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Everything Else in the Universe

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In the midst of the Vietnam War, a young girl struggles to embrace change in this tender family story for fans of Cynthia Lord and Wendy Maas

Lucy is a practical, orderly person--just like her dad. He taught her to appreciate reason and good sense, instilling in her the same values he learned at medical school. But when he's sent to Vietnam to serve as an Army doctor, Luc
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Mary Lee
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Five stars and five hankies.

Historical fiction about the Vietnam War and PTSD, but perfectly relevant for today. Not just the PTSD of the returning Veteran, but also of the family.

Delightfully rich in the details of life in a large extended Italian family.

Gorgeously written. A must-read.
Sep 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grade-ya
A beautifully written story of family, war, and friendship.

"In place of her reasonable thoughts, she let her heart lead the way."(p.228)
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A well written middle grade novel that deftly handled the Vietnam War, veterans, sacrificing for country, and family. No war is without casualties, both physical and psychological. Folks seemed to be particularly divided about Vietnam; some viewing the US's actions as immoral, others believing that citizens have an obligation to serve for their country. But the issue is not black and white, there are no easy answers. Author Tracy Holczer showcases characters who struggle with the effects of such ...more
Like most readers, I fell in love with Lucy Rossi, the twelve-year-old girl at the heart of this well-written middle grade novel. For those who didn't live through Vietnam or study about it in their history books, this book brings the war close to home. The summer of 1971 was just as confusing in some ways for youngsters as it was for the adults in their lives. As the nation continued to be mired in Vietnam, average citizens were taking sides, and even Gina, the protagonist's older cousin, was a ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg, histfic
Lucy has a crazy Italian extended family on one side, and a super rational stiff upper lip family on the other. Neither of them is doing a very good job of helping her deal with having her father serve in Vietnam--or having him come home changed in unforeseeable, unimaginable ways. To make matters worse, Lucy has moved from Chicago to California where her beloved older cousin Gina is traitorously protesting the war and she has no friends--until creative, quirky Milo comes along for the summer. H ...more
Shirley Freeman
Fans of Gary Schmidt's Okay For Now will enjoy this Vietnam era middle reader. Lucy is an only child in an otherwise large, noisy Italian extended family. Lucy's surgeon father has just returned from a year in Vietnam - minus an arm. Lucy and her dad had been very close before the war and now things are different. Time, extended family, a special librarian and a new friend named Milo help Lucy and her family adjust to their changed circumstances. This is a tender coming-of-age story to be publis ...more
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I loved The Secret Hum of A Daisy and this one was just as wonderful. Tracy has a way with words and telling the most beautiful story! Lucy and her crazy Italian family will remain in my heart for quite sometime. Look for this amazing story in June of 2028!!!
Brenda Kahn
Why, oh why did it take me so long to get to this lovely, heartbreaking story? I adored the author's debut, The Secret Hum of a Daisy. Beautiful story of family, of friendship and the fallout of the Vietnam war on family and returning vets. Must read!
Susannah Goldstein
SLJ review
Nov 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This book is terrible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Engaging, interesting view of the Vietnam era. Unique voice.
Katie Reilley
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was shared through my ARC group, #bookexpedition . Set during the Vietnam War era, it chronicles the life of Lucy who is working to rebuild her relationship with her Dad, who has returned home from the war as a changed man, both physically and mentally. Lucy’s got her Dad’s large, eccentric, superstitious Italian family to contend with as well as a neighbor kid named Milo whose dad is still in Vietnam. Upon digging in her backyard one day, Lucy and Milo uncover a mystery when they disc ...more
Ms. Yingling
Apr 17, 2018 rated it liked it
ARC provided by publisher at ALA Midwinter

Lucy's family has moved from Chicago to San Jose, California for her father's medical residency and to be near family. When doctors are drafted for Vietnam, he chooses not to be deferred so that he can do his part. He promises Lucy that he will return, and he does, but he has lost an arm in an explosion in the operating room. The family is just glad to have him back, and he has a prosthetic arm, but he's still having trouble transitioning. There are lots
Mary Sanchez
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lucy Rossi, age twelve, and her mother move to San Jose, California to be close to the Rossi family when Lucy's dad accepts his draft notice to Viet Nam, when he could have asked for a deferment because he recently finished his residency to be a heart surgeon. Thus, Lucy is accustomed to being on a tight schedule and she continues this trait when her dad is serving in Viet Nam. Now, he's home again. But he's missing an arm and soon the family learns he's also a different person who needs space. ...more
Rebecca Balcárcel
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kid-lit, reviewed
Thoughtful, logical Lucy finds herself thrust into her emotionally raucous Italian family when her dad ships out for Vietnam in 1971. During his absence, she and her mom adapt to living with herb packets, chicken claws showing up in odd places, and her Nonnina's pink kitchen. Well, mostly. Now that Dad is returning, though, everything will go back to the way it was before--the highly organized life of a doctor in training and his family. But soldiers returning from war are never the same. And th ...more
Tina Hoggatt
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this story set during the Vietnam War, its impacts on families, and the aftermath of soldiers returning to a sometimes hostile America. And in ten year old Lucia Mercedes Evangeline Rossi the author has given us a smart, thoughtful, funny, and lively heroine to follow as she adjusts to her surgeon father's homecoming from the war, the loss of his arm which has profound repercussions on him and the family, and the new life they make in San Jose near to his unruly and extended Italian fami ...more
Aug 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I keep thinking that a tween is going to read this book and think that the draft lottery is totally made up. I think that because I am not sure how much anyone young knows about this time in American History. I hope that there a ton of 6th grade History teachers who are putting this on the shelves and in the hands of kids. There is a lot of The Wonder Years happening here but without the first person narration although, I think that might have been better. The third person perspective of Lucy wo ...more
Feb 28, 2019 rated it did not like it
This book is a very boring book because it has very flat and unpalatable characters. In Everything Else In The Universe Lucy's father comes home from the Vietnam War and is having some physical and mental problems. She meets a kid named Milo who helps her fight through the tough times. This book has no good qualities except maybe teaching people about how bad war is. There is no plot at all because it is a random sequence of events that makes no sense at all. I would not recommend this book for ...more
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book. At times bittersweet, sad, funny, heartwrenching. Lucy is trying desperately to hold her world together when it feels like everything is coming apart at the seams. Her father has returned from Vietnam, but he is distant. Her cousin is no longer her best friend. She has had to move halfway across the country and it seems like no one likes her. It takes a new boy and a mysterious helmet for Lucy to see that maybe things have to change in order to get better.
Two additional thing
Addison Children's Services
Lucy is counting the moments until her dad finally comes home from Vietnam. As an Army doctor he had been taking care of wounded soldiers, but now is wounded himself, and will be returning home without his left arm. Lucy knows it will be hard for him to adjust to civilian life again, especially with this additional challenge, but she's sure everything will work out. Like her dad says, they're a team. At least they used to be, though now that her dad's home Lucy's not so sure. Does Lucy's dad eve ...more
Sara Gillespie
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I may be a little prejudice (round about way related to author), but Tracy Holczer's second novel (found in the youth section at B&N) is really good.
Maybe because I was right at the main characters age in the time frame that the story takes place, as well as my brother was returning from Viet Nam, so similar feelings too.
Just a wonderful little read about family, feelings, friends, loss and new beginnings.
Debbie Tanner
A terrific story about Lucy who worries about her dad. Lucy's dad has been working hard to be a doctor and then gets sent to Vietnam during the war to help tend to soldiers. When he's wounded, he gets sent home early, but with a big cost. Lucy is also making new friends and is close to her big extended Italian family. I liked this story a lot and parts of it made me laugh out loud and parts brought me to tears. I can't wait to see what the kids think of it.
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A thoughtful and heart warming story of a young girl's struggle to stay strong and dependable during her Father's recovery from injury during the Vietnam War. It hits all the right notes regarding emotional connections and shows the social complexity of the Vietnam era. A wonderful addition to classroom discussions of the time period.
A well-written Vietnam war story. I found it tough to get into at first, but with time the story enveloped me with its soft but yet strong voice. I fell in love with this wild Italian family and Milo, the friend with a story only he could tell. I can’t help but wonder however if adults will enjoy it more than middle grade readers with no frame of reference.
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
I, personally, am not a fan of contemporary books. This one, though, was amazing. A truly gripping story, one that I am sure to not forget. I love how Lucy solves a problem that a lot of kids may relate to. I would definitely recommend this book!
Jill Cd
Jan 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book. The characters were real and you could relate to them. The plot was original and engaging. The author examines several view points regarding the Vietnam War and provides understanding on those perspectives. Grades 4-5 and up will like this one.
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was completely drawn in - I started it in the afternoon and had to stay up late to finish it.
Alison Smith
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
This story - set in the early 70's - was so dear. The characters are quirky and hilarious, and the story reads really quickly.
Cristi Schwamb
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent young adult book about the power of families and connections, set against a background of the Vietnam War.
Ellie 706
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is definitely award-worthy. It is really interesting.
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