Monday, November 5, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: Everything Else in the Universe by Tracy Holczer

Everything Else in the Universe by Tracy Holczer. 274 p. G. P. Putnam's and Sons/ Penguin Young Readers Group, June, 2018. 9780399163944. (Review of arc courtesy of publisher.)

The year is 1971 and twelve-year-old Lucy is awaiting her father's return from Vietnam. He was a surgeon and Lucy and her mother moved to southern California to stay near her father's relatives while he was in country. When he finally does step off the plane, Lucy quickly discovers that her dad is missing more than his arm. Something is not right and Lucy is determined to help him. Only, he doesn't want her help. Not only does her mother find herself a job by she and her father send her to her uncle's house to spend the summer days. Her uncle, in turn, encourages her to make friends with Milo, who is staying with his grandmother for the summer.

This is such a beautiful story of friendship, of family and of the fallout the Vietnam War had on returning vets and their families as well as the families of those who did not return home. It's heartbreaking. You will need tissues. But you will laugh out loud too. Lucy's extended family leaps from the pages with noise and love. The writing is lovely. The characters are memorable. Lucy's friendship with Milo is genuine. I did not want the story to end.

This is Holczer's second novel. Fans of her first, The Secret Hum of a Daisy, will love this one as will readers who love books about family and friendship.

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