Hello, Universe Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Winner of the Newbery Medal
“A charming, intriguingly plotted novel.” (Washington Post)
Acclaimed and award-winning author 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 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 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.
The acclaimed author of Blackbird Fly and The Land of Forgotten Girls writes with an authentic, humorous, and irresistible tween voice that will appeal to fans of Thanhha Lai and Rita Williams-Garcia.
“Readers across the board will flock to this book that has something for nearly everyone—humor, bullying, self-acceptance, cross-generational relationships, and a smartly fateful ending.” (School Library Journal)
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|Listening Length||5 hours and 17 minutes|
|Author||Erin Entrada Kelly|
|Narrator||Ramon de Ocampo, Amielynn Abellera|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||March 14, 2017|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #14,196 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#82 in Children's Books on Bullying
#202 in Growing Up & Facts of Life for Children
#421 in Literature & Fiction for Children
Reviewed in the United States on August 11, 2018
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Top reviews from the United States
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I love books that just completely surprise me, and Hello Universe, by Erin Entrada Kelly surprised me. I shouldn’t have been at all shocked that this book didn’t follow what I expected. I mean, come on, Erin Entrada Kelly is just a brilliant author! If you haven’t read any of her books before, I would absolutely recommend that you first read Hello Universe, but then I would tell you to go straight to reading Kelly’s book titled Land of the Forgotten Girls. It is also fantastic!
Anyways, let me explain my thinking a bit further. I have read enough books in my life that it’s kind of transformed me into a self-proclaimed “mini book expert”, well at least a “children’s book expert.” Because I have read so many children’s literature books, I have gotten strong at predicting the plots. If you research the progress of children’s literature as it increases in text complexity, you will understand that books follow predictable plot structures. They have a set amount of characters, character changes, plot events, and setting details. Everything in children’s literature can be studied down to the science of the words on the page, and let me tell you… it has been studied down to the words on the page and how long a child’s brain processes the word. (I’ve read about it, and it is as painfully boring as it sounds. Add in the average time an eye focuses on a word before the brain processes the meaning and you’re in for a real snooze-fest.) Kelly followed the predictable structure and changes of a young adult novel; however, it was done in a different and fresh manner. So much so that I picked up and read this entire book in one sitting.
Hello Universe focuses on several kids that are just looking to find their own pathways. They all have their own struggles, yet they haven’t yet been thrown together. That all changes when the main character, Virgil, and his pet guinea pig, Gulliver, are literally thrown into a pit located in the middle of the woods between all these kids’ houses, and this unlikely collection of characters’ now have their lives entangled together. The local bully, Chet “The Bull” Bullens is responsible for such a menacing prank. I guess when your nickname is “The Bull,” your, of course, are the bully in the story. Remember, I told you that children’s literature follows predictable patterns. It has to! We have young readers we have to connect with!
The events that follow during Virgil’s time in the pit allow for all the characters to have moments of major change. Changes that all children today are continually being faced with. Kelly’s book questions the kids. She is challenging them to ask themselves: Are you going to be the bystander that just watches innocent kids be picked on in this world? Are you the bully doing the picking in order to prevent the world from seeing your own weakness? Or maybe, just maybe, are you the hero in the story? Are you the one that is going to defy everything and stand up for what is right?
This almost-all-in-one-day adventure is a lovely story and the writing is whimsical and inquisitive and funny, just the way I associate a child’s brain must be like.
Its characters are portrayed each with their unique personality and being inside each of their minds on each of their chapters is interesting, captivating and great for multiple perspectives on ‘different types of kids’ (can I even say it like that?).
And I can say without a doubt that in that sense it was very well written and successfully achieved.
The thing, though, is that it all feels a bit incomplete, as if it’s just a starting point to something more. After finishing reading the book, I had trouble looking at it as a finished thing. I felt that I could take this into a middle grade classroom and have multiple discussions about pretty much all the characters, their aspirations, their intentions, their reasoning and their motivations And that’d be the only way To make this book feel whole.
Maybe that was the author’s intention, but I can’t help but feel that as it is, Hello, Universe has left me wanting for more.
Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good book that leaves you with questions and wanting to talk about it - as a teacher, I loved Hello, Universe for the classroom potential it represents (hence the four star rating).
I just didn’t get into this one thinking it’d be just that. And, if I may say so, not even the ending wrapped it up beautifully and saved it for me.
I still recommend it for middle graders or for those who deal with kids around those ages, to engage in further conversation of important matters. I won’t recommend it as a full fledged book to fill your reading habits, because I feel it adds very little, really. But don’t let my review spoil the book for you. Read it and see how you like it for yourself. Take all that’s been said with a grain of salt and venture at your own risk.
Top reviews from other countries
A pesar de que el libro me ha gustado mucho, el comienzo puede resultar algo aburrido para el lector impaciente ya que en las primeras 110 páginas no sucede nada relevante, tan solo nos describen a los personajes, esto puede resultar algo pesado pero es necesario para apreciar todo lo que sucede después.
Diría que es un libro para chicas ya que tres de los cuatro personajes principales son chicas y el chico es un chaval bastante miedoso y pesimista (casi deprimido).
No voy a hablar del argumento porque se podría resumir en un sólo párrafo y me cargaría la historia. Pero si diré que el título del libro hace referencia a esas coincidencias que se dan en ocasiones y que parecen cosa del destino, como si el universo se hubiese propuesto juntar a personas que en principio no tenían nada en común. Yo no creo en el destino pero el libro me ha dejado con una sonrisa en la cara.
Ich freue mich schon, es mit meinen Kindern zu lesen.