Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

by on January 17th, 2018
Mock Newbery Nominee: Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly Cover Image

In the eighth week of our Mock Newbery summaries and reviews we’ll look at Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. This story of coincidence, fate, and friendship is a quick read with memorable characters. Can it earn your vote?

Summary: “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.” –From the publisher

The characters are distinctive and memorable, particularly the quiet hero of the story Virgil. Getting to know this shy boy through his fears and strengths is a treat. Valencia’s brashness and kindness is another interesting mixture. The descriptive language used by Kelly throughout paints a vivid picture of the characters as well as the setting. Valencia’s name is a battle cry and Virgil cannot turn off the faucet of tears within him in the dark well. The comfortable suburban setting is left behind in the woods where things are a bit more dangerous and vivid.

Are strong characters and descriptive language enough to earn your vote? Visit our Kid’s Page before January 31st if you’ve made your choice or come back next week for another summary and review.

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