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Octavia Boone's Big Questions about Life, the Universe and Everything

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  87 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
After her parents find clashing answers to life’s big questions, it’s time for Octavia to make some choices of her own in this poignant, funny, thought-provoking novel.

Octavia’s best friend, Andrew, wants to know why time runs forward instead of backward, or if it’s possible to talk to an alien jellyfish. Octavia has much bigger questions on her mind: Why do bad things hap
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published September 14th 2010 by Candlewick Press
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Aug 27, 2016 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Octavia has "big" problems as she prepares for 7th grade in rural Maine... Like how weird her name is. But her mom and dad are cool, and she has a best friend, Andrew. Everything is quirky and humorous. Dinner, the neighbors, (Mr and Mrs. Peacock, and he tolerates no "Tom-foolery), school... I'm amazed by how many funny observations the author stuffed into this book. It's impressive.

Then Octavia's mother experiences a religious conversion that Octavia and her father don't. This turns life on it
Oct 16, 2010 Deanna rated it liked it
Octavia Boone's mother, flighty Vermont lawyer, is always searching for fulfillment. Flitting from one church to the next but never landing in any one place. When she becomes enamored with a fundamentalist Christian church "The Redeemers" both Octavia and her Dad believe it is just the latest fad until she leaves them for teh church. I think Rupp did an exceptional job conveying the out of control feeling that kids can get when they have no say in what is happening with their lives. The fear and ...more
Susan Dove Lempke
Nov 12, 2010 Susan Dove Lempke rated it really liked it
I didn't completely buy the sudden and complete way that Octavia's mother Ray fell in with the Redeemers, and I also thought the author wanted to have it both ways--that it was a crazy cult, and that it had a kind and thoughtful pastor. But the pastor was a great character, and so was Octavia, and I thought the book resolved very well. Kids do think about the biggest questions and they rarely get given credit for that by adults who assume they are only thinking about frivolous things.
Oct 07, 2011 Raquel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-for-work
This is the type of book I would have loved to read when I was a child. It's a difficult topic but for any child whose parents don't agree about religion or who experiences a life shake-up, this book is essential!
Oct 27, 2010 Anners rated it liked it
Do you remember the first time in your life when you started to question things adults had taught you? Do you remember the first time you thought about why you were here or what your purpose was? Do you ever find yourself still grappling with questions like these? If so, you will identify with the protagonist of Rebecca Rupp’s most recent middle-grade novel, Octavia Boone’s Big Questions about Life, the Universe and Everything.

This story is just about as close to a Philosophy 101 course for kids
Feb 13, 2011 Cindy rated it liked it
This caught my eye because of the title, since I am a fan of Douglas Adams. It was infinitely more serious than his books, but I won't hold that against it. ;)

I enjoyed it for what it was, a young adult book meant to prompt consideration of the big "Why?" questions. Mostly, why people behave the ways they do and why life isn't fair, not to mention some "How" issues, like, "How do you regain your balance when life pulls the rug out from under you?"

While nobody dies, the parents in the book do go
I don't want to give anything away here. The plot twisted in a way that I did not expect.
Octavia is in seventh grade, she is extremely erudite. her word usage is most precise. She is synesthetic she perceives letters and sometimes words having colors and textures. She also Thinks Deeply with her outstanding friend Andrew. Her parents Ray and Boone are free spirits, Boone paints and Ray is an environmental lawyer with a wanderlust for churches. She tries all the religions in town. When this stor
Childrens Librarian
Nov 15, 2010 Childrens Librarian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-fic
Octavia lives in northern Vermont with fairly quirky, liberal parents. Her mother is always trying on different spiritual hats- and Olivia's life is shattered when her mom joins a fundamentalist cult (and moves out of the house). This is a reasonably even-handed, although damming, portrait of selfish parents. Olivia is a great heroine and there is some real humor but overall the story is a sad one about bad changes foisted upon her. Most of the members of the church are portrayed as small-minded ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this because the back advertised as a child wrestling with big issues like the existence of God and our purpose in life. I expected it to wrestle fairly with ideas. What it was was something I would equate to the Coexist bumper sticker, which touts every other religion as loving and tolerant and the Christians as narrow minded people who live in a world that's Little House on the Prairie in one vein and the Spanish Inquisition on the other. It blames the church for this girl's ...more
Susan  Dunn
May 30, 2012 Susan Dunn rated it really liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
This one would make a great discussion book. Octavia's lawyer mother and artist father have raised a spunky and spirited daughter. When Octavia is in 7th grade, her mom begins attending the Church of the Redeemers. Octavia isn't much interested in her bible study classes she is forced to attend, especially when the students are taught things like women shouldn't work and belong at home taking care of their families. As her mom gets more and more ensconced in the church, Octavia and her dad begin ...more
Oct 10, 2010 Reader rated it liked it
Shelves: meh-reads
It's not a bad read necessarily. It's sweet in its way. Octavia Boone's life is going just fine with her distracted parents living their lives as she lives her own. All that changes when her mother finds religion. And not just any religion. An almost cult-like religious sect that isn't particularly keen on evolution, women working outside the home, or much of anything else that 21st century. Octavia wants her mother back, but after a while it becomes clear that this isn't going to happen. While ...more
Amanda Jane
Jul 15, 2016 Amanda Jane rated it it was amazing
This book is truly amazing and I really enjoyed it. Just because it might be in the kids section at the public library, THIS IS A MUST READ!!! It changed my life learning about happened to Octavia from jus worrying about her name, to much bigger things (even bigger than all of us). This book does include differences of religion but even from a Catholic's point of view, this is truly a must read. And don't be afraid to ask a librarian where this book is in the kids section, because I'm 13 and thi ...more
May 11, 2013 NaomiRuth rated it really liked it
Shelves: ir, bwob
I love middlge grade books like this that take Down Unders seriously as people and deal with the difficult things that can happen in life.

I liked how Ray and Boone had their own special quirks.

I found it interesting that Octavia was synesthetic and I liked that it was just a part of her life, and not a huge deal.

I liked how real the setting felt. I felt like I knew where I was space-wise.

I liked how real the people felt, like they had backgrounds and their own lives.

Once again I am pleased by th
May 14, 2012 Debbie rated it it was ok
The big questions of life - "what is our purpose", "is there a god who cares about me" - come up as we age. It's hard to find the inner peace especially when adults give such conflicting answers. Octavia is such a child with such parents. It's not a "happy" ending but it's one that sadly happens more than anyone would like. I'm glad that I can give my children a resource for finding the answers to the "big" questions, but ultimately it's up to them to get them.
I was somewhat disappointed with this one. The writing was decent, but I was left looking for a little more. The mother becomes a fundamentalist Christian and the father is guided by the writings of Thoreau-Octavia is a very smart girl and tries to find her place between her estranged parents. I liked the main character and would recommend it to someone looking for a book that compares religions/ belief systems.
Alexandria Godina
Jun 08, 2011 Alexandria Godina rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fic
3 1/2 stars. Much more serious then i expected. It's for sure a j-fiction book but i am not sure how i would recommend this book or to what kind of reader. It tackles issues of cults, religion, moving to new schools, defying parents, divorce -just a lot of hard subjects explored and written about very well in such a young book.
Apr 12, 2011 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seventh grade Octavia is going through a rough time- her mother has found religion and her father seems to be wrapped up in his own selfish pursuits leaving Octavia to ponder her "big questions".
Oct 20, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it
A sweet story of a 12 year-old's journey through her parents seperation. Octavia's parents are free thinkers. Her mother Ray is always looking for the meaning of life. When she finds it with the Redeemers, Octavia's life is turned upside down. This is a well written little book.
Oct 11, 2010 Heather rated it it was ok
It was just OK. I think my biggest issue with the book is that Christianity is only shown through the lens of the Redeemers - like that is the only way. The book does make for some interesting questions though.
Mar 23, 2011 Cyndi rated it it was amazing
I had a couple of "would that really happen" questions, but I think in the end those made the book better and more interesting. I think this would be a good book to read and discuss with anyone age 10 or so and up. So many important ideas...
Oct 01, 2010 Betsy rated it it was ok
One Sentence Review: Unfortunately unmemorable, passing up the chance to have a really interesting discussion about the role of religion in people's lives and instead making the age old claim that cults (or insular religions) are bad.
Louisa Olivia Hadiwirawan
It always amaze me to see through children's perspectives
A good book for jr. high kids and up that will get them thinking about the big questions of life.
An inventive, occasionally caustic musing on the world of religion, the world inside the mind and the importance of being able to question what, why and how you believe in God.
Jane Waldie
Children's Book
Edward Sullivan
Oct 05, 2010 Edward Sullivan rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally well-written novel that poses provocative questions honestly and thoughtfully. Plenty of both humor and poignancy. Octavia Boone is a wonderfully appealing character.
Apr 04, 2011 Dru rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-contemporary
Probably one of the best books I've read this year.
Melody Lutz
Nov 08, 2010 Melody Lutz rated it liked it
Enjoyable characters but not much of a story.
Mar 09, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok
Awful on many levels
Jun 09, 2011 Marci rated it really liked it
I wanted to hug her and keep her safe. :)
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