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OCTAVIA BOONE'S BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING by Rebecca Rupp

OCTAVIA BOONE'S BIG QUESTIONS ABOUT LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND EVERYTHING

By Rebecca Rupp

Age Range: 9 - 12

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-7636-4491-8
Publisher: Candlewick

Rupp tackles some heavy material in this provocative middle-grade novel. Once Octavia's mother, Ray, joins the Fellowship of the Redeemer church, their formerly happy household quickly unwinds. Ray had always encouraged Octavia to be an individual, question authority and think for herself. But Ray’s total acceptance of the church's doctrine, which is the antithesis of her former beliefs, leaves Octavia and her dad confused. Then, just before Christmas, a holiday the church does not celebrate, Ray leaves to live with other Redeemer disciples. Narrator Octavia revisits her seventh-grade year to find a reason for Ray’s turnabout, revealing a young girl struggling to make sense of things she has little control over. Her chatty, opinionated, often funny account makes manifest her precociousness, establishing the believability of her insightful-beyond-her-years arguments against organized religion—which make vigorous discussion fodder. The year that changed her life leaves Octavia with some big questions: “What makes a more-or-less normal person with a more-or-less normal life suddenly go off the deep end about God?” Readers may well find themselves wondering the same. (Fiction. 9-12)