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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Lucy is a practical, orderly person--just like her dad. He taught her to appreciate reason and good sense, instilling in her the same values he learned at medical school. But when he's sent to Vietnam to serve as an Army doctor, Lucy and her mother are forced to move to San Jose, California, to be near their relatives--the Rossis--people known for their superstitions and all around quirky ways. Lucy can't wait for life to go back to normal, so she's over the moon when she learns her father is coming home early. It doesn't even matter that he's coming back "different." That she can't ask too many questions or use the word "amputation." It just matters that he'll be home. But Lucy quickly realizes there's something very wrong when her mother sends her to spend the summer with the Rossis to give her father some space. Lucy's beside herself, but what's a twelve-year-old to do? It's a curious boy named Milo, a mysterious packet of photographs and an eye-opening mission that ma…

Overall Book Review:

Author, Tracy Holczer, wrote a beautiful, timeless story of those dealing with loved ones serving in war, with children being the primary focus. The main character, Lucy, is a fantastic character who is strong and brave but has some anxiety and understandably so. She’s isolated herself from others her age until Milo stumbles into her life one summer day. Milo is funny and kind but most importantly, a good friend who supports Lucy and also knows what she’s going through, with both children having soldier fathers. Lucy and Milo find themselves having to deal with things that children their age shouldn’t have to deal with, but they manage to muddle through it all, thanks to each other and great friends and family.

Lucy and her mom live near her father’s family. It’s a large, hilarious, eccentric family who is supportive but also a bit overwhelming at times. Lucy’s mother’s parents are the opposite but are still loving and supportive, especially when it counts. You’ll be entertained by the wide array of characters and their various personalities. With its descriptive language and great period references, Everything in the Universe is a sweet, heartwarming story that will be loved by all. 

Review of an Advance Reading Copy

This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Penguin

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation; 2 mild obscenities.

Violence/Gore:  Several (15) brief incidents including character says a chimp could bite your face off; character is afraid a plane will fall out of the sky and kill her; character jokes about hurting people; several references to war; second-hand report of character’s arm getting blown off during war; reference to fist fights; tv show about a person getting struck by a car; second-hand report of characters telling children that their soldier fathers are baby killers; reference to kids lighting firecrackers and throwing into a crowd; second-hand report of a young character’s parent dying.

Sex/Nudity:  Few (4) brief incidents including tween having a crush on her older cousin’s boyfriend; teens have arms around each other and kiss; tweens flirting; tweens watching soap operas. 

Mature Subject Matter:

Young girl deals with anxiety, young child’s parent dies, references to war and death, young child fears parent will leave family.

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Many incidents of adults drinking and smoking; reference to drug addicts; adult gives a 13-year-old a drink of alcohol.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

I love being able to help busy parents who just don’t have the time to pre-screen all their children’s books and know how much I appreciate it as my sons have gotten older. I feel very blessed that my amazing husband makes it possible for me to be a stay-at-home mother to four amazing boys. When not reading or enjoying time with my family, I like baking, especially trying new recipes, and the occasional sewing project.