A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was 10 years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.
But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.
So when, aged 17, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing....
Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut, and the unexpected connections that form our world.
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Boy meets world
This is a simple book about a boy who is "different," and how he finds his way. It is along the lines of "The Case of the Dog in the Night," "Harold Fry," "About a Boy," and "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," all British coincidently. But all of which gained an international audience, deservedly so. Fans of Kurt Vonnegut will also get a kick out of the all-Kurt Vonnegut book club and how this contributes to Alex's ability to navigate through life.
Along with the list cited above, I might compare it to "Catcher in the Rye" for the fact that is about a teen, but should be read by YA and adult readers alike. Like RC Pallacio's brilliant book, "Wonder," you get to see the worst--and ultimately--the best in everyday life.
At first, I thought Joe Thomas sounded too mature to narrate a book with a 17-year-old protagonist. But Mr. Thomas has a voice that is very easy to listen to, and I quickly was lost in the narration. He was really the perfect reader, able to capture the perfect, wry tone for those moments of understated humor. He handled tender scenes with a light touch, without getting maudlin. I will look for more of Mr. Thomas's work.
I laughed. I cried. I loved. I am smiling now just thinking about the satisfaction I took in this listen.
Time--and a credit--well spent.
- Annie M.
expertly written coming of age novel.
- Beth Anne