Hello, Universe
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 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 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.

Hello, Universe Details

TitleHello, Universe
Author
FormatHardcover
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 14th, 2017
PublisherGreenwillow Books
ISBN0062414151
ISBN-139780062414151
Number of pages320 pages
Rating
GenreChildrens, Contemporary, Disability, Fiction, Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction

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Hello, Universe Review

  • Kelly Hager
    February 28, 2017
    This is a middlegrade novel about five people: Virgil (a bullied kid), Valencia (the girl Virgil likes), Kaori (Virgil's friend and psychic consultant), Gen (Kaori's sister) and Chet (kid who bullies Virgil). This is super simplified, but this is a book that should get to reveal its secrets in its own time. I love Erin Entrada Kelly's novels. They are realistic but they also have a sense of magic. Everything feels possible. Her characters also feel fully realized. Even the characters I don't lik This is a middlegrade novel about five people: Virgil (a bullied kid), Valencia (the girl Virgil likes), Kaori (Virgil's friend and psychic consultant), Gen (Kaori's sister) and Chet (kid who bullies Virgil). This is super simplified, but this is a book that should get to reveal its secrets in its own time. I love Erin Entrada Kelly's novels. They are realistic but they also have a sense of magic. Everything feels possible. Her characters also feel fully realized. Even the characters I don't like (that's you, Chet) have a sense of sympathy to them. It doesn't make it any easier to like them, but it's easy to see why they are the way they are. This is an excellent novel, one that should be read aloud. (So, basically, perfect for classrooms.) Recommended.
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  • Brandy Painter
    February 26, 2017
    I expected to like this one more than I did because of how much I enjoyed Kelly's previous two novels. I just found it really hard to get into the rhythm of. The book is told from the perspective of three different characters: two in third person limited, one in first person. That drove me kind of nuts. Even getting past that, I found the story hard to get into. It is slow moving and the pacing could be better. That being said, it is still a good book from recommending to those who are looking f I expected to like this one more than I did because of how much I enjoyed Kelly's previous two novels. I just found it really hard to get into the rhythm of. The book is told from the perspective of three different characters: two in third person limited, one in first person. That drove me kind of nuts. Even getting past that, I found the story hard to get into. It is slow moving and the pacing could be better. That being said, it is still a good book from recommending to those who are looking for books on friendships, family issues, and dealing with bullies. Kelly is a talented writer so even when I don't love love one of her books, it is still worth reading.
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  • Michele Knott
    February 26, 2017
    Stories about bullying are always hard for me to read. Kelly weaves a story, told in multiple voices, that is pieced together slowly yet winds together in a story that is important for readers now.
  • Lynn
    February 26, 2017
    Alternating narratives of 4 neighborhood children, one of them a bully who torments the others. Kelly does a nice job of developing the four characters, making the voices unique and identifiable. It was fun to watch as the paths of the four intertwined and come together in the culminating crisis. One of the children is deaf, one extremely introverted and shy, one a self-confident force of nature. Only the bully is a bit one-dimensional. A fifth child, a younger sister, provides a lot of humor an Alternating narratives of 4 neighborhood children, one of them a bully who torments the others. Kelly does a nice job of developing the four characters, making the voices unique and identifiable. It was fun to watch as the paths of the four intertwined and come together in the culminating crisis. One of the children is deaf, one extremely introverted and shy, one a self-confident force of nature. Only the bully is a bit one-dimensional. A fifth child, a younger sister, provides a lot of humor and is a fun addition.I loved the addition of the Filipino folk tales and Virgil's wonderful grandmother and I think Valencia's deafness is well portrayed. Bullies and bullying is a topic of high interest to kids and that element is central to this story. There is a scary moment when Virgil is trapped in a well but the ending is satisfying and believable. I think kids will find the thread debating coincidence, fate or the interference of the universe a fun one.
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  • Marlene
    February 18, 2017
    Delightful story. Got it for my gr. grandchild but I read it before I will give it to her. It shows how all children are not alike but can be friends in spite of and because of their differences.
  • Nada Loughead
    February 18, 2017
    This book teaches you a really good lesson about bullying. The author describes people and places very well. (Angelina, age 10) http://www.bookcrossing.com/journal/1...
  • Alexa
    February 14, 2017
    Three quirky kids, one summer, how will fate bring them together? And yes, here we're talking about fate, for real because one of our kids is into reading the stars and crystals. Her expertise is what brings Virgil and Valencia together. Virgil, a kid who doesn't fit into his loud Filipino family and Valencia, who is deaf but wears hearing aids and often feels invisible, are written like they should become friends and of course (mild spoiler) they do. The voices of these three kids are just righ Three quirky kids, one summer, how will fate bring them together? And yes, here we're talking about fate, for real because one of our kids is into reading the stars and crystals. Her expertise is what brings Virgil and Valencia together. Virgil, a kid who doesn't fit into his loud Filipino family and Valencia, who is deaf but wears hearing aids and often feels invisible, are written like they should become friends and of course (mild spoiler) they do. The voices of these three kids are just right, and they fit together very well. It's lovely to see Virgil and Valencia noticing and not noticing each other as they move through the summer. I think there's just enough happening here to keep kids turning the pages. I look forward to seeing the final version with illustrations, as some were in my egalley but they were a little jumbled with the text.
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  • Celeste Swanson
    February 11, 2017
    Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly I think the character development was one of the stronger elements of this story. I like that this book had a diverse cast of characters. Virgil, Valencia, and Kaori are all strong characters. In creating Valencia’s character, Kelly purposely chose to make her strong and smart; breaking down the stereotype of the hearing impaired as meek and mild. Often the bully characters in children’s books are one dimensional, so I appreciated that Kelly chose to tell Ch Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly I think the character development was one of the stronger elements of this story. I like that this book had a diverse cast of characters. Virgil, Valencia, and Kaori are all strong characters. In creating Valencia’s character, Kelly purposely chose to make her strong and smart; breaking down the stereotype of the hearing impaired as meek and mild. Often the bully characters in children’s books are one dimensional, so I appreciated that Kelly chose to tell Chet’s story. Knowing his story did not make me like him, but it at least helped me understand him. I also thought it was really creative the way Kelly used sandwich making to show us the personalities of Valencia, Kaori, and Gen. This was very subtle in the book, but I feel like it helped me understand Kaori’s need for order in the world. The relationship building in this book was very good. One of the best relationships was that of Virgil and his Lola (grandmother). Lola is the go between person for Virgil and a family that does not really understand him. His Lola is also one of the few people he feels comfortable talking to. I loved that she told him stories, which is something my grandmother used to do. I also loved the relationship between the sisters, Kaori and Gen. This line in the story describes their relationship perfectly, “Kaori didn’t like to admit it, but she liked having Gen as her second-in-command, which meat she was always first-in-command” (pg. 236). The plot in this story was simple, and although I liked the plot, I felt like something was missing. This story seemed very surface level and I felt like I was missing the story behind the story. The foreshadowing was somewhat blatant, which actually might be helpful for readers who would possibly be worried about Virgil being trapped in the well. I did like that the conflict was not fully resolved in this story, however. It made it seem more realistic. The idea that things are not always as bad as you think, seemed to be the overall theme. I liked this theme, but I felt like it could have been more fully developed.
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  • Lauren
    February 7, 2017
    This is the first book I've read from this author, and I loved it immensely. The characters were fantastic and well done. While different people, I still felt like I could reach them. Virgil was someone I felt immediate empathy with, and his struggles with fear were realistic and fit into the story, rather than being shoe-horned in for sympathy points or to make him more interesting. It was just Virgil, himself. I find a lot of kids books work with character archetypes, almost to the point of ca This is the first book I've read from this author, and I loved it immensely. The characters were fantastic and well done. While different people, I still felt like I could reach them. Virgil was someone I felt immediate empathy with, and his struggles with fear were realistic and fit into the story, rather than being shoe-horned in for sympathy points or to make him more interesting. It was just Virgil, himself. I find a lot of kids books work with character archetypes, almost to the point of caricature, but this story steered clear quite easily. A diverse cast, and a beautifully sad story.
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  • Jennifer
    February 2, 2017
    Kelly knows a lot about outsiders, whether you're an outsider because you are shy, because you are a minority, because you are deaf, or because you are a bully. The storylines of all of these characters intersect in interesting ways and they are forced to make connections with each other, even when they do not want to. As Kaori and Gen say, "there are no coincidences" and sometimes the universe has plans for you. This is an engaging story with details that make it unique, even if the bare bones Kelly knows a lot about outsiders, whether you're an outsider because you are shy, because you are a minority, because you are deaf, or because you are a bully. The storylines of all of these characters intersect in interesting ways and they are forced to make connections with each other, even when they do not want to. As Kaori and Gen say, "there are no coincidences" and sometimes the universe has plans for you. This is an engaging story with details that make it unique, even if the bare bones of the story have been done before. Kelly takes the story of the outsider and new friendships and brings it into 2017. It's well worth reading. Review based on galley.
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  • Mary Librarian
    January 30, 2017
    I'm loving the magical realism books that have starting turning up the last few years. The diverse characters in this book show how friends can help brush away loneliness and bullies can get their comeuppance.Erin Entrada Kelly's storytelling just keeps getting better and better!From an advance reader copy.
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  • Amal Kambal
    January 26, 2017
    "When it is time for the universe to speak, it will!" This is a true statement!
  • Mary
    January 11, 2017
    So good! i could not put this down. I love the diverse cast of characters, they all work well together, I love Virgil's Lola, and the writing and story are awesome. I also like that not everything is wrapped up perfectly, like Chet doesn't change his ways. it's more realistic that way.
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  • Ms. Yingling
    December 29, 2016
    ARC provided by Young Adult Books CentralVirgil's family calls him "Turtle" because he won't come out of his shell. His parents are both busy nurses, but his grandmother seems to understand him, and comforts him with stories. He has a crush on a girl in his class, Valencia, but doesn't know how to talk to her, so he consults Kaori, a girl who gives "psychic advice". Virgil also has to put up with local bully, Chet. When Chet throws Virgil's backpack down an abandoned well, he panics because his ARC provided by Young Adult Books CentralVirgil's family calls him "Turtle" because he won't come out of his shell. His parents are both busy nurses, but his grandmother seems to understand him, and comforts him with stories. He has a crush on a girl in his class, Valencia, but doesn't know how to talk to her, so he consults Kaori, a girl who gives "psychic advice". Virgil also has to put up with local bully, Chet. When Chet throws Virgil's backpack down an abandoned well, he panics because his hamster, Gulliver, is in the pack, and jumps down into the well to retrieve him, and then is stuck. Valencia, whose deafness causes her some issues when dealing with others, is out in the woods observing squirrels on her way to get advice from Kaori, and vaguely notices the shift, but thinks little of it. When she arrives at Kaori's, Kaori is waiting for Virgil and voices her concern over his disappearance. The girls decide to investigate, and wisely start by asking his grandmother. Eventually, they come across Chet in the woods: he has been torturing snakes and has been bitten by one. All of the events come together, and Virgil is rescued from the well, tentative friendships are formed, and the adventure is neatly wrapped up. It's difficult to write understandable and distinct characters in alternating chapters, but Kelly does a good job of this, even though some chapters are in first person and others are in third. Virgil's fear of everything is palpable but not overdone, Valencia's eccentricities and interest in animals are quirky but endearing, and even Kaori's business interest in psychic readings (and her attempt to advertising them on a message board in town without getting in trouble with her parents) is portrayed realistically. Adults, rather than being absent, are hovering at the edges so that there can be adventure but also help if situations get out of hand. Virgil's grandmother plays an interesting role, sharing Filipino legends with him in order to make him stronger. One of these, about Ruby San Salvador, helps him when he is stuck in the well, since he has lengthy conversations with the spirit while waiting for help to arrive.Readers who enjoy books with diverse casts but a general feeling of sadness such as Rivers' The Girl in the Well is Me, Appelt's Maybe a Fox or Spinelli's Eggs will find Hello' Universe to be a complicated blend of social issues framed in a classic neighborhood adventure story. Don't think I will buy this one-- Chet was too stereotypical, and I couldn't believe that any 6th grader would be stupid enough to jump down a well. Okay, VIRGIL, didn't seem stupid enough to jump down a well. I'm sure this will get lots of love, but I don't see it circulating well in my library.
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  • Kristianne
    November 22, 2016
    Brought this home from this year's NAIBA show. Guess what, you may already be a hero. Bullies are the worst and being shy and a little bit different than some of the other kids around you doesn't make you less of a hero.The review is up now on Shelf Awareness and the book will be out March 14.
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  • Silvana [The Book Voyagers]
    November 16, 2016
    Hello, Universe is my first Erin Entrada Kelly book and it was wonderful. I think it was quite long, but to be honest, it was so easy for me to get into the story that the chapters passed so fast? I had such a good time reading this book. I recommend it to everyone to pick it up! It has adventures, cute friendships with adorable kids, animal friends who are so!!! perfect!!! And there are legends/tales Virgil's Lola tells him that are so amazing and such an important part of the story. Full revie Hello, Universe is my first Erin Entrada Kelly book and it was wonderful. I think it was quite long, but to be honest, it was so easy for me to get into the story that the chapters passed so fast? I had such a good time reading this book. I recommend it to everyone to pick it up! It has adventures, cute friendships with adorable kids, animal friends who are so!!! perfect!!! And there are legends/tales Virgil's Lola tells him that are so amazing and such an important part of the story. Full review to come.
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  • Kami Stohl
    October 6, 2016
    [Thanks to Edelweiss for digital ARC.]Magical realism, Filipino folklore, suspense, friendship -- this is what makes up the world of Hello, Universe. Being half-Vietnamese, I'm always on the lookout for Asian literature and this is a new favorite. I loved Land of the Forgotten Girls, but it was (so!) sad. This one is so different than Entrada's other two books, but it still has the same things that I loved about the first two.Hello, Universe also has one of the best endings ever.
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  • Andréa
    October 4, 2016
    Note: I accessed a digital review copy of this book through Edelweiss.
  • Jen Breen
    October 3, 2016
    Another triumph by Erin Entrada Kelly. Hello Universe underlines that everyone is capable of being their kind of hero. The story authentically speaks to how it feels to be in middle school in a way that will resonate with readers of all ages. This is a must read. Aside from Chet Bullens, the bully it was impossible to pick a favorite character.
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  • Sue (Hollywood News Source)
    July 5, 2016
    I'll read anything Kelly writes.
  • Adam
    June 22, 2016
    Erin Entrada Kelly did it again, and “Hello, Universe” sure packs a lot of gravity. With a tremendously diverse cast of characters and Kelly’s incredible gift of tackling issues like bullying, self-acceptance, and family with poise and humor, readers of all ages will once again fall in love with the underdog(s). There’s Virgil, an eleven-year-old Filipino-American who is both introverted and introspective; Valencia, a hearing-impaired shrug-the-shoulders-type of gal, Kaori, an adolescent fortune Erin Entrada Kelly did it again, and “Hello, Universe” sure packs a lot of gravity. With a tremendously diverse cast of characters and Kelly’s incredible gift of tackling issues like bullying, self-acceptance, and family with poise and humor, readers of all ages will once again fall in love with the underdog(s). There’s Virgil, an eleven-year-old Filipino-American who is both introverted and introspective; Valencia, a hearing-impaired shrug-the-shoulders-type of gal, Kaori, an adolescent fortune-telling go-getter; Gen, Kaori’s jump-roping tag-along sister; and Chet, the know-it-all bully that seems to be just about everywhere. There’s also Virgil’s adorable guinea pig Gulliver, a dog who lives in the woods, and sharp-toothed snake.“Hello, Universe” is a call to the cosmos for children (and adults) who have ever felt like they haven’t yet found their place in the world, and allows for us to question the possibility that our place in world might be where we already are.
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