The Stars Beneath Our Feet

The Stars Beneath Our Feet

eBook - 2017
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Random House, Inc.
"The right story at the right time. . . . It’s not just a narrative; it’s an experience. It’s the novel we’ve been waiting for." —The New York Times

A boy tries to steer a safe path through the projects in Harlem in the wake of his brother’s death in this outstanding debut novel that celebrates community and creativity.




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. 
David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.

A New York Times Notable Book
A Time Magazine Top 10 Children's Books of the Year
A Boston Globe Best Children's Book of the Year
A Publisher's Weekly Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Shelf Awareness Best Book of the Year
A YALSA Quick Pick
An ALA Notable Book

A fast and furious read in which we meet some amazing people, people that stay with us. David Barclay Moore is an exciting new voice. We definitely haven’t heard the last of his brilliance.” —Jacqueline Woodson, Newbery Honor and National Book Award–winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming

The Stars Beneath Our Feet is about the weight of the world on the back of a child, and the creative tools necessary to alleviate that pressure. I found myself rooting for Lolly, and you will too.” —Jason Reynolds, Coretta Scott King Honor Winner for As Brave As You

Baker & Taylor
Unable to celebrate the holidays in the wake of his older brother's death in a gang-related shooting, 12-year-old Lolly Rachpaul struggles to avoid being forced into a gang himself while constructing a fantastically creative LEGO city at the Harlem community center. Simultaneous eBook.

Publisher: Alfred A Knopf Inc.,, 2017
ISBN: 9781524701260
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: Baker & Taylor Axis 360
Alternative Title: Axis 360 eBooks


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OPL_MichelleC Jan 16, 2019

Very well done. A real and touching story about a boy struggling with grief and the survival in Harlem striking up an unlikely friendship with a socially-awkward girl in his after-school program.

The Stars Beneath our Feet follows the story of Wallace Rachpaul, a boy who has recently undergone his brother's death, as he tries to cope with his life from all angles. Living in Harlem, Wallace feels pressurized to join a crew, as he turns to Lego to resolve with his problems, through creativity.
I think this book did an amazing job portraying diversity and covering many topics such as acceptance and friendship. The writing drew me in and captivated my interest from the start.
Though, I loved all the ideas presented in this book, I felt, at times, the book steered off track and due to the many ideas presented, as not all of them were able to shine.
Overall, I really liked the ideas presented in the book, alongside the character development of Wallace, however I felt that all the ideas were not able to reach the potential they could have.
(Reviewed by J.R. for the Cloverdale Teen Book Review Project)

This story is written through the perspective of Lolly, a 12 year old boy who is trying to figure out how to handle the loss of his older brother, along with some other issues.

The book started out incredibly slow, which is a downfall for me. It didn’t really start to pick up and become interesting until the last 80 or so pages. Most of the characters were somewhat lacking in likeability, but I did appreciate the diversity of the cast. The only character I found myself actually enjoying was Rosamund.

In my opinion, what this book didn't provide was a solid plotline. From the first few chapters, I presumed that this was a story about overcoming grief and coping with the loss of a loved one, but it was not. The plot kept jumping from storyline to storyline and I often felt like I was reading a completely different book every few chapters.

What I did enjoy was the creative aspect of the book and the bond that developed between Lolly and Rosamund through their passion for Lego. I liked reading the parts where these two characters would spend their time after school building their own cities made of Lego. The cover of this book beautifully showcases this aspect of the story.

All in all, I think what this book really needed was one plot line that it would follow throughout the entire course of the story to make it more cohesive.

'The stars beneath our feet' by David Barclay Moore is a remarkable novel written about a boy in New York City who deals with the pressure of gangs, drugs, and violence while mourning the loss of his older brother. He finds the one thing he truly loves and sticks with it throughout the bad and the good things life throws at him. The author shows us the vulnerable side of a boy who is expected to be a man and to pull out a gun if needed, but Lolly is different and the reader gets an insight in how hard it is to be a boy when everyone expects you to be a man. This book shows readers how to take the memories you have of a person you lost and remember the good and celebrate their life instead of drowning in sorrow. When most kids were completing their homework and going to movies with friends, Lolly was trying to deal with the loss of his brother. The guilt and the helplessness he feels throughout the book is just so real and something anyone can connect with by just reading the book. It shows us the emotional and the crazy side of being a human being but also how another human will always be with you to go through the sadness with you. We need more raw, emotional and authentic books like this one where the readers connect with the characters and emphasize with the author. Legos for Lolly symbolize something that is out of this world and something that he finds peace with. He can create anything he wants to with these Legos which means nothing bad ever has to happen to him or to the characters that he creates, which means he does not have to get hurt like he does in real life. I would highly recommend this novel for anyone looking to deal with issues such as gangs, drugs, loss of a family member or to anyone just looking to finding themselves, amidst all of life’s problems! -Manraaj Grewal

Feb 13, 2018

How do you find your way and take the high road when you live in a project in Harlem? How do you come to terms with your brother’s murder, when you know your brother is involved in criminal activities? Luckily, Lolly is able to think for himself and is surrounded by adults who care for him, whether it is his mother, her girlfriend, or the man who owns the bodega where Lolly shops. Moore tells a well thought out story with believable characters. These aren’t goody goody kids, these are real kids with real problems.

Feb 09, 2018

This story really grew on me. It was believable and we watched Lolly growing and changing in a realistic way in relation to his environment and experiences. Loved the way the book on architecture and the Legos transformed the lives of him and his friends. A great read for middle grade boys, especially those who love to build with Legos.

LPL_JennyC Feb 05, 2018

Lolly has lost his brother to gun violence and now he’s so angry all the time. How can he escape the pressure of his unbearable feelings? Kids want him to join their gangs and he's always on the lookout when he walks home. One night he throws all his Legos to the floor in frustration and when he starts to rebuild with them a new path opens for him...
I loved this book! The characters are fresh and authentic, the writing flows, and the story of Lolly at his breaking point feels vitally important. Highly recommended for 10 and up!


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