A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was 10 years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged 17, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing....
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut, and the unexpected connections that form our world.
©2013 Gavin Extence (P)2013 Hachette Audio
i like to read. i like to listen.
solid book about a boy growing up, and then becoming a 17 year old dealing with life, death, friendship, family, being an outcast, being "different"...
really well written, really well read, with thoughtful characters. Alex "Lex" was a thinker, having an unusual mother and no father, and then the "accident" -- i enjoyed his explanations and thoughts processes. he was bright and interesting.
of course i loved the Vonnegut references.
the book themes overall were thought provoking. i enjoyed this.
(ps. doesn't read as a YA novel. i was surprised that this was categorized as such)
Say something about yourself!
This is a simple book about a boy who is "different," and how he finds his way. It is along the lines of "The Case of the Dog in the Night," "Harold Fry," "About a Boy," and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," all British coincidently. But all of which gained an international audience, deservedly so. Fans of Kurt Vonnegut will also get a kick out of the all-Kurt Vonnegut book club and how this contributes to Alex's ability to navigate through life.
Along with the list cited above, I might compare it to "Catcher in the Rye" for the fact that is about a teen, but should be read by YA and adult readers alike. Like RC Pallacio's brilliant book, "Wonder," you get to see the worst--and ultimately--the best in everyday life.
At first, I thought Joe Thomas sounded too mature to narrate a book with a 17-year-old protagonist. But Mr. Thomas has a voice that is very easy to listen to, and I quickly was lost in the narration. He was really the perfect reader, able to capture the perfect, wry tone for those moments of understated humor. He handled tender scenes with a light touch, without getting maudlin. I will look for more of Mr. Thomas's work.
I laughed. I cried. I loved. I am smiling now just thinking about the satisfaction I took in this listen.
Time--and a credit--well spent.
What an absolutely beautiful coming-of-age story. Told with intelligence, integrity, humour and straight forward emotion. Mr. Extence represents a teenage 'hero' so accurately from what I remember from my own experiences and those of my two sons. The emotional commitment that the novel ultimately demands is extremely rewarding, for me it was a little reminiscent of 'The Fault in Our Stars' another do not miss novel. The narration is spot on. Thank you Mr Extence for a wonderful few hours that I most assuredly will visit again !
It's very rare that I fall in love with a novel from the opening couple of pages. From the narrator (who sounded a little like Hugh Grant) to being set in England, to a story that is both relatable and extraordinary all at the same time. The Universe Versus Alex Woods is everything I love about reading a novel. It's both deep and comical. It has a depth of understanding that most books only scratch the surface of.
The novel is as you've probably guessed already, about Alex Woods. A young boy who is struck by a meteorite in his childhood and as you'd imagine his life is altered from that day forward. The book is about a kid growing up and about facing some of life's toughest questions.
At this point if your interested I'd stop reading my review because I'll get into vague spoilers here. There is a point in the novel when suicide comes into play and the idea of choosing one's time to die. It's a topic that's been talked about a lot with Brittany Maynard in Oregon and I think The Universe Versus Alex Woods does a great job with it. For me I've got no idea why anyone would be against it, especially in the case of terminal illness.
But maybe that's for a different post. Regardless, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is one of my favorite novels of recent memory. It's not for everyone. But if you have an open mind and love a good coming of age story you can't go wrong with The Universe Versus Alex Woods. I absolutely think it will be a novel in contention for my favorite of 2015.
When I first began listening I wasn't sure I wasn't going to enjoy the story or the narrator. I'm not one for dry humor and this was dripping with it. Additionally at first you think the narrator is just doing a deadpan reading of the story. But you soon learn this is indeed the character. Alex is not a poetic, verbose person. By the end of the story you get that you've got insight into a different thought process and it's fascinating. Alex has quite defined ideas of right and wrong and the ways of the world. While you could listen to the story and think "why would he handle the situation that way, most people wouldn't" you realize soon enough that there was no other way for Alex.
I really enjoyed the end of the book. It was a different perspective and I was invested in the characters.
I think people who enjoy investing themselves in a character would enjoy the book. Also those who are interested in exploring morals of right and wrong and the choices we make.
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