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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Boy meets world

Where does The Universe Versus Alex Woods rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What other book might you compare The Universe Versus Alex Woods to and why?

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.

What does Joe Thomas bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed. I cried. I loved. I am smiling now just thinking about the satisfaction I took in this listen.

Any additional comments?

Time--and a credit--well spent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Beth Anne
  • Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 08-04-13

expertly written coming of age novel.

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)

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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' THEORIES OF EVERYTHING .'

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 !

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Not what I expected but great nonetheless

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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I loved everything about The Universe Versus Alex

If you could sum up The Universe Versus Alex Woods in three words, what would they be?

relate-able, emotional, and descriptive.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Alex, of course. But Elly comes in a close 2nd. Alex is a wonderfully developed character, by the end of the book you absolutely feel like you know him. Elly is also a great character as a lovable brat.

What about Joe Thomas’s performance did you like?

The voices were excellent. I believe that the way he spoke for Alex was exactly how the author had intended it.

If you could rename The Universe Versus Alex Woods, what would you call it?

How the Meteorite changed my life.

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Excellent Book, except one technical detail

This is a fantastic story. I have one nitpick with the production, though. When there were phone call scenes, they decided to present the audio like it came from a phone. It was annoying and you had to try to adjust the audio in order to hear the character on the phone. Otherwise, the performance was great.

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Great Book

Lots of fun to follow this boys coming of age touching story. A suggested read.

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Extraordinary

This is not a book about a kid who got hit by a meteorite. It is so much more. The delivery is direct and clear and the thoughts it provokes are profound. Stunning.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful