by Erin Entrada Kelly
Greenwillow Books, 2017
Hello, Universe won the Newbery Medal for 2018.
I’m still puzzling why it did.
Sure, it’s an entertaining story, but it didn’t pull me in deep or settle in my heart.
“Virgil Salinas is shy and misunderstood. Valencia Somerset is clever and stubborn. Kaari Tanaka tells fortunes and reads the stars. Chet “the Bull” Bullens is the biggest bully in the neighborhood.” (from the inside cover)
The plot includes a kid who is deaf, a kid dealing with parental pressure, and, of course, the bully. Virgil spends most of the story trapped in a dry well, listening to a spirit culled from his grandmother’s folktales.
I liked that the kids were smart and solved their own problem before the adults could organize themselves. They were round characters, each a bit odd and original. The writing was good, too, with an interesting plot structure. But was this the best middle grade novel published in 2018?
If you’ve read Hello, Universe, send a comment and tell me what you thought of it. I’d like to know.
Ladythorn aka The Solitary Wasp