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What Came from the Stars Hardcover – September 4, 2012
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From School Library Journal
“Spielberg, get ready for this boldly imagined outer-space offering.”—Kirkus
“Schmidt, already a best-seller and award winner, should pick up even more fans with this crowd-pleasing fantasy.”—Booklist
“Wonderfully strange. . . . This inventive and memorable story for readers ages 10-15 manages to mingle the quotidian and the movingly supernatural. It's funny, too.”—The Wall Street Journal
"The balance of emotions is flawless."—Bulletin
Top Customer Reviews
Gary Schmidt is a prime example of the depth this genre. I have read every one of his books and have yet to be disappointed. "What Came from the Stars" is a prime example.
On the surface, this novel is Schmidt's foray into science fiction. In reality, it is an examination of loss, forgiveness, and redemption. No spoiler alert here. I am not going to give away the plot. But these plot elements are so deftly woven into the story that they are almost invisible. But by the end of the book, the reader cannot help but feel and understand them. A heck of a lesson for young people.
Schmidt has many valuable qualities as a writer. He has impeccable command of voice. In his two best known books - "Wednesday Wars" and "Okay for Now" - the protagonists' voices are true to their ages and yet are completely different. Written in the first person, the protagonists of both books do not relate their stories to the readers. They tell it as if seated across the dinner table. They are there with you. "What Came from the Stars" is written in the third person, but the reader still gets a vivid sense of Tommy Pepper, the protagonist. This book could not have been written in first person, and Schmidt knew that. In third person, we can ache for Tommy's losses. If written in first person, he could have come across as a complainer or whiner.
Schmidt's most important quality as a writer is a profound respect for his readers.Read more ›
This author has a wonderful gift for writing children's characters. We've seen it in his award winning previous work, and it is full display here. Tommy and Patty Pepper are well rounded, believable characters that will tug at your heartstrings, and their dialogues ring with an authenticity that makes you feel like you are right there with them in the schoolyard navigating the bullies and the lunch room. The author sets the Massachusetts scenery just beautifully, especially at the end, where I totally felt the chilly sea air and could smell the seaweed stink. I could often feel Tommy's terror, and the author uses a combination of some excellent descriptive writing, authentic inner dialogues, and spot on pacing to generate some moments that were truly creepy, even for this adult reader.Read more ›
The story is wonderful. There is an uprising on a distant planet and the culture of the defeated tribe is stored on a chain and sent out into the universe. It lands on earth where it is found by Tommy Pepper, a sixth-grader who lives with his father and first-grade sister, Patty, in Plymouth, MA. The family is struggling over the recent death of the children's mother. The chain gives Tommy special power, but the victors, led by the evil Lord Mondus, frin the other planet, have determined where the chain containing The Art of the Valorim has gone and send evil representatives of the Lord Mondus to earth to get the chain. And so the strange happenings in Plymouth and the struggle between good and evil begin.
This is a "can't put down" book for all.
Let's start with the contemporary, which I loved. Sixth-grader Tommy lives with his painter father and bubbly younger sister after the death of his mother. Unfortunately the father no longer paints and the sister no longer speaks due to grief even as their house is under assault by a mega-corporation eager to snatch up its land and develop it. Amid this melancholy, Tommy receives a chain from Valorim and soon finds himself speaking its language to the bafflement of his classmates and embarking on its defense. I loved just about everything that was realistic in this book-the sad family attempting to move on without a vital part of itself, the kids at school as well as their teachers and staff, Tommy's battle against the realtor. It was great stuff!
But the fantastical elements were SO hard for me. I dreaded every time I reached a chapter set there (they alternate). There are many made-up words, which are included in a glossary in the back, but they never fully sunk in to my brain so even as I approached the end, I had to keep flipping to check on their meaning.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is my first Schmidt book and I really enjoyed it. I love fantastic elements in books, supernatural etc, and this book had plenty of that but handled it in a much more real,... Read morePublished 28 days ago by john washington
This was a hard story to get into. I actually won this ARC back in September, tried reading it and only got 15 pages in. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Elyse
This book was purchased for a summer reading assignment for my 11 year old neighbor. Not much more to say about this book. It was required reading....Published 13 months ago by Franklin H.
I'll admit, I had to read this book for a college course (I am a 4-8th grade language arts education major) and I will not ever ask my students to read this book. Read morePublished on May 24, 2013 by book lover
Being a book by Gary Schmidt, this is a compelling read with an authentic protagonist and lovely writing. That said, this is not Schmidt's typical realistic fiction. Read morePublished on March 28, 2013 by Miss Print
I am a fan of Gary Schmidt and think he's a wonderful writer, but I unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. Read morePublished on January 31, 2013 by Cathe
1) I loved the author's Okay for Now earlier this/ last year. That book should have won the Newberry. Read morePublished on January 4, 2013 by Julia Walter
This book is a joy to read; creative, insightful and full of the internal workings of middle school life that Schmidt does so well. Read morePublished on September 28, 2012 by M. Hulst
It's hard to believe that the gifted author of WEDNESDAY WARS could produce drivel like What Came From the Stars. Read morePublished on September 19, 2012 by VerbRiver