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The Suburb Beyond The Stars (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) (Norumbegan Quartet)

Press: Turtleback Books (May 1, 2011)
Publication Date:2011-5
Author Name:Anderson, M. T.


Friends Brian and Gregory have survived the Game of Sunken Places, but are once again drawn back to cousin Prudence's house in Vermont, where they discover that something has gone very wrong with time, people have disappeared, and danger is lurking everywhere.

From Booklist

Anderson returns to the fantasy-horror of The Game of Sunken Places (2004), in which best friends Brian and Gregory got embroiled in an ancient feud between two otherworldly civilizations in the woods of Vermont. 
Now, the landscape where they played out the interdimensional game has succumbed to a horrifying fate: subdivision.
Anderson's too clever to let the story stray far into a rote condemnation of suburban sprawl, but there is a definite subtext of gentrified blandification at work just a scratch or two beneath the deadpan creepiness and even deadlier spikes of humor.
The boys' adventure, battling off some creatively terrifying baddies as the Thusser horde prepares the world for domination and destruction, mostly sets up the next installment.
Still, it's a funny and eerie tale told with impeccable writing, and at minimum, kids will come away a bit smarter just for having read it.
Leave it to Anderson to toss around descriptors like hirsute and mucilaginous in middle-grade fiction.
Grades 5-8.
--Ian Chipman

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"Funny and eerie" - Booklist"Anderson dishes up another strange and masterful tale." - Kirkus Reviews"Social commentary, zany wisecracks, and genuinely thrilling adventure occupy adjacent lots in THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS. 
Readers will be knocking on doors asking for the sequel." - Teenreads.com

About the Author

Anderson is the author of The Game of Sunken Places; the National Book Award-winning, Michael L.
Printz Honor book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party; and the Michael L Printz Honor book The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom of Waves, as well as Feed and Thirsty.
He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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Comment List (Total:5)

  •     M.T. Anderson's THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS tells of Brian and Gregory and strange events in Vermont that bring them another Game with strange creatures and new adventures.

  •     As a reader, I find M.T. Anderson a bit over the map in terms of my reaction. I tend to see his strongest work as aimed at the older crowd, while his more youthful YA tends to...

  •     In this, the second installment to the Norumbegan Quartet, the saga of Gregory and Brian. It starts off awhile after the first book ended; Brian has already started work on his part of the game, and we are dropped right about a quarter through his progress into the action, when he's the target of a hit from some unknown person; obviously the Thussars are getting a tad uppity, for some reason.As the story progresses in this short volume, you get to take a closer look at the Thussar Horde and their machinations of evil. They seek to confuse and terrify, and we get to see more of how they bring their plans to fruition.Brian and Gregory are, of course, advised to step out of it all, and let themselves become assimilated into the new world the Thussars are bringing, despite the fact that their world is frankly horrifying.Having read the books before and after, I would say this is the most strange so far. Granted, things never really stop being strange in this world, but this one illustrates a particularly imaginative, if somewhat cruel, portion of the author's world.

  •     I read the first book in this series also, but I can't find my review of it, or even a record of the purchase, although it is in my library. No matter, but you should start there and read them all.This book starts off not long after the first book ends. Two friends, Brian and Gregory, were unwitting pawns in a game to decide the fate of two interdimensional races, the Norumbegans and the Thusser. The former are basically elves, the latter sort of demonic. Brian, playing for the good guys, won the game, so now he has to design the next round. Except that, before you even get your mind made up about the typeface (assuming that you're one of those people) somebody tries to kill him. Then his cousin, who we met in the first book, asks him to visit, and the fun starts. The Thusser are invading the Earth! Yoiks. Before the book is out, things are looking bleak, but hey, why am I telling you this? Buy it and read for yourself! This is one part of a great adventure series, probably best enjoyed in order. Book #1 is "The Game of Sunken Places."

  •     Brian and Gregory thought that Brian had won The Game of Sunken Places, the high-stakes real-life board game that pitted Brian (as the representative of the elfin Norumbegans) against Gregory (representing the evil Thusser Hordes) in a strategic battle for dominion over the Earth --- or at least parts of Vermont. Now that the balance has been restored, all they have to do is work on designing the next round of the Game, due to be played by someone in the next generation.Unfortunately, the Thusser Hordes don't want to wait that long, as Brian discovers when he is trailed by a suspicious stranger and then nearly devoured by a vicious demon on the subway near his home in Brookline, Massachusetts. After escaping, he and Gregory try to call Gregory's cousin Prudence for advice, but Prudence isn't answering her phone. Or her email. So they have little choice but to head back to where the Game began --- the wilds of Vermont.A few things have changed since they were last there, though. Where once Prudence's house was an isolated cottage surrounded by deep woods, it has now been engulfed by a fast-growing suburban development. At first, the boys welcome the presence of witnesses ("Much harder for us to be torn apart by ogres if people are playing Wiffle ball in our backyard") and are initially reassured by their normal-looking neighbors ("You wouldn't think that evil from beyond time would wear chinos"). But the more time Brian and Gregory spend in this suburb, the more it strikes them as deeply, deeply odd. The kids on the block ride their bikes in circles all day and all night. No one seems to know what time, or even what day, it is. Neighborhood soccer games turn into tragic, weepy affairs. And the local real estate developer is a guy who has been dead for quite some time now.If this isn't just a quaint suburb sprouting out of the Vermont woods, could it be part of a nefarious plot by the Thusser Hordes to return to power? Maybe even to take over the world, one cul-de-sac at a time? Brian and Gregory aren't sure what kind of game they're playing anymore, since all the rules have been bulldozed much like the trees on these newly-developed lots.Fans of THE GAME OF SUNKEN PLACES will be thrilled that M. T. Anderson has published a follow-up adventure at last. Some of readers' favorite characters reappear, particularly the well-meaning troll Kalgrash, who, since the previous novel, has been modified to fit a medieval suit of armor. This time around, he's enjoying using vocabulary to match his metal wardrobe and battle-axe, screaming about smiting and varlets. Some fans of the bad-tempered Wee Sniggleping may be disappointed at his mere cameo in this book, but you better believe he makes every word count.On the surface, THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS is a rousing good adventure, complete with hideous monsters, brainwashing experiments, and the walking dead. But there's also a lot of serious thought hidden beneath the green lawns and carnivorous houses of suburbia: "The new suburb was silent except for the distant grinding of earth-movers, the chirp of crickets and of trucks in reverse, unseen, at the perimeter of the neighborhood, where work was being done even in darkness: the flattening of the forest, the raising of new homes, the spreading of settlement upon the face of the Earth in all directions, the ceaseless devouring." Who's devouring the Vermont woods: the Thusser Hordes, or us humans?Social commentary, zany wisecracks, and genuinely thrilling adventure occupy adjacent lots in THE SUBURB BEYOND THE STARS. Readers will be knocking on doors asking for the sequel.


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