Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Center of Everything” as Want to Read:
The Center of Everything
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Center of Everything

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  3,855 ratings  ·  375 reviews
Spring 2013 Kids' Indie Next List

For Ruby Pepperdine, the “center of everything” is on the rooftop of Pepperdine Motors in her donut-obsessed town of Bunning, New Hampshire, stargazing from the circle of her grandmother Gigi’s hug.  That’s how everything is supposed to be—until Ruby messes up and things spin out of control. But she has one last hope. It all depends on what
...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Center of Everything, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Center of Everything

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,855 ratings  ·  375 reviews


Filter
 | 
Sort order
Carmen
Aug 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to Carmen by: New York Times Book Review
There are two schools of thought about the secrecy of wishes. One is that you should always tell, because you never know who might be able to help you get what you wished for. People who believe this often appear on talk shows. Share your dreams with the Universe, they say.

The other school holds the birthday candle philosophy: to tell a wish is to ruin its chances of happening.


This book is excellent. And it sounds rather boring. I love when I dread reading a book and then it blows me out of the
...more
Betsy
Jan 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are only two things I require from life: Donuts and good books. Obviously that statement is false, but it sure sounds good. I like donuts. I like good books. And a good book that involves donuts? Cosmic all-encompassing donuts that aren't afraid to ask the big questions? Even better! Now I've followed the career of Linda Urban over the years and the simple fact of the matter is that with each of her books she gets better. Her latest, The Center of Everything follows its predecessors Hound ...more
Kate
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’ve read and loved all of Linda’s books. I think The Center of Everything is her best one yet.

Right away, when we meet main character Ruby Pepperdine, we know that the stars are not quite aligned in her universe. Something has knocked things out of orbit, and Ruby is unsettled as she waits for the Bunning Day parade to pass by so that she can do the job she has to do, the thing she believes will make her wish come true and put everything right.

It’s a little later, bit by bit, that we begin to u
...more
Kathy
Feb 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I just didn't "get" this novel and I'm not sure my students will either. It wasn't just the Astronomy & Math which I found too obscure. I found the whole premise shaky from the start and the anti-climactic ending was the last straw for me. I just don't think my students will identify with the novel.
I know many of my colleagues adore her writing, so I will definitely read her two previous novels ASAP.
Donalyn
No one writes characters like Linda Urban. She understands that even kids have lots to think and worry about in their lives.
Jennifer
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Becky O'Neil, Carol Vernon
Shelves: kidbooks
Over the past six years, my husband, daughter and I have spent many a summer evening stargazing. In May, when the evenings are just warm enough to sit out, we always seek out the summer triangle. Vega, Altair and Deneb will be tilted just slightly east, and by July they will be right above our heads. From My Backyard, Planet Earth, Deneb appears to be the faintest of these three very bright stars, but appearances can be deceiving. Vega, the sparkliest, is roughly 26 light-years away. The light w ...more
Rachael
Feb 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
When I was about halfway through The Center of Everything, I tweeted, "Reading The Center of Everything and wondering: if it won the Newbery, would it be the first Newbery winner that name checks the Newbery?" Leaving aside the issue of the Newbery name-check, what the hell am I doing wondering whether my very first 2013 read will win the Newbery? What am I comparing it to?

Nothing. The rest of this publishing year is a black box. Could be filled with When You Reach Mes; could be filled with Smo
...more
Barb Middleton
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: realistic, grief
One of my favorite starts to a book is Linda Urban's, "A Crooked Kind of Perfect," with the protagonist complaining about having to play a wheeze-bag organ versus the elegant piano. Here comes another hilarious start, but with a Captain fighting to keep his boat afloat in a terrible gale by eating donuts spiked on the spokes of his ship's wheel; thus, inventing the donut hole. Urban has a whole or hole lotta fun with wordplays and slang. "The Hole Shebang" is my favorite. The 1960s "Gilligan's I ...more
Chris
Sep 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
The center of everything for twelve-year-old Ruby Pepperdine is her beloved grandmother Gigi. Gigi seems to know everything and Ruby is her star pupil, listening to Gigi explain about orbits and rotations and black holes and the cosmos. On Saturday nights, Gigi and Ruby climb the stairs to the roof of Pepperdine Motors and look at the stars together. Suddenly and unexpectedly, Gigi is gone and along with mourning her loss, Ruby is racked with guilt that she failed to listen to what Gigi was tryi ...more
Stephanie
Jan 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mg-fiction
The Center of Everything is a short book, but oh, it is really beautiful. Set in one day - the day of the big parade, the day that the whole town comes together - it's told in a series of short vignettes, from a variety of viewpoints, that all circle around and back to eleven-year-old Ruby Pepperdine...and oh, wow, do I love Ruby.

Ruby has always been the girl who works hard to do everything right - the quiet girl, the helpful girl, the girl who never causes any trouble. But she is tortured right
...more
Jenna Friebel
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade
Note: ARC received from NetGalley

Ruby Pepperdine lives in the town of Bunning, and today is the town parade. Ruby has been going to the parade for years, but this year is different. For one, she is the “essay girl” which means that she gets to read her essay about Captain Bunning, the man who created their town and is also famous for putting a hole in donuts. Also, this year the parade is happening without Gigi, Ruby’s grandma who passed away.

Ruby is a believer in destiny. Because of a series of
...more
Melissa
Jun 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Beautiful book. Was already a fan of Urban but this just firms it up. The writing is so nice with the recurring theme of circle/cycle/rings and even donuts! Definitely easy for a young reader to pick up on w/o hitting you over the head with it. Ruby's questions about Gigi's death, the opportunity to redo or fix our history are questions many of us have. The references to Newbery books and book displays in the youth dept. of her library naturally appealed to me! I think the book would be good for ...more
Lorna
Oct 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book, crafted beautifully by Linda Urban. Ruby is her small town's Bunning Day Essay Girl and we follow her through her day as she prepares for her speech. Through flashbacks, we learn that not all is perfect for her, even on this day of honor. She misses her Grandma Gigi terribly and wants for anything to relive her Gigi's last day. Urban is a master at conveying children as complex emotional beings. And nobody does a more emotionally packed short sentence than Linda Urban. For th ...more
Niki (Daydream Reader)
Listen......I don't know how Linda Urban does it! Every time I read one of her books I fall in love with the characters! I literally wish her characters were real people so I could know them in real life. If you haven't read The Center of Everything, A Crooked Kind of Perfect or Hound Dog True. You are missing out!

Please support your local library or independent bookstore! http://www.indiebound.org/book/978054...


Dana
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chapter-books
Lovely story about a girl named Ruby who has lost her grandmother and whose last words Ruby didn't really pay attention to. Now Ruby wants that time back so she can "listen" to what was said. So she makes a wish she hope will come true during the annual Bunning Day festivities when the whole town will hear her winning essay. Beautifully told and written and at the same time very relatable to a child.
Janis
Nov 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Sixth-grader Ruby is trying to figure it all out after she loses her grandmother, the center of her world. This perfectly paced and lovely story follows Ruby over the course of a day – a parade day in her small town – as she looks for answers. The author depicts complex emotions and concerns in a simple and beautiful way, and offers a hopeful ending without resorting to cliché. I read an advance reader copy of this book for middle readers; publication is March 2013.
Benji Martin
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book. I'm adding this one to the Could be a Newbery winner stack, It has that kind of feel to it. The only bad part about it was that I was trying to finish it before my story times started this morning, and a parent came in to the library talk to me about something, and the caught me in the middle of a good cry. Kind of embarrassing.
Ann
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
If you admire Urban's A Crooked Kind of Perfect or any book by Lynn Rae Perkins, you will like this book. I admire it's style and literary finesse, but I find the cleverness a bit infuriating.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

I am not one of the avid Linda Urban fans. I enjoyed A Crooked Kind of Perfect, but with reservations. Convenience and desire have not intertwined to allow me to read Hound Dog True yet. (I will be rectifying that soon.) I rather liked the idea of reading The Center of Everything from this viewpoint, and I was very impressed. This is an excellent novel in every way.

The Center of Everything is told from an omniscient point of view. The narrator
...more
Oswego Public Library District
The story unfolds as sixth grade student Ruby Pepperdine is contemplating her speech as the “essay girl” in the annual Bunning Day Parade in the New Hampshire town she lives in by the same name. Ruby’s essay was judged the best that year, yet Ruby knows deep down she wants to say something else when it’s her turn to read it. She fumbles with the notecards, drops them and they fall out of order.

She is an old soul, her growth influenced as much by her grandmother, Gigi, as her parents. Sadly, Gig
...more
Heidi
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think one of the most fascinating things about this book is how the author slipped back and forth between the past and present so easily. She shows us how Ruby is feeling in the present and then slowly goes back and shows us how she got to that point. I did get confused once in a while flipping back and forth between the past and present but not enough to really detract from my enjoyment of the book.

I also really liked the theme. There is much for the reader to ponder. Ruby wants her 'wish' to
...more
Anya
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Ruby Giselle Pepperdine is living life as she is supposed to. She is good, she listens, and she has her grandmother, Gigi, to teach her about the curvy things in life. Ruby takes everything that she has for granted until her grandmother dies. Going through the world without her will be something that Ruby does not imagine. She cannot let go of her secret, that was between her and her grandmother. Now, as the Bunning Day parade is coming to a close, Ruby must conquer her fears and speak to the wh ...more
Wendy
Jan 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the character development of Ruby, Lucy and Nero. Maybe every reader doesn't find a connection with Ruby, her family and a small town, but I certainly did. I like that Urban presents the dilemmas of childhood, though sometimes seemingly simplistic to an adult, as realistically sized in proportion to the child's own actual age-appropriate perception.

Having said that, I also think this book is a reconceived junior-version of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." Ruby loses her Gr
...more
Hallie
Jan 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ordered
I really thought I'd written this one up a while ago, but apparently all the praise happened in my own head. This made me so sad, and then so happy, and so happy again at its sheer wonderfulness, and that's all I really need to say.
PalmTree
May 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I think I would have enjoyed this book more if the wording and metaphors actually made sense to me. Maybe it did to other people, but not me. This book was hard to read.
Wandering Librarians
Ruby Pepperdine lives in Bunning, New Hampshire, the supposed home of the donut. Each year, there is a Bunning Day parade to celebrate, and this year, Ruby is the one who will read her Bunning Day essay aloud. Ruby knows, just knows, that if she can make everything happen just right, she will get her wish. She will be able to fix what happened, and everything will go back to the way it's suppose to be.

I loved the framing device and narrative style of this story. We start in the present, with Rub
...more
Pop Bop
May 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Elegant and Perceptive Grace Notes

This book has been compared favorably to books by Polly Horvath, (like "Everything on a Waffle"), as well as a number of other similar well known offerings. For me, I though of Kate DiCamillo's "Because of Winn-Dixie" when I started the book. They all have a sensitive young girl, a small town with a tightly knit community, and a personal loss as central features.

It seemed to me, though, that this book was particularly distinguished by the number and variety of t
...more
Chris
May 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j, life, not-graphic
I only regret my reading of this was so sporadic, because I'm pretty sure I would have gotten even more out of it and given it a higher rating had I enjoyed it as a continuous experience instead of a series of spurts.

Nearly the entire story takes place over the course of a single parade, after all. Ruby has won her town's annual essay contest and gets to read her winning entry as part of the festivities, and as she waits for her moment she reflects on everything that has led to it. Particularly,
...more
Sherri F.
Still unsure really, but probably 2.5 to 3 stars & that's b/c it's short and it did have some good parts & good idea behind it but there were many things I didn't care for & bored various times throughout. I'm a grammy's girl, as well as my daughter is the same with her gram/my mom & I could relate to the birthday donut, so I really wanted to love this, not so much but it did have some good points. This is labeled for middle school/teens & I took that into consideration too. ...more
Stephanie Croaning
This is a wonderful story that I give 5 out of 5 stars. However, it is not a story that everyone will enjoy, so I recommend it to 4th and 5th-graders who are looking for a thoughtful read. Twelve-year-old Ruby Pepperdine is trying to make sense of her world after the death of her grandmother, her beloved Gigi, who was her "center of everything."

The story takes place throughout the course of a small town parade celebrating Captain Bunning, the inventor of the hole in the center of donuts. Told in
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Henrico Youth Boo...: The Center of Everything by Linda Urban 2 12 Nov 13, 2013 08:22AM  
Mock Newbery 2020: May Read - The Center of Everything 33 241 Sep 10, 2013 10:37AM  
  • The Water Castle
  • Hide and Seek (Silver Jaguar Society Mysteries #2)
  • Twelve Kinds of Ice
  • Every Day After
  • White Fur Flying
  • Zebra Forest
  • Like Bug Juice on a Burger (Eleanor, #2)
  • The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
  • Hold Fast
  • Genie Wishes
  • Beholding Bee
  • On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
  • The Year of the Book (Anna Wang #1)
  • Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse
  • The Real Boy
  • The Animal Book
  • Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War
  • One Came Home
131 followers
This was from the About Me section at Linda Urban's website.


I was born in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in a suburban house that looked like all the others on my street. Sometimes I liked that sameness. It made me feel normal, when I worried I wasn’t.

Other times, though, I wanted to be different — to shine, to have people see me as special. I tried ballet dancing and singing and playing musical in
...more