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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Winner of the Newbery Medal “A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.”—Washington Post Newbery Medalist 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 l…

Hello, Universe

by Erin Entrada Kelly

Overall Book Review:

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kennedy is the 2018 Newbery Award Winner.  With a contemporary setting, its story covers only a couple of days and switches viewpoint amongst the minor and major characters.  With generous spacing in the typeset and a few illustrations sprinkled throughout, this is a quick read.  For those who like reality, the events of this book are entirely plausible and relatable, but perhaps not terribly engaging.  There is nothing to complain about regarding the novel—it is well-constructed, but it is not likely to be as popular with young readers as it was with the Newbery selection judges.  It was a little bit under-whelming for a Newbery Winner.

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 religious exclamation

Violence/Gore:  Report someone was killed (non-detailed); report of person pushed against wall; fictional story is told about a crocodile which a girl kills with a log; character imagines grabbing another by shirt; fictional story told about a creature that eats people/others; character imagines being attacked by a rhino; character imagines doing things to a bully; character provokes and animal with a stick and is bit; bullying; character forcefully takes an item from another and drops it in a well.

Sex/Nudity:  A boy likes a girl; joke about making out.

Mature Subject Matter:

Psychics/astrology, bullying.

Alcohol / Drug Use:


Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!