David Barclay Moore
Photo Credit: Random House Kids
Review: The Stars Beneath Our Feet
This middle-grade novel by David Barclay Moore, received a lot of buzz before its release on September 19. I was really looking forward to reading this, and was really excited to win an ARC that arrived a few days before the release! The book definitely lived up to its hype and I loved that it featured an African-American boy with diverse family and friends. Here’s the review:
Like many 12-year-olds, Lolly Rachpaul is just trying to be himself. His father treats parenting like a part-time job, his mother is enjoying her new girlfriend and his big brother is dead. While Lolly tries to maneuver the streets of Harlem, he can’t quite shake his brother’s murder. His escape? Legos. Lolly considers himself a master Lego builder and fills his room-which still holds his brother’s bed-with intricate buildings that fill the void his brother left.
As we learn more about Lolly’s life, we begin to understand his need to escape. The neighborhood bullies who are around every corner and an after-school program counselor whose counsel sometimes causes more anxiety than help, all add to the reality Lolly tries to escape.
While the story dives into the difficulties Lolly faces, it also highlights the dynamic relationships he develops with unlikely friends and the colorful blocks he builds to re-connect with reality.
This story was very authentic and Lolly’s friendships and interaction with his peers seemed to lift right off of the conversations of today’s middle schoolers. The dialogue and thoughts between the young boys were really dynamic. The author did a great job showing these kids dealing with some of the same trauma and emotions that adults deal with-with less preparation and less ability to pretend that everything is okay. The realism will definitely appeal to middle graders who enjoy stories with real-life issues.
In all, this book is a story about connections. Lolly uses the Legos to connect the pieces of his life, as well as provide an escape into an alternate world that he controls. It isn’t until his fantasy world is shaken that he understands that those same blocks can help him create beauty in his real life.
Great read for ages 10 &up.
Disclaimer: I was not given this book in exchange for a fair review. I received an Advanced Reading Copy by entering a social media giveaway, and chose to review the copy received.