February 19, 2018

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The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore | SLJ Review

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redstarMOORE, David Barclay. The Stars Beneath Our Feet. 304p. Knopf. Sept. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524701246.

Gr 5-8 –Twelve-year-old Lolly, a resident of Harlem’s St. Nicholas projects, has had a tough few months. His older brother, Jermaine, died as the result of gang-related violence. Still reeling from grief, Lolly now must contend with two neighborhood teens who’ve begun following, threatening, and stealing from Lolly and his best friend Vega. Following in his brother’s footsteps and taking violent revenge is tempting. His obsession with LEGOs and a burgeoning dream of becoming an architect just might see Lolly through, though, especially after his mother’s girlfriend starts bringing him garbage bags full of bricks from her job in a toy store. This gift prompts Lolly to begin building a huge LEGO city, one that quickly outgrows his apartment and has to be moved to the storage room of the community center, where he strikes up a friendship with Rose, a girl with autism who shares his passion for building. This well-honed debut novel paints a vivid picture of Lolly and the choices that he must make, but beyond that, it introduces a cast of memorable, fully realized characters, each of whom will stay with readers long beyond the closing page. What’s more, it offers a three-dimensional portrayal of a neighborhood too frequently shown in one-dimensional terms. As this novel makes clear, it is a vibrant community, home to a majority of people who care deeply about their neighbors. VERDICT A strongly recommended purchase for all middle grade collections.–Eileen Makoff, P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal October 2017 issue.

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