by David Barclay Moore
A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death.
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
His path isn’t clear–and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape–and an unexpected bridge back to the world.
I’m not sure how to review this one. The Stars Beneath Our Feet was such a hard read, not in a bad way. It was a very emotional book and the reader really feels for Lolly and all he is going through. I can’t even imagine how most 12 year old’s would process losing a sibling. The grief process and his interactions seemed real to me. I really think that for some this book will really touch them and stay with them. It was a little harsh to read at times and made me really uncomfortable. I think that is what the author was going for? I will say there is some language in there that might upset some readers, I know it did for me. However sometimes those are the ones that really get people talking and discussing issues that need to be on the table. Overall it was a good book on topics and subjects I haven’t read many books about and not sure if there are many like this in the middle grade reader genre. I know there are many in the YA genre so I’m glad there a book for middle grade. That being said I could see this crossing over and some YA readers liking this book as well. While the main character is 12 it didn’t read as a young middle grade. I think that this will be a very buzzed about book and up for many awards. I’m glad I was able to read it.
Thank you Alfred A Knopf Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of The Stars Beneath Our Feet. All thoughts and opinions are our own and not influenced by the free book.