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Publisher's Summary

 Winner of the Newbery Medal 

“A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.” (Washington Post)

Acclaimed and award-winning author 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 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)

©2017 Erin Entrada Kelly (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

"Ramon de Ocampo and Amielynn Abellera narrate this charming story, told from four points of view.... De Ocampo perfectly captures Virgil's painful timidity - and just as easily brings to life Lola, Virgil's wise, sassy Filipino grandmother... Abellera's portrayal of fearless Valencia ("my name could lead people into battle") is especially fine....Abellera nails her prickly but lively way of seeing the world. This especially engaging and sensitive production fully accesses the story's keen perceptions on courage, fate, and friendship." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Lisa
  • San Diego, CA
  • 11-27-18

Too much explaining, not enough happening

This book is boring, until the kid gets stuck in the well (which doesn’t happen until ~ an hour and 50 minutes into the story—this plot point into act 2 should have occurred much sooner), then gets boring again.

I bought it (hardcover) last year for my niece for Christmas based on the title and book cover alone, before it won the Newbery. Then I held onto it and decided I should listen to the audiobook first. Good thing I did. I’d hate for her to feel like she has to slog through it just because she got it as a gift. My own son (8th grade) read it for school. When I asked if he liked it, he just shrugged.

There’s too much explaining/summarizing (telling) and not enough happening (showing), which makes the story drag. The writing is adequate. The stakes are low (actually the stakes are very high—dying in a well—but there’s so little tension that it doesn’t feel like it). It’s a quiet little story about a deaf girl and a shy, bullied kid who has a crush on her. Technically, the book is fine. But winning the Newbery? I expect more from a book that wins a prestigious literary award for kids, the least of which is a well-crafted novel, better writing, and an engaging story that pulls you into the fictional dream regardless of the characters’ identities. Telling kids to read this book because it won the Newbery is like telling kids to eat their vegetables because it’s good for you. They can have dessert after they eat their boring good-for-you vegetables. This is a good book to assign for homework. Not so good to cultivate a love for reading for reluctant young readers, or buy as a Christmas or birthday present.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Hello, fabulous book

What a great story! loved this and am having my elementary students read it now.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Skipping

Had to rewind to hear the words that sometimes skipped, but was still good overall

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

so good

a wonderful story of coincidence / fate between three children. I feel like I'm late to the party, but I love this book!

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    5 out of 5 stars

It was good i loved it!!!

Cool was funny and dad but was amazement and it was Roche to my heart

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Anticlimatic but excellent perspective

I had high hopes for this book but the inner dialogues were a bit plodding and the ending too tidy. The diverse perspectives were the best part, for sure! I appreciated the multiple actors in the audiobook, too.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Mother of 11yo Girl

I bought this book for my daughter
it's a great book that talks about friendship, adventure, and common things kids go thru at school and with family.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun for summer

This book was assigned to my daughter over the summer. And while she enjoys reading, it can be tricky to get it all done with summer plans. it was great to have the audio version for in the car, or to turn the lights off and just listen in the summer heat.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Friendship

Do you like the universe, fortune, fate, or friendship? If you do you will love this book. I loved it because friendship is the biggest thing you can have in life. I didn't think I will like this book but there was also there is a lot of adventure.

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    1 out of 5 stars

feels like a YA story rather than a kid's book

The author did a good job at creating characters, but the story feels flat, predictable so not very exciting. We're spending so much time in their heads that we don't get to have them carrying the story much.