Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: What Came From the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt

What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication date: September 2012
Pages: 304
Source: ARC from ALA
For: Review

On a far distant planet, the Valorim make a last-ditch attempt to save their culture from ruin and send a necklace to the planet Earth. Tommy Pepper discovers it in his lunch box one day and he begins to change in unusual ways, drawing beautiful drawings of things no one else can see and speaking a language no one else knows. But, when the Valorim's enemies discover where the necklace went, they come to take it from Tommy.

Things I Liked:
I am so glad the book had some of the signature Schmidt wry humor.  I love the middle grade boys he manages to create.  Pretty much, the interactions on our planet were interesting and I liked seeing how Tommy dealt with his unique and new powers.  I thought his artistic abilities were the most interesting part of the whole book and I loved how he transformed the walls of his home and brought art to life.  It was imaginative and unique, but ultimately I was disappointed in the read.

Things I Didn't Like:
First, I thought the parts on the other planet were painfully obscure, mostly because of the language.  I found it hard to want to slog through the Old English feel of it (despite the fact that I adore Tolkien's similar books).  I was very much reminded of Tolkien's work - but more of his other tales from older times like The Silmarillion and Unfinished Tales than Lord of the Rings.  I had a really hard time appreciating any of the magical details and an even harder time figuring out what was going on on that distant planet.  It was vague and just plain boring at times.  I was pretty sad to find there is a Schmidt book I don't adore.  

The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien
Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle-earth by J.R.R. and Christopher Tolkien



a bit, but not too much

Overall rating: **

Anybody loved this one?  Am I missing something?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage


  1. I don't buy Gary Schmidt's titles unless forced to do so. Wednesday Wars has been sitting untouched on the shelf for over four years.

    1. Oh, how sad about Wednesday Wars! It's such a fantastic book - would make a great read-aloud, but I can see how kids might not pick it up on their own.


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