Skip to main content Skip to search Skip to search

Young Adult Fiction Epic

Above the Star

The 8th Island Trilogy, Book 1, A Novel

by (author) Alexis Marie Chute

Initial publish date
Jun 2018
Epic, Paranormal, Survival Stories
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2018
    List Price

Add it to your shelf

Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Reading age: 14 to 18


When frumpy senior citizen Archie goes in search of his missing son in the Spanish Canary Islands, he stumbles upon a higher mission: locating a magical cure for his ailing fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Ella. Using a portal-jumping device called the Tillastrion, Archie and a stone-headed creature named Zeno are transported to Jarr-Wya, a magnificent yet terrifying island in a connected realm—along with Ella and her strong-willed mother, Tessa, who accidentally stow away on this not-so-secret quest.

What they find on Jarr-Wya is an island tortured by a wicked Star anchored in the sea, and a raging three-way battle for dominion between the stone-wielding Bangols, the fiery Olearons, and the evil Millia sands. Ella’s wit and resourcefulness emerge in this new world, while Tessa is forced to confront her long-buried secrets and a confusing new love triangle. When Ella is captured, Tessa and Archie—with the help of a company of peculiar allies—set out to save her and unravel the terrible mystery of her cure.

A mesmerizing, stay-up-all-night adventure of three unlikely heroes, Above the Star reminds us that even the smallest act of bravery can transform our lives and the fates of the worlds around us.

About the author

Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning author, artist, filmmaker, curator, and inspirational speaker. Her memoir, Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss, was a Kirkus Best Book of 2017 and received many literary awards. Expecting Sunshine is also a highly acclaimed feature documentary film, produced, and directed by the author that was screened around the world in 2018 and 2019. Her 8th Island Trilogy—including the novels Above the Star, Below the Moon, and Inside the Sun—has been called “A Wrinkle in Time meets The Princess Bride” (Lee Lee Thompson, The Perpetual You), was a 2018 “Top 15 Unputdownable YA Reads” pick (Bookstr), and a 5/5 Readers’ Favorite book. Chute holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. She is an internationally exhibited painter and photographer, curator of InFocus Photography Exhibition, and widely published writer of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. She lives in snowy Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, with her husband, Aaron, and their three living children.

Alexis Marie Chute's profile page

Editorial Reviews

2019 Readers View Literary Awards Winner: YA category
2018 IPPY Bronze Medal Winner in Fantasy
2018 International Book Awards Finalist in Best New Fiction
2018 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Fantasy
2018 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Young Adult

“Though reminiscent of beloved fantasies—think A Wrinkle in Time meets The Princess BrideAbove the Star is a magical rendition of a wholly creative tale. Chute imagines unheard of lands, mythical characters, and irresistible folklore, weaving all the magic together with what we know to be true: everyone is searching for something. Her sympathy for the characters—both human and not—is palpable, leaving even the most despicable anti-heroes with room for redemption. And while the story is relentless in its conflict, there are enough moments of tenderness to keep the reader from being overwhelmed. Above the Star is as fanciful as it is grounded, and as gritty as it is fantastic. Chute's visual, visceral storytelling will pull you into a reality you never saw coming and a world you'll be sad to leave behind.”

—Lee Lee Thompson, publisher of The Perpetual You magazine

Above the Star is one weird and wild ride full of memorable characters created by an imaginative writer. A mesmerizing and other-worldly read that kept me off-balance from beginning to end. Think of Star Wars, The Lord of The Rings and Homer’s Odyssey all wrapped up together in a gift box called Above the Star. A spellbinding tale of a hero’s quest to save his daughter from the clutches of illness and evil.”

—Raymond Gariepy, editor of WestWord magazine

Above the Star is a creative tour de force from the wildly talented author/artist Alexis Marie Chute. Part adventure, part fantasy, part family saga, part quest, the novel leads its heroines and heroes—some human, some extra-human—into peril and redemption, love and loss, and terrors generated by both illness and magic until they finally emerge into a world where courage makes everything possible. The first in the 8th Island Trilogy, Above the Star ingenuously incorporates Chute’s own drawings as important clues that keep the tale racing forward. Her images help to create a strange new world so thoroughly real that when you put the book down—if you do—you won’t remember where you are.”

—Pamela Petro, author of Sitting up with the Dead and the artist’s book AfterShadows

"Alexis Marie Chute's vivid, descriptive passages transported me into a fantastic yet dangerous world. But this is more than an incredible voyage; this is a story about family — it raises the question: How far would a parent go to save the life of a child? You will cheer for Ella, as she transforms from helpless victim to savvy heroine, spurred to greatness by her strange new allies. This is a book that combines adventure, mysticism and also offers a worthy character study."

—Steven Sandor, editor of Avenue Magazine

“Infused with the mysterious and the fantastical, Above the Star is both a page-turning story of a young girl's coming-of-age and a gripping tale of a family's journey through illness, grief, aAbove the Star will leave readers reluctant to leave this magical world and breathlessly awaiting more.”

—Laurie Foos, author of Ex Utero and The Blue Girl

“Chute’s debut fantasy novel takes you on an exhilarating trip to an enchanting, dangerous world where adventure, discovery, and the cure to a young girl’s illness awaits . . . an enticing first installment to the 8th Island Trilogy.”

—Naomi Maharaj, Masters of Library Information Studies

“In this endlessly inventive fantasy, Alexis Marie Chute handles a prismatic but utterly compelling plot with the skill of an expert storyteller, effortlessly blending the magical and the matter-of-fact. Chute’s imagination evokes a dazzling, sometimes scary, world—a world both enchanted and cursed—but her deepest strength may be her gift for creating indelible characters. The more we get to know the book’s three intrepid heroes, the more time we want to spend with them. Above the Star is a wild ride indeed, and we gratefully go along for the ride, not just for the adventures, but also for the company we keep."

—Steven Cramer, author of Clangings and Goodbye to the Orchard

Above the Star is a fantastical fast-paced quest, anchored in the familial–in this case, a father’s desire to find his missing son and to care for his teenaged granddaughter. It is parental love to the extreme, beyond all bounds, even into the next dimension. Chute’s experience as an award-winning artist brings Above the Star to life with her visual storytelling, clearly crafting an entirely new world, and through the thought-provoking ink illustrations. Above the Star shows readers that there is a power within all of us to change the world, right where we are.”

—Jessica Kluthe, author of Rosina, The Midwife

Above the Star is an adrenaline-charged ride that grips you tight! Just when you think you know what’s coming next, you’re hit with a new twist! With relatable characters (some that are out of this world), expressive description, and an attention-grabbing premise, book one of The 8th Island Trilogy leaves you breathless in anticipation of what’s to come in the next installment.”

—Adrianne Baker, Librarian

“Get ready to be lost and then found in a world of intrigue, suspense, and love. Time will stand still as you travel through dimensions to the far-off land of Jarr-Wya and engage in a battle between good and evil. You may just discover Naiu inside of yourself as you fight alongside the heroes of Above the Star to find a cure and a way back home.”

—Donloree Hoffman, author of If I Die, Please Bring Cheesecake to My Funeral

“Fasten your seat belts and break out the life preservers. Above the Star, the first book in Alexis Marie Chute's The 8th Island Trilogy sucks the reader, as well as a cruise ship, through a dimensional portal into a world filled with compulsive stony beings, fiery philosophers, and deliciously dangerous and horrifyingly sentient crushed shell people. Propelled by a grandfather's determination to save the life of his dying teenaged granddaughter, Chute’s exquisite prose powers a rollicking roller coaster of a tale filled with the kinds of twists and turns that will leave even the most stalwart of armchair adventurers breathless.”

—Mindy Tarquini, award-winning author of The Infinite Now and Hindsight

“In Above the Star, a regular family with heartbreaking problems enters a world of epic adventures and the possibility of extraordinary solutions. Alexis Marie Chute manages to tell a fantastical tale that is also deeply human.”

—Todd Babiak, author of Son of France

Above the Star is a debut fantasy novel by Canadian author-artist Alexis Marie Chute. Like Alexis Marie herself, this novel has unexpected corners and charmingly quirky characters. This piece would be just another adventure-fantasy, were it not for the main character of Ella, a 14-year-old girl who doesn’t speak. Ella is seriously ill and deteriorating, and the novel’s quest is for her family (grumpy grandpa Archie, strong-willed mother Tessa) to find her a cure by whatever means possible. Including a journey to a planet-world that no-one has ever heard of in company with Zeno, a yellow-eyed mystic who sports stones on his face, and various other strange beings who inhabit the world of Jarr-Wya. This imaginative tour-de-force is outstanding for the sensitive treatment given to Ella, who despite her illness shines quietly as an emerging character. Highly recommended for Middle Grade and their parents.”

—Cynthia Sally Haggard, author of Thwarted Queen and Farewell My Life

“An amazing novel that easily transports you to another world. Filled with excitement and adventure, Above the Star is a must-read!”

—Maya Breen, Grade 11 student

“Centered around a magical underworld in the sea off the west coast of Africa, Above the Star is a lively tale of hope, loss, and love written with layers of visual detail that draw the reader into Jarr-Wya, where sand, fire, glass and water take on political dimensions as the Wellsley family seeks a cure for fourteen-year-old Ella’s terminal illness. The intermingling of mythology and imagination fuel this exploration of good, evil, and the unintended consequences of risky choices. Fast-paced and engaging, Above the Star will fascinate readers.”

—Casandra Goldwater, word-and-image photographer, writer, and professor

“An exciting ending that sets up the story to come.”

RT Book Review

"A land that exists above a fallen star and is filled with amazing landscapes and fabulous creatures will hold you spellbound until the last page. Above the Star not only grips you with tales of magical beings but is also about the very real problems of parenting a sick child. Ella is a gifted girl who sketches the sights she sees, and these sketches really bring the book alive. The characters in the book are incredibly well written and both the human and Jarr-Wya inhabitants will have you entranced. This is an epic tale."

—Reader's Favorite

"As much as this book is about magic and strange creatures, it is the tale of a family united through a difficult time. It the story of love and how far someone will go to protect the people that mean the most to them."


“Chute has created a young adult fantasy with teeth."

—US Review of Books

Above the Star took me on a wild ride! I did not want to put this book down. I highly recommend this book for fans of fantasy fiction. It’s a captivating start in what promises to be a spectacular series!”

—Reader Views

“I am fully invested in the lives of the Wellsley family and their time on the island. As a YA fantasy Above the Star really delivered the goods in terms of adventure, intrigue, substance, and suspense. The author has a gift for writing with great detail. I am anxious to see the rest of the story unfold.”

—Reader Views

Other titles by Alexis Marie Chute