Monday, October 22, 2012

Middle School Monday: What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt


Feel like taking a trip to space? Katie's got one for those interested in galaxies far, far away. 

What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

This is a book for everyone who loved last year’s uber-realistic Okay for Now (See Katie's review here) but sorta wish it had a more of a Lord of the Rings element to it. Told in chapters alternating between this world and one in a very distant galaxy, What Came From the Stars is a tale of recovering from tragedy in a variety of places and spaces and what it means to be a hero.

The story opens on the fall of the Valorim people followed by the arrival of a lunchbox in the mail for Tommy Pepper’s birthday. At first glance (or first read, as it may be), these two events seem as unrelated as can be, but it soon becomes clear that what this lunchbox holds is not from Earth and somehow endows Tommy with abilities he could have never imagined. For Tommy this means the opportunity to save his family and bring back what was lost, but for the Valorim--worlds away--he holds the key to their future and sinister forces want to take it all away. The disasters and adventures that ensue make for a fun and clever read bursting with suspense and imagination.

A warning: There are moments when you may want to throw up your hands in confusion as plot twists abound and alien names fill your brain, but it’s worth seeing through to the end. Many middle schoolers have saved this world in books, but it’s a special case when they get to save a whole other civilization in a galaxy far, far away.... As Tommy teaches us, though--nothing is faster (or in my opinion better) than the speed of imagination.

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