Things are tough for Tommy Pepper. His mother has recently died, his sister refuses to speak, and his father is engaged in a desperate fight to keep their home from being torn down by an over-zealous real estate agent. In What Came from the Stars, the latest book by two-time Newbery Honor-winning author Gary D. Schmidt, Tommy finds his life very different from what it was only a few months earlier—and it only gets stranger when he finds a necklace in his lunchbox and puts it on.

Times are dark for the Valorim—the evil Lord Mondus is only hours away from taking control of the Ethelim, and dooming their race. In an act of desperation, the heroes of the Valorim bind their art and beauty into the Chain of the Valorim Art, and entrust Young Waeglim to protect it from Lord Mondus and his evil army of O’Mondim. Young Waeglim does the only thing he can and spirits it away, through the cosmos and galaxies, and on and on until it falls, unnoticed, into an Ace Robotroid lunch box in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

As soon as Tommy puts the necklace on, he begins drawing beautiful, detailed pictures of the twin suns of Valorim, and acquires a great deal of knowledge about what appears to be a nonexistent universe. However, none of this matters when Ouslim the Liar and one of the O’Mondim begin tearing Plymouth apart, looking for the Chain. Tommy must then protect his family, friends and city, as well as a world he has never seen.

What Came from the Stars is written with two parallel story lines—Tommy’s story in normal print and the Valorim’s story in italics—giving the book added depth and interest. This is a rich fantasy that draws the reader in from the first chapter and keeps hurtling along at a breakneck pace until the exciting and satisfying end. Perfect for fans of science fiction and adventure stories, What Came from the Stars is a fast-paced and thrilling journey that sees a young man grow beyond all expectations.

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