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All Alone in the Universe

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  720 ratings  ·  115 reviews
"Before last summer Maureen and I were best friends....At least I think we were. I don't know what happened exactly. As some people who get hit by trucks sometimes say,'I didn't see anything coming.'" When her best friend since the third grade starts acting as though Debbie doesn't exist, Debbie finds out the hard way that life can be a lonesome place. But in the end the h ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published August 14th 2007 by Greenwillow Books (first published October 28th 1999)
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Average rating 3.70  · 
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 ·  720 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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mitchell dwyer
Dec 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
My Christmas list this year could have been broken into three categories: my family, the friends I see most often, and the friends I just about never see but think about every day. That last group is made up mostly of former colleagues, teachers who started at about the same time I started, people around the same age, friends with whom I share most of the greatest memories of my adult life.

There were five of us in that main group. Among us, I am the only one who is neither married nor engaged. I
Oct 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
I usually prefer plot driven books but this story was all about character. I fell for this character's voice and I genuinely cared about what happened to her. I think many people have experienced growing apart from someone. The reader follows Debbie along as her friendship with her best friend (Maureen) becomes broken. This book, like the cover art, is very magical and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who feels "all alone in the universe." Perhaps this is why the book is so good--just a ...more
Feb 10, 2008 added it
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
While this wasn't as lovely as Criss Cross (her 2nd book), I can safely say that Lynne Rae Perkins is definitely one of my literary crushes. Here's a fabulous little sample from All Alone in the Universe:

As I was changing into my jeans, I thought about Marie for a minute. She was fourteen, but she looked older. Like thirty. She was the kind of girl the principal keeps changing the dress code for, but it won't make any difference unless he makes a rule that says, "No one may be Marie Prbyczka." I
Reyna Gentin
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book because I am in the midst of writing a middle grade novel and I am trying to learn more about the genre. I enjoyed the story -- a quiet tale of a girl who drifts apart from her best friend for no really obvious reason, and then has to build new friendships in her wake. I find it hard to judge what age reader this book is trying to reach -- in some ways, it feels quite young, as no even marginally adult topics are broached except for a family next door which is down on its luck a ...more
May 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
People change, friends grow apart. Especially during those tumultuous hormonal years when some kids develop a little faster than others. The protag finds herself the victim of just such a scenario. The rug is pulled out from under her and a friendship she thought she could always count on. It's a lost summer of loneliness, introspection, and boredom as she tries to figure out who she is without this relationship in her life. Its a good read for middle grade teens going through the angst of growi ...more
Jan 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book was written before Criss Cross and introduces the main character of both books, Debbie. These books are set in the late 1960s. All Alone in the Universe addresses changing friendships of teenage girls. Very well written and the details of that decade are amazing....I forgot about the pearl floating in the Prell bottle! How did she remember that?
“My dance on the pedestal was my friendship with Maureen. I wasn't sure how I had lost my balance and fallen off. Or whether I was pushed. Everyone around me was trying to get me to dance again. The thing was, I hadn't quite given up on getting back up there. I still believed it was the only place where I could be happy.”

Friendship is such an odd thing. We think we know our friends and we think they like us enough to stay friends. However, we have all lost friends for reasons that we don’t fully
Shay Dawn
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: g, children, teen
When I was a preteen, I had a whole shelf full of Animorphs. Besides that, there was the entire set of Narnia, Witch of BB Pond, and at the very end -- Criss Cross.

Criss Cross, also by Lynne Rae Perkins, is one of my favorite books ever. There was a lot of controversy over whether it deserved a Newberry Award, but I loved it. The book radiates summer, and kindness. The chapters are all so different -- but equally calming. Criss Cross helped me survive those summers I felt friendless.

All Alone in
Aug 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Debbie and Maureen are best friends. But then, one summer, things change and Maureen finds other friends; other interests. Debbie has to find new things to do and struggles with feeling alone and left behind.
Not much happens in this book, but it was still really sweet. Pretty much any middle school kid could relate to Debbie's feelings of isolation. I'm pretty sure we all felt like we were all alone when we were in middle school or high school (or both). The things I loved about this story were
Dec 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I reread this book last month for the first time since 5th grade (I think) and it was lovely! I remembered it as a kind of melancholy but ultimately reassuring book and I still agree with that. You're following a girl named Debbie who falls out of touch with her best friend and that's basically the only overarching plot. The entire book is very slice-of-life, with characters and events that aren't related directly to the plot, but help create a realistic view of Debbie's town and family and life ...more
Elah Hirschberg
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
A lovely short story about friendship. Debbie a young girl is facing a new and challenging situation when her best fried leaves her, becomes best friend with another girl and she is left "all alone in the universe". Through the people she meets, and the brave actions she takes she makes new friends, and learns that there is no such thing as being alone in the universe, and that having one best friend isn't always better than having lots of different friends. I really enjoyed this book because of ...more
Mar 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Before last summer Maureen and I were best friends....At least I think we were. I don't know what happened exactly. As some people who get hit by trucks sometimes say, 'I didn't see anything coming.'" When her best friend since the third grade starts acting as though Debbie doesn't exist, Debbie finds out the hard way that life can be a lonesome place. But in the end the heroine of this wryly funny coming-of-age story--a girl who lives in a house covered with stuff that is supposed to look like ...more
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Middle School
A story with some of the characters that appear in Cris Cross, All Alone in the Universe tells of Debbie, navigating a lonely year in Junior High. The reader can clearly see what is happening as Debbie flails her way through a year adjusting to the loss of a longtime friend. the story is quite wonderful as Debbie finds her footing.
Apr 20, 2015 rated it liked it
A cute book; strange how interesting it is with so little conflict... the somewhat unique voice helps, as do the illustrations.
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sweet, funny, character-rich story about navigating friendships in the early adolescent years. It was a light in my dark reading month!
Rachel Anderson
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is quite a book. It's a heart-squeezing portrayal of a girl losing her friend, dealing with the emotional fallout, and figuring out what her life can look like without the person she lost. It especially stands out because the main character having a boyfriend/liking boys doesn't figure largely in it, if at all, and as fond as I am of children's fantasy, there is nothing of the supernatural about it. It's just real life. The topic comes up so often in advice columns or parent-child conversat ...more
Susan Reyna
Sep 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful story about the growing pains and friendship issues adolescents tend to suffer, but told in such a lyrical way, with a deeper message reminding us we all are responsible for spreading kindness to those less fortunate than ourselves.
Lynn  Davidson
Oct 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
An MG novel - a story that so many of us can relate to. Debbie feels replaced in her best friend's life by another girl, and in her loneliness she begins noticing more about other people. A very nice story.
Samhita Argula
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing book! Honest, thought provoking, feel good book.
Good read when you're unhappy or depressed.
Ellen Airgood
Mar 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Such beautiful, immediate writing. So real. Funny and wry.
Nola Kate
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dear Lynne Rae Perkins:

Thank you for writing my story.
Nov 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, 2015, 2004
I didn’t realize when I got this book that I had already read it, but according to Goodreads I originally read All Alone in the Universe in 2004. I gave it 5 stars at the time and I can’t imagine what I was thinking. It’s not a bad book, but it’s not a 5 star book.

The plot is the common one in middle grade contemporaries: best friends grow apart and the main character is the one left behind, friendless and alone. I don’t know why more of these girls don’t have groups of friends like I did, but e
Cheriee Weichel
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
From my blog at

This is a beautiful book. School Library Journal called it poignant. I think that might be the perfect word for it.

I laughed out loud. I got a little weepy. I experienced shivers of pleasure as I read exquisitely written phrases, paragraphs and whole pages, again and again. Here are few snippets.

"I didn't know how to wash away a crumminess that was swimming around in my heart."

"My dance on the pedestal was my friendship with Maureen. I wasn't s
Laura McKelvey
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it

I have no idea where this book came from. I never read it as a young adult. The pages have yellowed and given it the look of a much older book. I picked it off the shelves this morning and read/finished it while in the bath tub. I thought it was a pretty good book for a child or maybe a young teenager. It does not offer the magic adults can get wrapped up in like many children books, but the value of it is clear.

It is about a girl whose closest friend develop
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
In truth, I unfortunately never finished this book. Though this may be a terrible excuse, my teachers insisted that it didn’t coordinate with my reading level. And I listened to them, which was a huge mistake.

I started this book at a time where I could most definitely relate to the character. I would spend my time at lunch in the library, unknowing of what to do, after losing a very good friend of mine. I didn’t have any strive to make new friends, because I was afraid of getting hurt once more
Gabby Davis
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book
Feb 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ALL ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE by Lynne Rae Perkins is a book about two girl best friends named Maureen and Debbie, always being together, never not being with each other. But then someone got in between them. Glenna, a girl they knew but never took time to know started to be best friends with Maureen. Debbie was looking to find a solution but every time she tried, something would have gone wrong. Debbie didn't want to be left out and her relationship between Maureen and her to be ruin. So Debbie kne ...more
Jan 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the novel All Alone in the Universe by Lynn Rae Perkins the theme is 'Things Can Get Better'. The reader comes to understand that life can be difficult, but will get better. This story takes place in a very small town where it seems that everybody knows each other type of town. The novel is realistic fiction so, it is in the 21st century. Debbie is the protagonist of the story which is written in her perspective. The story covers Debbie and her life, how her friend betrayed Asher and she fee ...more
From the description on the back of the cassette cover, I had wondered if this book was mis-shelved and should be in juvenile. Nope. It's YA. A little bit of adolescence, coming of age, and plain growing up are dealt with in this short, easy read. The characters were believable, and I really liked that in this story. The story wasn't dragged out and it was a realistic ending, too.

The subject matter of losing a friend and what you choose to do after is familiar to many, especially to me. In fact
Jen Castagno
Dec 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: english-420

This story is very similar to Perkins other novel, Criss Cross. It follows the same main character Debbie and she deals with friendship. She has a best friend and they do everything together. One day, another girl gets in the picture. Slowly, this other girl is taking Debbie's best friend away from her. It actually ends up that Debbie loses in the battle over her best friend. She tries making friends with other girls in school and when she finally starts to like her neighbor, th
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Lynne Rae Perkins is the author of several novels, including her most recent Newbery Award winning book, Criss Cross. She enjoys working in her studio, being with friends, watching her kids grow, and watching her husband, Bill, chase their dog around town.

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“My dance on the pedestal was my friendship with Maureen. I wasn't sure how I had lost my balance and fallen off. Or whether I was pushed. Everyone around me was trying to get me to dance again. The thing was, I hadn't quite given up on getting back up there. I still believed it was the only place where I could be happy.” 3 likes
“I thought Marie could handle whatever came along. I thought of her as someone who did whatever she wanted to. That's what she would have said. She skipped school a lot, and when she did come, no one seemed to care what she did. The principals and teachers at school had already given up on Marie. They hardly even saw her, except as some kind of blemish. She could have stood on her head wearing a burlap bag, and nobody would have noticed all that much. They thought she was stupid. She wasn't stupid.” 1 likes
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