Realistic problems and vivid depictions of family and city life make this middle-grade debut stand out. Twelve-year-old Wallace "Lolly" Rachpaul lives in the St. Nick projects at 127th street in Harlem, New York. Wallace copes with the death of his older brother, Jermaine, due to "crew" violence, by making masterpieces with the LEGOs his mom's girlfriend, Yvonne, brings him. He likes hanging out with his best friend Vega, and when he makes his own world with LEGOs and creates a game around it after school with a new friend Rose, things seem to be looking up. But when crew members interested in recruiting Wallace start following him around, and his friend Vega thinks about joining, Wallace must confront his grief and the events that led up to his brother's death. A Sundance Screenwriters Lab finalist, Moore imbues his first novel with a strong voice and includes a diverse cast. Fans of Jason Reynolds' When I Was the Greatest (2014) will enjoy this moving and poignant novel. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Wallace "Lolly" Rachpaul, 12, is still reeling from the murder of his older brother, Jermaine. The only thing that makes him feel better is building with Legos, and after his mother's girlfriend, Yvonne, gives him two trash bags full of loose Legos for Christmas, he lets his imagination soar. When Lolly's creation outgrows his West Indian family's Harlem apartment, he moves it to the rec center. Encouraged by the facility's director, Mr. Ali, Lolly and Big Rose, a girl with autism, begin to build "the alien metropolis of Harmonee." Outside the safety of the rec center, life for Lolly and his best friend Vega is getting more complicated. Two older boys, Harp and Gully, are hassling them, and their menacing presence escalates into an act of violence. Debut author Moore delivers a realistic and at times brutal portrait of life for young people of color who are living on the edge of poverty. At the same time, Moore infuses the story with hope and aspiration, giving Lolly the chance to find salvation through creativity. Ages 10–up. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)
Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.
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. - (Baker & Taylor)
"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. Winner of the Coretta Scott King John Steptoe Award for New Talent and soon to be a major motion picture directed by Michael B. Jordan!
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
Six Starred Reviews
&;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 - (Random House, Inc.)