Project Description

Teacher’s Guide


by Mark Delaney

Strong characters, complex relationships, and believable dialogue combine to create an unforgettable story of loss and redemption.

Pamela Jean (a.k.a. Star) is sixteen when her mother dies of breast cancer. Star is angry that her mother has died and left her, and nothing seems to make her feel better: Not talking to her shrink. Not playing rock music with her best friend Dooley. Not even listening to her mother’s old familiar Beatles albums.

It is not until Star finds an unsent letter addressed to John Lennon and a broken-down vintage Gibson guitar that she begins to find a way out of her grief…and maybe even a way to take care of some unfinished business left by her mother.

Written with compassion, Mark Delaney’s new novel offers a realistic and poignant look at a difficult period in a teenager’s life.

Hardcover: $14.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-317-7
Total Pages: 221
Size: 6 x 8 1/2
Language: English
Paperback: $7.95
ISBN: 978-1-56145-402-0
Total Pages: 221
Size: 5 1/4 x 8
Language: English
Format: E-book
ISBN: 978-1-56145-717-5
Age Range: 12 – 16
Language: English

Purchase this E-book through the following vendors:

Baker & Taylor
Barnes & Noble
Recorded Books

Accelerated Reader
AR Quiz#: 82402
AR Reading Level: 4.9
AR Points: 8

F&P (Fountas & Pinnell)
F&P Level: Z
F&P Grade: 7th and up

Reading Counts
Reading Counts Level: 6.2
Reading Counts Points: 13


“As she works through her grief, deals with the bullying of her best friend, and struggles to write a song for her mother, Star begins to slowly heal and come to the realization that, just like the old guitar, people also can be meticulously repaired with a great deal of hard work and true caring. Delaney’s book will resonate with readers long after they put it down. Star’s palpable grief and the love of those around her make it a real story about a teenaged girl who is struggling to accept and overcome the emptiness she feels. High school teacher Delaney is able to make Star and Dooley, her best friend, true-to-life people whom readers will recognize and care about. Teens-and those who can remember the 80s firsthand-will wallow in the nostalgic references. True guitar aficionados will appreciate the loving way in which Star helps to repair her mother’s guitar, and Beatles fans will enjoy the fact that every chapter title is a Beatles’ song title. Star’s pain and healing sends a strong message, and Delaney is the perfect conduit.” ―VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)

“Delaney’s sensitive style and his development of realistic, multidimensional lead characters combine to create an absorbing story set in the early ’80s… The author shows how a love of art can help one cope with difficulties as he deftly balances the dual themes of dealing with tragic loss and with being different.” ―School Library Journal

“Delaney’s novel tells a quiet, moving story about a smart, capable teen learning to cope with a parent’s death… What works best is Star’s believable, gradual healing, described in vivid details and memorable scenes, as she finds ways to stay connected to her mother through their shared passion for music.” ―Booklist

“Pepperland is the tender story of one young woman’s journey through the grief of losing her mother to ultimately finding herself. The cast of characters is small but runs deep, and readers root for Star to deliver the letter at an upcoming concert, to recognize how her feelings for Dooley have changed, and to find the Gibson’s chords and her own words immortalizing her mother in a song.” ―Kliatt


Young Adult Top Forty ―Pennsylvania School Librarians Association 2004

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (senior high) ―Kansas National Education Association 2005

Teens’ Top Ten (nominee) ―YALSA/ALA 2005

KSRA Young Adult Book Award (nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association 2005

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Meet the Author

Mark Delaney earned a masters degree in comparative literature from the University of California at Irvine. He is the author of the Misfits, Inc. series and Pepperland. A former bookstore owner, he now teaches high school. Delaney lives in Tennessee.