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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
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    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.

  • Overall
    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.

  • Overall
    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.

  • Overall
    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
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    2 out of 5 stars
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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.

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

not very exciting

i got the book because it was recommended somewhere but i didn't like it. wasn't very exciting or interesting. the narrators weren't great either, especially valencia's narrator made her sound kind of slow.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe is a great book for children and adults. It's about a boy named Virgil who likes a girl in his school named Valencia. A bully at Virgil's schools named Chat Bullins, throws Virgil's backpack down an old well. His backpack carries his guinea pig named Gulliver. Virgil climbs a ladder down the well, only to find that the bottom part of it is missing. He jumps down to make sure Gulliver is okay. He gets trapped in the well for several hours. One of Virgil's friends, Cowlery, meets Valencia. Together, they search for Virgil with Cowlery's sister, Gen. When they figure out where Virgil is, they use Gen's jump rope to boost Virgil out of the well. Hello, Universe is a book full of adventure and fun.

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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

Such a heart-warming story!

This endearing tale of five children intertwined by fate kept my attention to such an extent that I finished all 42 chapters in just three sittings! The only reason that it even took me a whole three sittings is my busy, hectic schedule as a wife and mother with TWO practically full-time jobs. If I can easily breeze through this book, any one can! It is so touching that I even cried in the end.

This cute, coming-of-age story is relevant for "children" of all ages, especially grown ones like me. I cannot wait to share this story with my twelve-year-old son, the youngest of four left in our home, and with my very new grandson who is still only an infant. However, this is such a great read for males AND females.

Read this book! You will not regret it. I certainly did not, and it is exactly what I needed right now. I too believe that there are NO coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. ;-) Thank you for sharing this novel with us, Erin Entrada Kelly. It has made an impact on my heart, my outlook, and my soul.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

just okay

I was not a fan of the bully using terms like "retardo". Even my 10 yo noticed and made a comment about it.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful