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"The Center of Everything travels a satisfying, circular path that deliberately echoes the shape of a donut. . . . Wishing has a useful place both in childhood and in this novel; but so, too, does reality, especially when rendered with this kind of sensitivity."
—Meg Wolitzer, The New York Times Book Review
"Another gem from one of my favorite authors! Ruby Pepperdine and her wish will work their way into the center of your heart, where they’ll remain (along with a yearning for donuts) long after you close the book."
—Ingrid Law, author of Savvy, a Newbery Honor Book
"A beautiful, sensitive, thoughtful novel that will make you think and smile and think some more, and fall in love with Linda Urban's books."
—Kathryn Erskine, National Book Award-winner
"Every book by Linda Urban makes me laugh, cry, hope, wonder, and fall in love with her writing. With The Center of Everything, she has done it again!"
—Barbara O’Connor, author of How to Steal a Dog
* "Throughout this slim, affecting novel, Urban treats Ruby's bewilderment with care, and gracefully reinforces the value of friends, family, and community."
—Booklist, starred review
"Ruby's large imagination and even bigger heart are beautifully evoked as the sixth grader finds a way to keep the memory of her grandmother alive."
* "A poignant, finely wrought exploration of grief."
—Kirkus, starred review
"By turns thought-provoking, humorous, and poignant, Ruby's story introduces a multi-faceted character well worth meeting."
"Give this to patient readers who enjoy Polly Horvath's The Vacation (2005) and Everything on a Waffle (2001)."
—School Library Journal
* "[Urban] compactly, gently addresses some common aspects of grief: the isolation, the regrets, the bargaining, and the epistemological questions about meaning. . . . This is a terrific first step up for kids who are just beginning to explore more complicated novels."
—Bulletin, starred review
Posted May 24, 2013
The center of everything is such a good book in which- can't spoil anything! JUST READ IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 2, 2013
As a retired third grade teacher, I am still on the lookout for children’s books to share with students at my local elementary school. Linda Urban’s The Center of Everything is recommended for kids in grades 4 through 7, which I feel is on target. The book is dealing with the main character, Ruby, on a grief journey due to losing her grandmother, Gigi. Although there are several negatives brought up by other reviewers, I feel that all mentioned would be topics of discussion for parents and their children. Ruby’s processing her feelings shows the reader that even when terrible things happen, people don’t always share their feelings with those that are closest to them. It is only at the end of the book that Ruby discovers that her father is missing Gigi, also…but he had appeared to be “normal” after her death. This is a complicated subject…but it is interesting to see how Ruby handles it. A number of reviewers didn’t like her best friend, Lucy…but in fact, there are people just like her in the world, and I’m guessing they each have a friend. I enjoyed the way that Linda Urban shared Ruby’s thoughts with her readers. I think preteens would be able to relate to many of her thoughts. Even though Lucy could come across in a cruel manner, I felt that one of her responses to Ruby just might make us think before we speak to others when hit in the face with something that hurts. Here is the quote from the book that will stick with me: “This is not a stupid pebble, Ruby Pepperdine! This is a meteor! You have hurled an enormous meteor into the lake of our friendship. You’ve caused a tsunami!” Just one more reminder to “think before you speak.”
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