What Came from the Stars
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What Came from the Stars

3.31 of 5 stars 3.31  ·  rating details  ·  815 ratings  ·  269 reviews
The Valorim are about to fall to a dark lord when they send a necklace containing their planet across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion starsall the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Mass. Mourning his late mother, Tommy doesn't notice much about the chain he found, but soon he is drawing the twin suns and humming the music of a hanorah....more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2012 by Clarion Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Deb
I have really enjoyed other books by Gary D. Schmidt so I was excited to pick this one up at our public library. Tommy Pepper is in 6th grade. His mother has recently passed away in a car accident for which he holds himself responsible. On his birthday a strange gift shows up in another present - a heavy chain that seems to hold mysterious powers. Suddenly Tommy is filled with strange visions and possesses unusual gifts. In a parallel story, on a planet far from Earth, an evil lord has overthrow...more
Cathe Olson
I am a fan of Gary Schmidt and think he's a wonderful writer, but I unfortunately I did not enjoy this book. I am not a fan of high fantasy so that was a problem right there as this book alternates between extremely high fantasy chapters that take place in another world with strangely-named characters that all sound alike and were hard to keep straight, as well as its own language -- not to mention that those chapters were written with old-fashioned wording -- all combined made those chapters te...more
Cornmaven
This was one weird book, and I still don't think I really got the whole thematic picture. There's an alternate planet on which lives a Lord of the Rings type society, complete with Beowulf type early/middle English narration, and the epic stature of Homer. Then it's blended with a modern day kid who lives in Plymouth, MA, but is somehow linked to this society. But he's grieving deeply for his mother who has died.

The two worlds collide inside the kid's lunchbox when a chain arrives from space and...more
Jo
I'm torn. Torn! Between unbridled enthusiasm for this book and, well, hesitation.

I loved loved loved the family parts of this book. It was wonderful to see a good sibling relationship, and overall good family dynamics. The theme of grief was worked into the book without it totally taking over the plot, and that part just felt really genuine to me.

The second thing I loved about this book was the tone. You know how the best creepy movies are creepy not because of what they show, but what they don...more
Ker Malkin Gesulga
So there's this kid Tommy Pepper, a sixth grader in William Bradford Elementary School, Plymouth, MA, who found a chain necklace in his Ace Robotroid Adventure lunch box which was a birthday present from his beloved Grandma. What's with the chain necklace? Later.

I kind of liked the characters in this book, specifically Tommy and Patty. Their mom recently died so it must be really hard for them. I liked the melancholic feel of the way the story had started with Tommy and how they're struggling wi...more
Terri
I admit that I love Gary Schmidt, so maybe I am predisposed to highly rate anything he does. And I admit that this book is quite different from what we have come to expect from Schmidt. But there is much to like in this science fiction/fantasy tale set in two worlds with alternating chapters taking place on earth and on the planet of the Valorim. The earth chapters read like contemporary fiction, while the Valorim's tale is told in the formal style of high fantasy and the medieval bards, which w...more
Edward Sullivan
This novel is quite a departure for Gary Schmidt and one I wish he'd not taken. The story is an odd mix of realism and fantasy with chapters alternating between the life of sixth-grader Tommy Pepper and a civil war on a distant planet written in epic-like fashion. Especially peculiar is the use of rather difficult Old English-like vocabulary and Beowulf-like names in the extraterrestrial chapters. Some readers may find it an enjoyable story but it doesn't work for me. I prefer when Schmidt's sto...more
Richie Partington
WHAT CAME FROM THE STARS by Gary D. Schmidt, Clarion, September 2012, 304p., ISBN: 978-0-547-61213-3

“In the end there’s just a song
Comes crying like the wind
Through all the broken dreams
And vanished years”
-- Garcia/Hunter, “Stella Blue”

“’See for yourself.’ said Mr. Burroughs, and they walked into the classroom. They didn’t have to open the door—Tommy thought this was pretty familiar—because the door had already been torn off, broken in two, and thrown down the hall.
“It was probably the only thin...more
Emmet O'Neal Library- Children's Department
When a chain necklace falls from the sky and into Tommy’s lunchbox, of course he puts it on. What he doesn’t expect is the strange knowledge and skills he suddenly possesses. And what’s up with the eerie weather and the rash of break-ins in his small town of Plymouth, Massachusetts? As if Tommy didn’t already have enough to handle – a sister who hasn’t spoken in over a year, a dad who’s trying to save their house from a pushy real estate developer, and his own guilt over his mom’s death.

Meanwhil...more
David
What Came from the Stars by Gary D. Schmidt is the story of a civil war involving a dark lord in a far-off world that sends a chain containing its history & arts to Earth and into the hands of sixth grader Tommy Pepper of Plymouth, Massachusetts, with resulting dangers that must be confronted.

The dual stories, on Earth and on a planet far, far away, are told in alternating chapters, with the Valorim's story written in a saga-like style and lyrical language, printed in italics. A Glossary in...more
Afton Nelson
Let me start by saying Gary D. Schmidt is brilliant. He does character like no one else. Spot-on! A master. And he didn't let me down in that regard with "What Came From the Stars." This book is hard to categorize. It's a kid in Plymouth Massachusetts who struggles with feelings of loss and guilt over the death of his mother while an evil real-estate developer is trying to push his family out of their home, mixed in with the story of a dying race on a distant planet. And Plymouth and distant pla...more
Adrienne
I think I would have liked this book better if I'd read the last fifteen or so pages first, because there's a glossary and also an explanation of the Valorium, Ethelim, and O'Mondim that helps the rest of the book make a lot more sense. My biggest frustration with the book was feeling like I had no idea what was really going on in this other world or why it was going on, and the information at the end of the book helped give that back story and tied everything together...but it's irritating to h...more
TheBookSmugglers
In a galaxy far, far away, the Dark Lord Mondus is about to kill the last of the Valorim and thus, seize control of their Art. In a last desperate effort, Young Waeglim forges the Art of the Valorim into a chain and sends it across galaxies and planets. And so it has come to pass that said chain lands squarely in the ridiculous Ace Robotroid Adventure lunch box of Tommy Pepper, a sixth grader from Plymouth, Mass. Thinking the chain is just another birthday present from his grandmother, Tommy sta...more
Newengland
From a middle school kid point of view, this is a 4, who knows, maybe even a 5-star book. It's clean, start to finish. Rather silly, but hey, you were once 12, too, like protagonist Tommy who's lucky (?) enough to have a necklace from another galaxy land in his lunchbox in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Schmidt is a talented writer of realistic books, but I think all the racket (read: coins in coffers) from the fantasy/sci-fi aisle attracted his his editor's attention, so here he is (ta-da!). Told in...more
Andrea
It was hard for me to imagine Gary Schmidt writing science fiction. He has such a talent for creating characters that are so human that I miss them at the end of each book. I wasn't sure how that would translate into an aliens among us story and the alien angle did became distracting. There are some fascinating concepts, like art that can become animated on its own. There is an entire glossary of alien language that may be interesting to some readers. But I never felt as invested in the earth ch...more
Jennifer
In corresponding chapters, this book weaves together two stories. One takes place in the present in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The other takes place in a galaxy far, far away. Through a “comet-like” necklace that hurtles towards earth, the two stories are connected. Tommy Pepper, a twelve-year-old, tries to deal with his feelings of loss over the death of his mother, and also struggles to help his father and his little sister. When this cosmic necklace lands in his new lunch box, interesting thing...more
Jan
It is a bit difficult to classify the genre of this unusual story! Think Game of Thrones meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid. In a planet far far away, the Valorim are fighting a battle to the death with the Mondim. Desperate to save their civilization, they send a necklace that holds all the art of the Valorim to earth, where it is found by Tommy in his lunchbox. Tommy is just an average sixth grade kid, but he has some problems. He is mourning the untimely death of his mother and his home is threatened...more
Wendy
Some of this book is filled with stuff that is borderline-incomprehensible to me. Ten-point power-sword Hammer of Thor kind of stuff. Happily, it is all in italics so I know what I can skim over. (Over the course of the book I went from skipping it--the first seven pages, which really were completely incomprehensible to me--to skimming, somewhere in the middle, to reading lightly, once I was starting to see the parallels between the italics-world and the real world.)

I love a good fantasy set in...more
Ellen
I am really having a hard time with this one. I admire Gary Schmidt for branching out into something totally different. In fact, the only reason I rated Okay for Now four stars was that it was a little too reminiscent of The Wednesday Wars. If I'd read it first, I'd have given it five. As usual, his prose is beautiful and he captures the essence of a damaged family. I don't like to speculate on what the author intends, but it seemed that he wanted to add a more universal and broader theme to the...more
Alice
I couldn't resist checking out Schmidt's latest book since I have thoroughly enjoyed all the others I have read by him. Once again I was not disappointed. This capitivating Tolkein/C.S. Lewis-esque story is part family drama, part coming-of-age tale, and part adventure, with a sci-fi twist. It is also well-written and compelling.

There is no offensive language. There is some violence in the form of battle scenes, and yet the author somehow manages to leave out all descriptions of violence without...more
Karin
Wanted to love this, because I love this author (and I love fantasy). But I didn't.
Tells two stories - the more realistic story of a tween boy grieving his dead mother in modern day Mass was pretty good, with some lovely writing in true Gary-Schmidt-style. But the parallel fantasy story involving a conquered race many light years away who send their last hope in the form of a necklace down to Earth read (not even kidding) like a kids' attempt to write a fantasy novel. I actually thought the open...more
Miranda (M.E.) Brumbaugh
I made myself finish it. While there were redeemable qualities like creative characters and wildly imaginative scenes, I did not see myself being emotionally connected to the story and I do not see myself remembering this story beyond tomorrow. It was a fun read, but not an epic tale with staying power. For anyone reading this, a tip: all of the words used of the language from the other planet that are not explained through the story are found in a glossary at the end of the book. REALLY wish I'...more
Ariana
I was surprised to see such a 'fantastic' novel written by Mr. Schmidt. Surprised and impressed. This is scary to an appropriate degree, sweet, and unusual. I was confused about the 'other worlders' Schmidt has created, mostly about who was who and what that meant, but exposition about races would have slowed the beginning down. (There is an explanatory bit at the end that maybe could have been a prologue...)

Anyway, I definitely recommend this to kids who like a thrill and a bit of sci-fi. (I wa...more
Debbie
I LOVE books by Gary Schmidt, but this one took some getting used to. I loved the concept of this book -- that aliens sent something from another world to a kid on earth and strange things start happening because of it. But I found the Valorim language made it hard to follow the story at times. The glossary in the back helped, but the constant interruptions took me out of the story (which was good). Maybe this is a story that needs to be read more than once to be fully appreciated?
Meena
This book was charming, fascinating, and intricate. I loved the uniqueness and individuality in the plot, the characters, and the book itself. It is about a boy named Tommy Pepper who lives with a little sister who no longer speaks and a father trying to hold the three of them together after his mother's death. When a mysterious green and silver chain is found in his lunchbox on his twelfth birthday, Tommy puts it on and finds knowledge he had never known before--knowledge of wars raging in othe...more
Dawn
Schmidt is one of my very favorite youth authors who has tackled a range of topics from bullying to discrimination and does amazing story telling in the historical fiction genre. But this book doesn't fit any of these catagories and just didn't excite me, inspire me, move me in the way Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy, Trouble, The Wednesday Wars or Okay for Now did. I'm sure the fantasy & made up language sprinkled throughout added to my low rating.
Kristin
The most disappointing read of the year for me so far. How did this come from Gary D. Schmidt, author of one of the best YA books I've ever read? (see:Okay for Now)

I don't read a lot of science fiction, but this didn't feel right to me at all. The thing is, without all the alien nonsense, the plot was pretty classic Schmidt (middle school boy in angst, hijinks in school, teacher as role model, principal as pseudo-villain or at least weirdo) and I'm just wondering why he chose sci-fi as the "hook...more
Jonathan Hiskes
Schmidt never fails in writing convincing portraits of kids learning to live with brokenness and hurt in their worlds, although I liked the parts of the novel set in Plymouth, Mass., more than the parts in a distant galaxy (yep).
Betsy
Love the author-didn't think I was going to like this one-I was wrong! Loved this book!
Kathleen
An epic Civil War on a distant planet, pitting the forces of art against the forces of power, plays out in Plymouth, MA where sixth-grader Tommy Pepper and his family struggle with their grief at the death of his mother and the possible loss to development of their beloved seaside house.
Complex in the sense that the issues are very large, but the two stories themselves are pretty clear. The fight on the two-sunned planet is described in italics and an elevated language as if an old-fashioned epi...more
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Gary D. Schmidt is an American children's writer of nonfiction books and young adult novels, including two Newbery Honor books. He lives on a farm in Alto, Michigan,with his wife and six children, where he splits wood, plants gardens, writes, feeds the wild cats that drop by and wishes that sometimes the sea breeze came that far inland. He is a Professor of English at Calvin College.

More about Gary D. Schmidt...
The Wednesday Wars Okay for Now Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy Trouble Straw Into Gold

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“There is no Art made without power, and there is no reason for Art to be made except for power.” 1 likes
“Let the Art be brought back only for the good of the world. If it isn the hand of one who would use it for ill, in that world or this, then it will be upon you to destroy it—though its end means your own life-long exile." —Young Waeglim” 1 likes
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