Winner of the Newbery Medal
“A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post
Newbery Medalist Erin Entrada Kelly’s Hello, Universe is a funny and poignant neighborhood story about unexpected friendships.
Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero). “Readers will be instantly engrossed in this relatable neighborhood adventure and its eclectic cast of misfits.”—Booklist
In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and she loves everything about nature. Kaori Tanaka is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet Bullens wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so he can concentrate on basketball.
They aren’t friends, at least not until Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well. This disaster leads Kaori, Gen, and Valencia on an epic quest to find missing Virgil. Through luck, smarts, bravery, and a little help from the universe, a rescue is performed, a bully is put in his place, and friendship blooms.
The acclaimed and award-winning author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia.
“Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.”—School Library Journal
About the Author
New York Times–bestselling author Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe. Her debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature, and You Go First, a New York Times bestseller, Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick, Kirkus Reviews Best Book, and School Library Journal Best Book. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. www.erinentradakelly.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
"Hello, Universe" is a really fantastic tween/middle grade story about four tweens during one eventful day. We get each of their perspectives, and they are all unique and well-developed characters. We begin with Virgil, whose family is loud, boisterous and calls him Turtle (which he doesn't like), and he is an easy character to love- he's shy and quiet and wishes he could ask one of his classmates to be his friend, but can't quite work up the courage. Valencia is smart, brave, and deaf, but she won't let anyone drag her down- certainly not Chet who is a bully and picks on Virgil a lot. Even Chet seems to be a product of his father but will learn a lot. Kaori is a delightful addition, a 12-year-old psychic who only works with kids and will absolutely make you laugh out loud throughout. Together, they make this an unforgettable and delightful story of being a tween and all the issues that entails- with family, bullies, friendships, identities and everything. The character development here is really incredible, and I would highly recommend it to all tweens. The inclusion of some main characters who happen to be deaf and their struggles/triumphs is also a wonderful addition to an already fantastic book. If you have a middle grade reader or tween, you won't want to miss out on this one! Please note that I received an ARC through a goodreads giveaway. All opinions are my own.
Ever wonder who came up the concept of "friends?" Think about it. One day a person walks up to another person and is just like "Yup, I like this one" and then perceive to just do stuff with them. Who would have thought of it? Well, it is such a norm now that we don't even give it a second thought. We just go right along and find that special someone or someones and do stuff together. And it's always best when you find that special friend when you are at a young age. You are more adventurous at that age and when you find someone that has the same attributes in life then you are golden. But what if you find people that aren't quite as in sync as you are about the world? What if they are way too different than you are? Will the "friendship" still work? Or is it all for nothing? For Virgil Salinas it hasn't been easy finding friends. Not only is he shy, but he is very different from his own loud family so why would a complete stranger want to be his friend when his own family doesn't understand him? The only member that truly understands him is his Grandmother but what growing boy wants to admit that his only friend is his Grandmother? Valencia Somerset is a deaf, strong willed young lady who just wants to be heard in a world that turns deaf to those that are different. Kaori Tanakais a young psychic along with her young sister Gen try and see into the future to help those who need it the most. An iconic group that meets under unusual circumstances, who try to help one another not for glory or for money but because it's the right thing to do. Not only do they help each other during a crisis, but they also help each other get the other out of the shell they all have been hiding in. A very interesting read for all ages. ***** I really enjoyed this book, and I can see why it won the Newbery Award. In schools today there are more bullying happening every day that it's getting out of control and there is only so much teachers and counselors can do to help the children either stand up to the bullying and/or knock it off with the bullying. One way to really help those kids out is to find books that have a special meaning to it that might help them understand what is going on and how to stand up for themselves. For me personally I believe this book should be in all schools so kids can see the diversity of kids that are just like them going through the exact same things and the book shows them how it all can be resolved.
This books was charming, life-affirming, and well-written. Highly recommended for tweens!