Hello, Universe

Hello, Universe

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
Rate this:
21
3
Lives of four misfits are intertwined when a bully's prank lands shy Virgil at the bottom of a well and Valencia, Kaori, and Gen band together in an epic quest to find and rescue him.
Virgil feels out of place in his crazy-about-sports family. Valencia is deaf, smart, and loves everything about nature. Kaori is a self-proclaimed psychic, whose little sister, Gen, is always following her around. And Chet wishes the weird kids would just stop being so different so that he can concentrate on basketball. They aren't friends. But when Chet pulls a prank that traps Virgil and his pet guinea pig at the bottom of a well, Kaori, Gen, and Valencia begin a quest to find the missing Virgil.
Published: New York, NY :, Greenwillow Books, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062414151
0062414151
Branch Call Number: J KEL
Characteristics: 313 pages :,illustrations ;,22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff


From the critics


Community Activity

Comment

Add a Comment
e
EljayJohnson
Jul 06, 2019

Perfectly simple and spot-on in every way: the accidental/natural diversity of the characters; the pure and straightforward plot that was more about these children than what happens next; the great humor; the wisdom about aloneness, friendship, and connectedness; the accurate depiction of everyday middle-school-ness; the deftly deployed magical realism. Plus -- there was a guinea pig. Loved it; didn't want it to end.

s
swnajarian
Jun 07, 2019

Valencia, the character with hearing loss was wonderfully developed. I think that kids with hearing loss will relate to the ways that Valencia feels isolated and lonely. I also think that kids with hearing loss can find hope for friendship and understanding in the ways we see Valencia develop throughout the story. Below is one of Valencia's tellings that was particularly poignant and that I found completely relatable to my childhood hearing loss struggles:

'I wish I was prepared for when Roberta and I stopped being friends.

You know how sometimes you're friends with someone and they start hanging out with other people and eventually you're not friends anymore, but you can't remember when it all happened? Well, that's not the way it was with Roberta. I know the exact date: October twelfth, fourth grade. Roberta and the other girls were playing chase and I was doing my best to play, too. But after the game was over, she walked up to me and said, "We don't want you to play with us anymore."

"Why?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
"The how-tos are too hard," she said. "And you're too slow."

The how-tos were what we called the three ways to talk so I could understand: face me, don't cover your mouth, and speak clearly.

When she said I was too slow, I knew what she meant, too.
When we raced, I could never tell exactly when Megan Lewis called out, "Ready, set, go!" I could see she was getting ready to call it out, but I was never totally sure she had said all three words. When we played musical chairs, I couldn't tell when the music stopped. With hide-and-seek, I never knew when ready-or-not-here-I-come happened. I always figured it out, but I was usually two or three steps behind everyone else. It slowed down the game. I knew that. I guess I just didn't know that everyone else knew it, too. I thought I'd fooled them. But Roberta set me straight.' pp 143-144

VaughanPLKim Mar 20, 2019

A humorous and heartwarming story about a group of outsiders who become friends and learn to stand up to the neighbourhood bully.

h
Happy_Endings
Mar 01, 2019

As others have commented, this is a well-written book with an intriguing plot and likeable characters. It would be a good books for teachers to use in discussing point of view. A different character narrates each chapter as the story unfolds. I loved how this gave greater insight into characters that might otherwise be relatively flat, for example the bully and his target.

frodo_baggins Feb 27, 2019

I loved this sweet story of friendship with an important message about bullying.

DCLkids Dec 17, 2018

A Great Books for Great Kids pick for grades 4-6.

IndyPL_SteveB Nov 12, 2018

Exciting novel about new friendship between three children with few connections between them. Winner of the 2018 John Newbery Medal.

Extremely shy 7th-grader-to-be Virgil Salinas would like to meet hearing-disabled 7th-grader-to-be Valencia Somerset, whom he has seen every day in school. They are each isolated in their own way but don’t know how to break out. Both are being harassed by Chet, a bully in their grade. In hope of getting a new perspective, Virgil and Valencia separately decide to visit another middle school student, Kaori Tanaka, who is trying to be a fortune teller, in hopes of getting a new perspective.

However, when Virgil is walking through the woods to get to Kaori’s house, Chet throws Virgil’s backpack down a dry well. Since the backpack contains Virgil’s pet guinea pig, he climbs into the well and gets trapped, comforted only slightly by his memories of his grandmother’s heroic stories of Filipino folklore. The excellent characters, even the bully, are what make the story work.

DPLjulie Sep 24, 2018

When a bully's prank has unintended consequences, it takes determination and some big hearts to make things right. With elements of suspense, featuring interesting and diverse characters, "Hello, Universe" is a compelling, satisfying read.

plymc_lindsAy Jul 17, 2018

"There are no coincidences"...such a simple theme, and yet such a cool read! Valencia reminded me so much of Melody from Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper. She's witty and perceptive. Definitely check this one out!

e
ericasomething
Jul 02, 2018

I read this book to my 8 year old and it only took about five hours (a few chapters at a time). We both really enjoyed it, there were some intense scenes when Virgil is stuck down in the well, and it allowed my son and I to discuss some philosophy and also practical safety matters, like what choices would you make in that situation? It was neat to have two protagonists and different tenses, and to see how their paths would finally meet. I liked all the names of the characters... Virgil being Dante's companion in his descent into hell... and the theme of the guinea pigs named after gullivers travels. I liked the changes that Virgil went through, and found a lot of humor in his relationship with his grandma.

View All Comments

Age

Add Age Suitability
e
ericasomething
Jul 02, 2018

ericasomething thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

pink_alligator_1141 thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

b
booknrrd
Feb 09, 2018

booknrrd thinks this title is suitable for 9 years and over

Summary

Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.

Notices

Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.

Quotes

Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Recommendations

Subject Headings

  Loading...

Find it at DBRL

  Loading...
[]
[]
To Top