THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE by Ria Voros

THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

Age Range: 14 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In the wake of her TV news anchor mom’s disappearance, a Canadian teen revisits their fraught relationship.

Her heart set on a career in astrophysics, Grace, 17, couldn’t be more different from her mom, GG Carter, and grandma Patricia, a film and TV star. She’s closer to her ecologist dad and younger brother, Charlie. Seeking clues to GG’s disappearance from Charlie’s soccer game, the police interview Grace’s family. Grace, gifted at recognizing patterns, describes recent changes in GG but is reluctant to tell the police about the fight they had after GG took a call and missed her daughter’s astrophotography presentation. GG’s celebrity puts her family under the spotlight; Grace and Charlie stop attending school. The new normal includes police updates, neighbors’ gifts of lasagna, and sleepless nights. Supporting Grace are her best friend, Iris, and their attractive, half-Korean/half-white classmate, Mylo McLean (Grace and her family and Iris are white). Due to events in his own life, Mylo has also experienced the stress of being in limbo, like Grace’s family, and desperate for news. While the novel’s first two-thirds are stellar—vivid, suspenseful, and tautly plotted—in the final third air leaks out of the narrative balloon; only then do readers feel its exceptional, 500-plus–page, length. That’s not to downplay the strengths on display—compelling characters, wry humor, masterful and suspenseful plotting—rather, the contrast raises expectations that aren’t entirely fulfilled.

Fans of edgy suspense won’t be disappointed. (astrophysicist interview) (Fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: April 2nd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5253-0038-7
Page count: 512pp
Publisher: Kids Can
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2019




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