars in the Grass, set in a small Midwestern town in 1970, is an uplifting novel that explores a family’s relationships and resiliency. Abby’s heartbreaking remembrances are balanced by humor and nostalgia as her family struggles with—and ultimately celebrates—life after loss.


Categories: Fiction, Family, Women, Parenting & Relationships, Adoption



2022, pp. 426, paperback
ISBN: 978-1-955893-14-5


2021, ebook
ISBN: 978-1-955893-16-9


2021, ebook
ISBN:  978-1-955893-15-2

Publisher ‏ : ‎ Hidden Shelf Publishing House (June 13, 2022)
Language ‏ : ‎ English
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 257 pages
Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 10.7 ounces
Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 0.58 x 8.5 inches
366 reviews, 4.6 out of 5 stars
$14.99 paperback


“In this remarkable novel, Ann Marie Stewart explores the aftermath of tragedy with intelligence, grace, and subtle humor. Stars in the Grass is a story of great loss, but also of great hope. A beautiful, haunting tale, it is one I won’t soon forget.

—Ann Tatlock, award-winning author of Once Beyond a Time


“Ann Marie Stewart’s writing is outstanding and her voice captivating. I fell in love with this intriguing novel from the first page.”

—Bestselling novelist Kate Lloyd, author of Leaving Lancaster, Pennsylvania Patchwork, and Forever Amish


“Ann Marie Stewart’s beautifully crafted prose depicts a family in deep turmoil as they walk through a dark valley. . . . Told in first-person narrative by nine-year-old Abby, Stewart gets her voice just right as a precocious child thrust into the world of grief. A thought-provoking and sensitive look into the different paths each family member travels in the aftermath of tragedy, the role of God and faith along the path, and the way time wraps its way around this family until they each can embrace the truth and move forward.”

—Elizabeth Musser, bestselling author of The Long Highway Home and The Swan House


“Told through the perspective of nine-year-old Abby, Stars in the Grass offers a realistic look at the heavy toll tragedies can inflict on families. No easy answers, but many glimpses of grace are expressed through the neighbors and friends who help the family begin their journey of healing.”

–Lynn Waalkes, Christian Market Magazine


“This sweet story will speak to readers who have experienced the loss of a loved one, especially a child. The use of flashbacks makes the telling a little awkward, as the story loses the emotional immediacy of the experience when told from an adult perspective, but Abby and her family offer a realistic look at how tragedy can tear a family apart from each other and God.” 

–Kerry Sutherland, RT Book Reviews


“Ann Marie Stewart writes with immeasurable spirit as she probes the deep currents of faith and love. Abby McAndrews tells her compelling tale of family grief with truth and admirable humor. Stars in the Grass is a powerful novel that will light your way.”

—Alyson Hagy, author of Boleto and Ghosts of Wyoming

Meet The Author

Ann Marie Stewart

Every good story begins with an underlying question that the reader has to answer by the end of the novel. STARS IN THE GRASS, my first novel, won the Christy 2017 for best debut novel. The questions asked: “What happens when the worst possible event happens to your family and it might be your fault?” When a tragedy hits a small-town family, each member reacts differently, how does a family heal and grow and REspond?

RE words are my favorite themes to write about:: reconciliation, renewal, redemption, revitalize, renew. I spend time writing or reading books that are READeemables. Worth the time to write and to read, and oh so satisfying.

OUT OF THE WATER asks the reader, “Is it always better to know the truth?” When Claire Ellis seeks out her biological mother, she unravels five generations of secrets, many of which will surprise the reader in shocking twists. Was it better to find out? This novel is about reconciliation and finding redemption for the choices made.

I grew up in Seattle, Washington and am a die-hard UW Husky (and Wolverine) after earning a Masters in Film/Television from University of Michigan. I originated Preparing My Heart Series, write the column “Ann’s Lovin’ Ewe” for The Country Register. With two recent UVA grads, I’m now a huge HOO basketball fan. When I’m not writing, I’m teaching voice or taking care of the many sheep of Skyemoor Farm.


Hidden Shelf Publishing House - P.O. Box 4168 - McCall, ID 83638