{Bee Reviews} Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Posted March 13, 2018 by Bee in Reviews / 13 Comments

{Bee Reviews} Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Hello, Universe

by Erin Entrada Kelly
Published on March 14th 2017
by Greenwillow Books
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Amazon | BookDepository | Goodreads

Winner of the 2018 Newbery Medal

In one day, four lives weave together in unexpected ways. Virgil Salinas is shy and kindhearted and feels out of place in his loud and boisterous family. Valencia Somerset, who is deaf, is smart, brave, and secretly lonely, and 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 act normal so that he can concentrate on basketball. They arenโ€™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 the 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.

4 Stars

Well, this was a bucket full of wonderfullness. (Ssshh that’s totally a word.) When I decided to read some Middle Grade books, I knew I was going to come across a book that just knows how to put a goofy smile on my face at the end of it. Hello, Universe was that book. Middle Grade Contemporary is so different from YA contemporary in that it seems almost magical. Every book in this genre has something completely innocent and pure about it that it just always puts a smile on my face. And I wish a lot more people would read it because it’s absolutely beautiful.

Hello, Universe tells the story of five kids. Virgil, Kaori and her sister Gen, Valencia and the bully Chet. Each of those characters are unique and well-developed and so very diverse! All the rep here is so on point that it makes my heart so very happy. These five kids though, they’re the real magic in this story. So let me talk about each of them real quick.

Virgil is the one the story revolves around. He’s a Filipino-American boy who’s called Turtle by his family because he won’t come out of his shell. He’s shy and quiet and insecure. Virgil is probably the most relatable kid in the book for me. He’s being bullied by Chet and those scenes just made my heart ache so very much. It’s also no coincidence that the turtle is my totem animal. As Kaori would say, there are no coincidences. Virgil basically needs to be wrapped up in a warm blanket and protected from evil. I also loved Virgil’s grandmother Lola. Hands down one of the best grandmothers in books ever.

Valencia is a very brave and strong deaf girl that I kind of really adored. I admire her so much for being herself and not caring what others think. She’s smart and caring and also kind of lonely. I want all the good things for her.

Kaori and Gen are so very precious. Gen is the youngest of the group and occasionally switched obsessions. Now it’s jumproping. She loves pink and might seem naive but she’s actually very clever and so very cute. Kaori on the other hand is a tad more serious and believes she’s a psychic. She’s quirky and smart and intuitive. I adore her! She’s also not afraid to be herself and yay for that!

Chet is just an awful boy. He’s a very mean bully who very much looks up to his dad and copies his behaviour. I really didn’t like him but I love how things ended with him.

Next to the characters, this book also has some magical, beautiful writing. It hooked me right from the start and I couldn’t get enough of this story, this writing and the characters. Erin managed to tell a story full of heart, weave in a tough subject so perfectly and make everything feel real and alive at the same time. I applaud her for that. And I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

Also as a side note, I love how every chapter had a drawing to show which POV we would get. Virgil had a guinea pig, Valencia a bird in a nest, Chet a snake and Kaori had a star chart with the signs of the zodiac on it. It’s a really clever and easy way of marking which POV we can expect in the coming chapter.

Hello, Universe is a beautiful book and deserves it’s Newbery medal. With magical writing and wonderfully real characters, Erin Entrada Kelly weaves an honest, diverse story full of heart about friendship, being yourself and standing up to the bullies in your life. I would absolutely recommend it to everyone that loves contemporary.


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13 responses to “{Bee Reviews} Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

  1. I’m so glad I stumbled across this! I’ve been looking for new MG books to read to my son and this sounds wonderful! (Wonderfullness is definitely a word!) I’m adding it now so I can order it for him later.

    Books that light you up on the inside and leave you smiling are the best! I’ve never been a big MG reader, but I’m starting to be. I’m finding the books to be lovely and very enjoyable. Great review! Following!

    Do You Dog-ear?

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